Saturday’s NBA main slate features three games. The action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET and the final game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Nets -2 (-110)
Who needs Ben Simmons when you have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? Brooklyn has just enough pieces around their two superstars that a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals is not out of the question. Of course this will require Durant and Irving to carry the team every night, but that’s a load they’re both capable of bearing. The Nets have won eight of their last 12 games and covered in eight over that span. The ATS number is much more impressive, but the straight-up number is promising given the direction they were headed at the beginning of March.
In the middle of January, Atlanta looked like a .500 team at best. They have since gotten healthier, and their defense and offense have improved. Their record since the middle of January is 23-12, but their ATS record is 19-16. They were 12-6 against the spread on this run before March began, but then they failed to cover in 10 of 12. Over the last week and a half, the Hawks have won and covered in four in a row as favorites, but on Saturday night the Hawks are home dogs. The Hawks have won 9 of their last 10 at home but are only 6-4 against the spread at home. This game is going to be close, and if that’s case, then Durant and Irving are the play.
Bulls +2 (-110)
The Bulls won six in a row at the end of February and looked like a real threat to the Bucks’ chances of a repeat. Since then, the Bulls are 6-11. March was not kind to the Bulls, but they did close out the month with two wins and two covers. Once the Bulls return to main strength, they may again pose a threat in the East. The trends are on their side on Saturday night. Chicago is 25-12 ATS at home (best in the NBA).
A couple days rest may be exactly what the Heat need. They last played on Wednesday, and the 106-98 win at Boston was a great way to rebound after losing four in a row. Three of those losses were in Miami and the final loss capped a streak of seven games without covering. The trends are also on their side tonight. Miami is 23-14-1 ATS on the road (third).
Ultimately, this comes down to the Bulls win on Thursday night. Paul George returned for the Clippers, but the Bulls won in OT 135-130 behind amazing performances by their stars. Zach Lavine scored 21, Nikola Vucevic added 22 and DeMar DeRozan dropped 50 points on the Clippers. That was a season defining game and likely a turning point. If those three are locked in, Miami is losing by double digits.
Jazz -1.5 (-110)
Golden State isn’t even the Bronze State. Aluminum State might be too flattering. Since early February, the Warriors — calling them warriors is a stretch — are 7-16. The volunteer combatants are not putting up much of a fight without Steph Curry, and it doesn’t help that Draymond Green would rather be a TV personality than a leader on a struggling team. Over the last 15 games, the Warriors rank 20th in offensive efficiency rating and 16th in defensive efficiency rating. That’s quite a drop. During the first three months of the season, they ranked inside the top 5 in both categories.
The Jazz have also struggled compared to their early season form, but they still have a legit chance of making the Western Conference Finals. However, they’re going to need to step up their game if they want to have a shot against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix is healthy, hungry and wants to avenge last season’s Finals loss.
This line is bewildering, but the Jazz have lost five of the last six games. Their No. 1 ranked offense on the season has dropped to 14th over this span. Their 12th ranked defense has sunk to 27th. However, they were fine in their last game and beat the inferior Lakers by 13. Also, that rough patch was part of a six-game road trip. They are back on the road on Saturday night, but they haven’t played since Thursday and do not play again until Tuesday. This line is giving the Warriors’ role players respect that they do not deserve and respect that they have not earned.
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