Saturday’s NBA main slate features three games. The action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET and the final games tip off at 8 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Wizards -1.5 (-110)
The Lakers won a big game at Toronto on Friday night. Momentum is on their side, but everything else is against them. First of all, they’re a bad team. Also, this is the second game of a road back-to-back and the game in Toronto went into overtime. LeBron James — who is questionable every night — played 45 minutes on a Friday night. It would shock the world if he played or if he played a major role on Saturday. Russell Westbrook also logged over 40 minutes.
The Wizards lost at Los Angeles a little over a week ago. That was the second loss in a streak of six in a row. In fact, the Wizards have only won two games this month. March definitely came in like a lion for the Wizards, but the spreads have finally adjusted and the Wiz covered in their latest loss to the Knicks on Friday night. In March, the Wizards rank 28th in defense (121.5 defensive efficiency rating), but the Lakers aren’t much better at 27th. Offensively, the Wizards are 15th and the Lakers are 22nd. The offensive difference combined with the Lakers’ schedule should be more than enough for Washington to cover the -1.5.
Cavaliers -7 (-110)
The Pistons are playing better basketball, but the Cavs are also recovering from a recent slide. With Jarrett Allen out, rookie Evan Mobley has stepped into the spotlight, and he has not disappointed. The Cavs 4-3 record over the last seven games does not stand out, but the last seven games have been against strong competition. In the three losses, Cleveland played well.
If this game occurred before the All-Star Break, the Cavs would have been double-digit favorites. On March 19, the Pistons are a better team and the Cavs are worse off than they were a month ago. Is that an overreaction to a small sample size? It doesn’t matter because the Pistons will be without Frank Jackson and Hamidou Diallo, and both Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham are questionable. The Pistons that take the floor in Cleveland are not a better team. They’re comparable to the team that would have been double-digit road dogs.
Mavericks -1.5 (+100)
For Dallas, this is the final game of a five-game road trip, the third game in four nights and the second game of a back-to-back. This is a favorable spot for the Hornets except for the fact that the Hornets are the Hornets, and the Mavs are one of the hottest teams in basketball — winners of 14 of their last 18 games.
The Hornets play at a fast pace but don’t do it very well. Their offense is above average (10th), but their defense is miserable (23rd). The Mavs play at a snail’s pace (slowest in the NBA) and it works. Their offense doesn’t do much (16th), but it’s unnecessary because their defense is one of the best in the league (sixth). The only reason this line is this close is because of the Mavs’ schedule.
The Hornets have been great against the spread when facing teams with winning records (19-12-2). However, they have been 2-7-2 ATS vs. those same opponents since the beginning of February. This coincides with the loss of Gordon Hayward. Their veteran is still weeks away, so expect more ATS Ls.
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