Mavericks vs. Nets NBA Preview

Mavericks vs. Nets NBA Preview

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks look to get back on track when they visit Kyrie Irving and the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets

Saturday, February 27, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at Barclays Center

The Nets opened as 3.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at -5. This leaves a 1.5-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. We need at least two points between the projections and the lines before we lay any serious wood, but the Nets ATS is worth a look. FiveThirtyEight gives the Nets a 69 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -223.

USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Nets at -4.15 using his Rating numbers, and at -10.37 using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the Nets -3.5 at BetMGM.

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Trail Blazers vs. Lakers NBA Preview

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Portland Trail Blazers enter this contest with the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers with a couple of things in common. They are both missing key players and they both have been struggling as a result. Now both teams are trying to right the proverbial ships and get their seasons back on track before things get too bad, too fast.

 

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Friday, February 26, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center

 

Can The Trail Blazers Score Enough To Win?

The Trail Blazers have been a mess without Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum. Their defense, which was suspect enough to begin with, has been non-existent over the last few weeks. Yet Portland, has not folded, they have fought. Damian Lillard has led this team with his typical brand of leadership and defiance.

The Trail Blazers have not quit on Head Coach Terry Stotts, and I do not expect them to be a push over on Friday night in Los Angeles. The formula for Portland to win is quite simple. They have to have their shots falling, because they cannot stop their opponents, they must outscore them.

And yet, the Trail Blazers have fallen on hard times recently. They have dropped three in a row to the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. They were blown out by the Suns, but otherwise have played close in the other two losses. They are a tough out no matter who is on the floor, as long as Lillard is one of the players suiting up in a Portland uniform.

 

Can Dennis Schroder Be A Spark Plug For The Lakers?

The Lakers are missing Anthony Davis to be sure. That statement may well be a candidate for the understatement of 2021 thus far. They have lost their last four games and have had incredible trouble scoring the basketball. Prior to these recent games, the Oklahoma City Thunder took them to overtime twice consecutively. LeBron James is doing typical LeBron things, but at age 36 he is also playing a massive amount of minutes.

The Anthony Davis injury has been bad enough, but the recent COVID-19 sidelining of Dennis Schroder has been incredibly harmful to this Lakers team. It has impacted their defense, their depth and of course their scoring ability. The Lakers are not a team overloaded with shooting. We’ve seen that over the last two seasons. Shooting can go cold for Los Angeles and it has indeed gone cold over the last few games.

They have lost four in a row and need Schroder back sooner than later. He has officially been listed as probable for this game. That is a big boost for the Lakers’ chances against the Trail Blazers on Friday night.

 

Betting Analysis

This is a tricky game to handicap because both teams are hungry and maybe desperate for a win. The Lakers got destroyed by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night and are now closer to the playoff bubble than the number one seed in the Western Conference. There are problems in Lakerland. And Portland is needing to get things right as well.

The Trail Blazers have fought valiantly in the absence of their second and third best players. Each game is key. The Lakers do not have great scoring ability with Anthony Davis out and that is what Portland needs to win. Because their defense is so porous they need to take advantage of these opportunities. This game seems to benefit Portland. And yet…the Lakers are still the Lakers. LeBron is still LeBron.

The return of Dennis Schroder is key here and it seems he will play. Schroder will aid in the Lakers defense and take some of the load off of LeBron James. I will back the defending champs to come out angry and take care of business as they get a bit healthier.

NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -5.5 (-110) at BetMGM

 

Pelicans vs. Bucks NBA Preview

D.J. Augustin #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball.  Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

D.J. Augustin #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are on a winning streak, but are they good enough to beat the New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA odds this Thursday?

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Milwaukee Bucks

at Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

 

The vultures were circling for Mike Budenholzer. The head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks is not the most popular person in the Cream City – certainly not after the Bucks lost back-to-back games at home to the Toronto Raptors, bringing up painful memories of their crushing defeat in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. But then a funny thing happened: The Bucks won their next three games. Granted, it was against three double-digit road dogs, but Milwaukee covered all three to improve to 19-13 SU and 16-16 ATS. Budenholzer’s job appears safe for now.

Stan Van Gundy has even more job security with the New Orleans Pelicans (14-17 SU, 13-18 ATS). This is Year One for Van Gundy’s rebuilding project in the Big Easy, and while there’s plenty of work to be done, he’s got one of the most promising young lineups in the Association. The Pelicans look like the right choice for Thursday’s matchup with Milwaukee after opening as 9-point road dogs on the NBA odds board at bet365. But there may be a better choice for your hard-earned money.

