1-0 Monday, 37-33-1 overall.
Mavericks (-4) @ Pelicans (233.5)
Pick: Pelicans +4
The Dallas Mavericks are rolling after beating the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday night. However, this seems like the prototypical flat spot for a team off a big win coming in fat and happy against a cellar dweller. Motivation is always the most important factor when considering a road favorite. If you’re favored on the road, the books are saying you’re clearly the better team. However, some teams in that spot might easily overlook the opponent and assume they can show up and win, especially in an 82-game season. New Orleans has lost five in a row and is 6-14 after 20 games, which is better than just Golden State in the Western Conference. However, the Pelicans have at least showed some fight recently, losing by five or less in each of their last three games and covering last Wednesday night against the Lakers. We’re expecting New Orleans to be up for this game in hopes of snapping its losing skid. We’re not so sure Dallas will be ready to play tonight. It’s a contrarian play to fade Luka Doncic and company right now, but we always like those kinds of bets.
Lakers (+2) @ Nuggets (208)
Pick: Nuggets -2
We’ve been on Denver in these spots at home against fellow contenders a couple times so far this season so why stop now? If you look at the top of the West, you’ll probably conclude that home court advantage throughout the playoffs means the most to the Nuggets. The other top teams out West all have more star power than Denver and therefore are probably less concerned about where games are played. Often times, talent wins out in the NBA. However, a team-oriented, slower-paced game has suited Denver well the last couple seasons, particularly at home. While Philadelphia, Miami and Boston are in the opposite conference, all three visited the Mile-High City earlier this season and left with losses. Home court advantage in the playoffs aside, a Nuggets team with less superstars than most other contenders usually likes to make statements in these games. Houston also dropped a double-digit decision to the Nuggets in Denver two weeks ago. The Lakers are the only team the Nuggets are looking up at currently in the conference standings and while the calendar only reads December, we’re expecting Denver to treat every game against a contender with a bit of an extra edge. That’s been true so far and we’ll continue to expect it to happen.
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