NBA Betting Picks with Lines & Odds – 03/12/19

Yesterday's Results: 0-3
All Time Results: 19-20. -1.75 Units

Scared money don't make money.

And when you pick a slight road favorite it's because you're scared. Slight road favorites are the public's dream because you get to pick clearly the better team and you don't need to lay much of a number.  Those two factors serve to allay your fears - falsely.

When I went 50-30 in Oct, Nov, Dec, I looked back at my picks and noticed I was two times as good when I picked underdogs than favorites. Some lessons you have to learn a couple times, I guess.

Picking a favorite to win is much easier when you have to write a paragraph as to why. There will always be more reasons a favorite will win over an underdog. And there is less of a chance your team will get blown out. Historically, however, underdogs win a surprising amount of the time. Like anybody that does this not only for fun but to make money - I have to focus on finding true value. I'm taking more consideration into diminishing picks (less units) that I feel are 50/50 and highlighting picks in which I feel more confident. Thank you for your patience as I develop this craft.

Dallas Mavericks +5 vs. San Antonio - 1 unit
Dallas Mavericks +180 vs. San Antonio - 1 unit

1. If you only looked at San Antonio's road games this year - not only would you not think they are not a playoff team, you would think they are one of the 10 worst teams in the NBA. Spurs have the 7th best net rating at home, outscoring opponents by 7.0 points per 100 possessions. On the road, the Spurs have the 20th best net rating at -5.0. That 12 point difference is the biggest in the NBA. Mavericks, too, have been an entirely team different team at home vs. the road: +2.3 net rating at home vs. a -6.0 net rating on the road.

2. Any below average team - like the Spurs are on the road - will be up against it going against a Mavericks squad right now desperate to end their losing streak. Luka Doncic sat on the bench for several minutes after the Mavs 1 point loss to the Rockets last time out, shaking his head.  His knee hurt.  His team has lost 10 out of 11. He is tired of this. The EuroLeague MVP wants to change the narrative, and the Mavs will rally around him to do so.

3. Fading the Spurs winning streak, playing the Mavericks losing streak.

Cleveland Cavaliers +14.5 @ Philadelphia 76ers - .25 units

1. Since the NBA has adopted a new elongated schedule, there has been some discussion about how back to backs have been affecting teams. Particularly now that we are in the final weeks of the regular season, there is a sense that teams have had that much more trouble maintaining intensity for 48 minutes on the second game in as many nights. I have found that this pattern has been particularly true for teams that are in the playoff contention: playoff/playoff hunt teams are now 10-14 ATS since the all star break. Conversely, teams out of the playoff race have excelled on the second nights of a back to back.

Playoff/playoff-hunt teams on B2B since all star break (bos, det, ind, mil, mia, orl, okc, uth, gsw, lac, hou, sas): 10-14 ATS

Non playoff/playoff-hunt teams on B2B since all star break (nyk, chi, cle, atl, was, min, phx, dal, mem, nos): 14-3 ATS

My theory is the market adjusts too much for tanking teams on the second night of a B2B: these teams don't exert max energy most games anyway and have a surprising amount left in the tank.  Tanking teams do not carry with them the psychological burden of trying to maintain focus for a specific goal.  Teams out of the race have been better able to get up on the second day and just play ball.

2. Cleveland is 6-3 in games that Kevin Love has played more than 10 minutes since returning from injury. Market has not yet adjusted and most power rankings I see still have them as the worst team in the league or close to it. With Love, they are much better than that. His feel for the game and quick passes has reinvigorated young players Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman. They are playing with direction and ingenuity since he's been back.

  
Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.