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Lakers vs. Jazz NBA Preview

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz warms up before a game. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz warms up before a game. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

The Los Angeles Lakers are finding out what life without Anthony Davis looks like and it’s not pretty. Since Davis played only 14 minutes in a loss to Denver, the Lakers are 1-3, with the three setbacks coming in the past three outings.

Given their recent struggles, this hardly seems like the ideal time to visit Salt Lake City for the Purple and Gold. Utah has lost twice since Jan. 8th, both on the road in less than ideal situations to Denver and at the Los Angeles Clippers. The Jazz is the best team in the NBA and on the season and they have the best scoring differential at +9.6 points a contest. PointsBet along with other top-notch betting websites have NBA odds showing Utah at -8.5.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz

Vivint Arena

Is the Jazz Really This Good?

Utah has the best record in the NBA by a significant margin at 25-6 and they are a basketball bettors’ favorite team by a long stretch with their 23-8 ATS record. When a team is playing this well one cannot help but look ahead and consider the possibilities of just how good they are and what measuring stick to quantify where they could be headed.

Other NBA teams have assembled 21-2 streaks, though not as many have gone 19-3 ATS during this duration. Seeing the regular season doesn’t end until the middle of May, to think we can project how the Jazz will finish the season and what kind of injuries that might occur that would change everything for them is foolhardy. But here is what we do know.

As mentioned, Utah has lost twice in close to seven weeks, one was going to Denver after a long homestand riding an 11-game win streak and the other was at the L.A. Clippers last week after beating them two days prior at the same Staple Center.

What got our attention about this team’s potential was their last game, a win over Charlotte at home. Utah was listless, as the Hornets scored 67 points in the first half. The Jazz was taking poor shots, not executing and uninterested in playing defense. They went into the fourth quarter up one point and did what great teams do, turned it up a notch.

Utah outscored Charlotte 41-20 in the last 12 minutes and played as they had the previous 23 times, dominating the competition. That shows presence and understanding what you need to do.

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76ers vs. Raptors NBA Preview

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Raptors are on a four-game winning streak and will take on the 76ers for the second straight game. Can the 76ers get back to their winning ways? Here’s the best bet.

 

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

at Amalie Arena

 

The Toronto Raptors are currently above .500 and playing their best basketball to date with a four-game winning streak. The Raptors are 7-3 in their last 10 games after defeating the 76ers 110-103 at home just two days ago.

While the Raptors have looked solid lately, the 76ers have looked fantastic all season long with a 20-11 record. However, they’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and will look to put an end to the Raptors winning streak.

The 76ers are scoring 113 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent. The Sixers struggle to hold onto the basketball, turning the ball over 15.6 percent of the time. When they’re able to get shots up, the Sixers do a great job on the offensive glass and get to the foul line at a premier rate.

The Sixers are led by Joel Embiid who is averaging 30.3 points per game along with 11.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Tobias Harris has chipped in with 20.6 points per game while Ben Simmons has earned 15.7 points per game. Those three have combined for about 27 rebounds per game this season which is just absurd from this big three.

Defensively, Philadelphia is allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions and has allowed a 53.4 percent effective field goal percentage. The Sixers will force turnovers at an average pace of 14.4 percent but are above average in defensive rebounding and limiting other teams from offensive rebounds.

The Toronto offense hasn’t been terrific but when they get hot, it’s a whole other story. The Raptors average 113.8 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 53.8 percent. They’ll limit turnovers but struggle on the offensive glass, however, the Raptors have been great at getting to the line.

Pascal Siakam leads the team in points and rebounds with 20.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Point guard Fred VanVleet has also chipped in with 20.1 points along with 6.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.

During this winning streak, Kyle Lowry hasn’t played since February 16 against the Bucks. Since then, the Raptors have won three straight games against the Bucks, Timberwolves and 76ers. Lowry is expected to be out again in this one.

Defensively, the Raptors have allowed 11.4 points per 100 possessions and have allowed an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent. Toronto leads the league in forcing turnovers with a percentage of 16.7 percent and should be able to force the 76ers into plenty of mistakes as the 76ers are 27th in the league in turnovers with 15.6 percent per game.

The Raptors will however struggle on the glass. They’ve been terrible holding opponents off the offensive glass and have also been having a fouling frenzy this season, with a free throw rate of 24 on defense. The Sixers should be able to work the offensive glass and get to the line at ridiculous paces in this game, which was something they did very well with last time out.

The Sixers got to the line more, added 10 more rebounds and forced more turnovers and yet still lost that game because they shot 38.8 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from long range. That should change tonight. I like the Sixers to win in this spot.

NBA Pick: 76ers (-125) at Bet 365