NBA picks: Best bets for Tuesday night
Mike Ortiz Jr. makes his picks and predictions for the NBA slate on Tuesday night.
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Lakers vs Cavaliers Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NBA Betting Lines
Moneyline: Los Angeles Lakers (+145), Cleveland Cavaliers (-175)
Spread: Los Angeles Lakers +4.5, Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5
Total: Over/Under 224.5 points
Lakers vs Cavaliers Predictions and Pick
Any time LeBron James returns to Cleveland, it’ll always be a marquee matchup. Add in that the Cavaliers are not only one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but one of the best teams in the league and, with it being a primetime game on TNT, Tuesday night’s game will be must-watch television.
After starting the season 2-10, it looked like it could be another disappointing year for Laker fans. However, the Lakers have done a complete 180 as they’ve gone 8-2 in their last 10 games, including an impressive upset win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
The Lakers' significant improvement has been on the back of Anthony Davis, who’s been playing at an MVP level. During this 10-game stretch, Davis has averaged 34.2 points, 15.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, and has had a double-double in every game, including a 55-point and 17-rebound performance in last outing against the Washington Wizards.
Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is listed as questionable with a back injury that’s kept him sidelined for the last five games. The Cavaliers are 3-2 during that stretch, but are a completely different team without him. If Allen can’t go on Tuesday, Davis, who likely will continue his dominance either way, will have a much easier night.
The Cavaliers have still held it down defensively as they’re tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the best defense in the league with a 106.7 defensive rating and 105 points allowed per game, which is the fewest in the league. But as the Bucks saw on Friday night with the Lakers, who scored the most points against them this year (133), this team has clearly turned a corner and are looking dominant once again.
I’m going to continue to ride the wave here with the Lakers. I like them to win, but I love their team total in this one.
Pistons vs Heat Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NBA Betting Lines
Moneyline: Detroit Pistons (+333), Miami Heat (-450)
Spread: Detroit Pistons +8.5, Miami Heat -8.5
Total: Over/Under 222 points
Pistons vs Heat Predictions
The Miami Heat have had a very disappointing start to their season as they enter this matchup at 11-13 and are coming off of a 101-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were without both Desmond Bane and Ja Morant.
Superstar Jimmy Butler, who’s missed seven games with a knee injury, has been part of the reason for their slow start as they went 3-4 without him. The bigger issue for the Heat, though, has been their inconsistency on the offensive end as they rank 26th in the NBA in total points per game.
The Heat are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and luckily get to return home where they’ll look to bounce back after suffering a tough loss on Monday night to the Grizzlies.
The Detroit Pistons are still in rebuild mode as they sit at 6-19 but they’ve played spoiler a few times, upsetting the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks this season. Long-time role player Bojan Bogdanovic, who was traded to the Pistons in exchange for Kelly Olynk, Saben Lee and cash considerations from the Utah Jazz back in September, has really found a home in Detroit - he’s their leading scorer at 20.6 points per game.
While I feel this spread is a bit too high due the Heat’s inconsistencies on offense, they’ll draw a team that’s absolutely dreadful on defense. The Pistons allow 118.2 points per game, which is 29th in the league, and also rank 29th in defensive rating at 117.9. The spread is high, but I just can’t back the Pistons, so give me the Heat as they bounce back on Tuesday night.
The Pick: Miami Heat -8.5 (-115)
Mavericks vs Nuggets Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NBA Betting Lines
Moneyline: Dallas Mavericks (+160), Denver Nuggets (-187)
Spread: Dallas Mavericks +4.5, Denver Nuggets -4.5
Total: Over/Under 222.5 points
Mavericks vs Nuggets Predictions and Pick
The Dallas Mavericks enter this game on the second leg of a back-to-back, and will take on the Denver Nuggets after making a statement win at home as they beat the Phoenix Suns 130-111. The Suns-Mavs rivalry grew even more as Luka Doncic outshined Suns star Devin Booker, going for 33 points, eight assists and six rebounds compared to Booker’s 11 points, five assists and two rebounds.
Despite two dominant back-to-back performances by the Mavericks, they’ve had their struggles this season as their role players have struggled to hit and create their own shots. They’ve truly relied on just Luka Doncic. The Mavericks tried to solve those issues as they went out and signed Kemba Walker and called up rookie Jaden Hardy, but Walker has yet to make his debut and Hardy has played sparingly but well, including 10 points in two minutes against the Suns.
As for the Denver Nuggets, they sit at 14-9 and have managed despite their fair share of injuries this season. Forward Michael Porter Jr. is still out and has no timetable for a return with a heel injury and will provide a huge boost for the Nuggets when he’s able to return.
Center Nikola Jokic is averaging close to a triple-double with 23.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game, and his partner in crime, point guard Jamal Murray is back and averaging 17.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Despite not being even 25 games into the season, the Mavericks and Nuggets have already met twice. The Mavericks won the first matchup 127-99 and then fell to the Nuggets two days later 97-98. It’s certainly worth noting that Jokic, Murray and Aaron Gordon didn’t play in either of those matchups and will make their presences known on Tuesday night.
While the two split their regular season matchups so far, they did so with the Nuggets playing without three of their top four scorers. While Hardy has been impressive for Dallas in limited minutes, the Mavericks aren’t consistently getting enough help for Doncic, and that has a lot to do with them only being one game over .500 at 12-11. The Mavericks are on the road and on a back-to-back, and their 21st-ranked offense concerns me.
The more crucial factor is that the Nuggets will be close to full strength and already beat this Mavericks team once despite missing three of their top four scorers. The Mavericks had an impressive win on Monday night, but they come back down to reality on Tuesday night against the Nuggets. I believe Denver cruises in this one.
The Pick: Denver Nuggets -4.5 (-115)
Best NBA Player Prop Bets: Tuesday 12/6
Anthony Davis is averaging 28.6 points and 12.8 rebounds a game this season and has been playing at an MVP level in his last 10 games, averaging 34.2 points and 15.4 rebounds. He’ll now draw the best-rated defense in the league in the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While many would think under here, Davis just had his way a few nights ago with the Milwaukee Bucks, going for 44 points and 10 rebounds. The Bucks rank just behind the Cavaliers in points allowed with 108 per game and are tied for first with them with a 106.7 defensive rating.
Even if Jarrett Allen can go, he’ll be banged up, and will draw a rough first test with a red-hot Davis in town. LeBron James and especially Russell Westbrook have done a great job setting up and feeding Davis perfectly in a lot of situations. Davis’ mid-range jumper has been cooking and he’s been playing the textbook definition of bully ball.
Davis has another big game in a crucial road game for the Lakers on Tuesday night.
Jamal MurrayDespite ranking 21st in points per game on offense, the Dallas Mavericks are the complete opposite when it comes to defense at fourth in the league, allowing 108.3 points per game.
But, on the second leg of a back-to-back, in a game where they have to travel, I love Jamal Murray in this matchup. He's been having a great season and is being utilized more as his 26.4 per cent usage rating is the highest it’s been in his entire career.
The Mavericks get after it defensively, but Murray will get his in this one.