Monique Vág breaks down her NBA best bets and pick predictions for Saturday night: from sides and Over/Unders to team and player props.
Both the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled defensively early in games with Portland coming off a game in which it surrendered 72 first half points to Milwaukee, and Cleveland allowing 68.3 over their last three games. Although neither team is lighting up the scoreboard in the first half, when these two teams meet, the average score at halftime over the last three matchups has been 64-52 in favor of the Trail Blazers. Expect another higher scoring first half and bet Over the first half total of 108.
The lowest game total of the night is 201.5 in Indiana as the Orlando Magic head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Pacers. Orlando will be shorthanded for this one with Nikola Vucevic, Michael Carter-Williams and Aaron Gordon all out. The Pacers on the other hand have good news on the injury front as Jeremy Lamb and T.J. McConnell are upgraded to probable to play in today's contest.
Additionally, Orlando has struggled on the road this season losing all five games (1-4 ATS). The Magic have also struggled in the head-to-head versus the Pacers posting a 4-16 record in the last 20 meetings. With Orlando lacking key playmakers, bet Indiana to cover the 6.5-point spread at home.
The San Antonio Spurs are playing the tail end of a back-to-back after losing big on the road to the 76ers last night. Today, they are 2-point road favorites as they travel to New York to take on the 4-11 Knicks.
The Spurs have been able to score points, but have struggled with defense all season long surrendering an average of 116.1 points per game on 48.1 percent shooting. We like betting New York's RJ Barrett to put up big shooting numbers versus a Spurs team struggling to defend opposing shooting guards allowing 24.1 points on 49.4 percent shooting from the floor to that position. Bet Over Barrett's points total of 14.5.
EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE
The Miami Heat are 5-point underdogs as they travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers in what will be Jimmy Butler's first game in Philly since leaving for Miami in the offseason. Both teams rank in the top ten in opponent points per game with Miami surrendering 104, and the 76ers only 99.8 on their home court.
Miami is shooting the highest field goal percentage in the Association at 48.3 percent, and the 76ersaren’t far behind in fifth at 47.2. Although they have been very efficient, both teams play at a slower pace - ranked 15th and 16th, and have excelled on the defensive end. Bet Under the game total of 213.
IN A POSITION TO EXCEL
The Utah Jazz host the New Orleans Pelicans as 7.5-point home favorites tonight. The Pels enter hot winning three straight games and have covered the spread in six of their last seven, but are in a difficult matchup versus a Jazz squad who have won seven of their first eight home games (3-5 ATS).
The Pelicans have been the worst team in the Association at defending opposing point guards allowing 29.2 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting, along with 6.5 boards and 9.4 dimes. Utah's Mike Conley is averaging 30.7 minutes a game, and although his shooting percentage is down under 40 percent this year, he is still shooting very well from beyond the arc and attempting 13.4 field goals a game. Look for a productive night out of Conley and bet Over his points, rebounds, assists total of 26.5.
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