Wednesday December 5, 2018

While Wednesdays typically result in smaller NBA nights, we have an exciting 5-game slate on the card today. This is highlighted by an exciting Western Conference matchup in Dallas, as the resurgent Mavericks play host to the fading Trail Blazers. Utah also plays host to San Antonio and Orlando travel to Miami in two intriguing intra-conference affairs. As always, let’s take a look at our 3 best spread bets and favourite daily multi on the board today.

Indiana Pacers vs Chicago Bulls (11am AEDT)
Bulls (+8.5)

Indiana Pacers 

The Pacers enter this one at 13-10 after a heartbreaking loss in Sacramento on Sunday. They’ve managed to stay afloat in Victor Oladipo’s absence, however the offensive performances have noticeably dipped. Small Forward Bojan Bogdanovic has shoulder more of the offensive burden, putting up an efficient 27 points against Sacramento. Center Myles Turner has also improved in his return from injury, averaging a double-double over his last 3 games. One area where the Pacers have been very strong this season is their superb bench play, with Cory Joseph, Doug McDermott and Domantas Sabonis leading the way. 

Chicago Bulls 

The Bulls make the short trip to Indiana with one of the association’s worst records, losing 6 straight to sit 5-19. They will be somewhat aided by the return of sophomore Power Forward Lauri Markannen, who put up 10 points in his return from injury last time out. When you factor in how good first-round pick Wendell Carter has looked, the Bulls have a very promising future frontcourt. I’d be remiss not to mention the excellent season Zach LaVine is having after tearing his ACL, currently averaging 25 points, 5 boards and 5 assists per contest.  

Prediction: Bulls +8.5 

Playing their first game back home off an extended West Coast road trip, I can see this game being a letdown for the Pacers. Without Oladipo, they still struggle to generate reliable offence. I can see this line moving to 9 by tip-off, which is excellent value for this Bulls side. 

Dallas Mavericks vs Portland Trail Blazkers (12:30pm AEDT)
Mavericks (-1.5)

Dallas Mavericks 

The Mavericks enter this one as one of the form teams in the NBA, beating the West-leading Clippers for their 8th win in their last 10. This is even more impressive considering it was done without star Rookie Luca Doncic, who is likely to return here. DeAndre Jordan had arguably his best game as a Maverick against his former side, putting up 16 points and an impressive 23 rebounds. Harrison Barnes has delivered noticeably improved performances of late, adding in 30 points and 9 rebounds of his own. J.J Barea helped win this one off the bench, pouring in an efficient 24 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. 

Portland Trail Blazers 

The Trail Blazers have noticeably regressed after their strong start to the campaign, losing 5 of their last 6 games. The blame can’t be placed on Point Guard Damian Lillard, who put up 37 points and 10 assists in Monday’s loss to San Antonio. Portland received strong contributions throughout the starting lineup, with McCollum, Aminu and Nurkic all registering 16 or more points. It has been the Portland bench that has continued to struggle, totalling only 13 points in this one. With the Mavericks excellent form of late, I don’t expect things to be easy for Portland here. 

Prediction: Mavericks -1.5 

I’ve had some great success backing the Mavs and fading Portland of late. Especially with Luka Doncic likely to return, I think Dallas aver very much undervalued at this line. I think they’re the better team here and expect them to comfortably cover this one at home. 

Phoenix Suns vs Sacramento Kings (1pm AEDT)
1st Half Under 115.5 Points

Phoenix Suns 

The Suns enter this home matchup with Sacramento having lost 8 of their last 9 to sit with a 4-19 record. Things got even worse for Phoenix on Sunday, with Devin Booker suffering a serious injury against the Lakers. The rest of the team struggled mightily in Booker’s absence, with no-one else eclipsing 15 points. 1st overall pick Deandre Ayton has been a bright spot for Phoenix this season, averaging 16 points and 10 boards per game on 60% shooting. Rookie Mikal Bridges also flashed signs of promise since being thrust into the starting lineup. 

Sacramento Kings 

The Kings have had a surprisingly strong start to the season and enter this one at 11-11 after a win against Indiana last time out. Center Willie Cauley-Stein is having the best season of his career so far, averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds whilst leading the NBA in 3-point percentage (1/1 so far). De’Aaron Fox continues to provide Sacramento with very competent guard play, averaging 17 points and 7.5 assists per game. In Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Kings also have a very capable bench scorer who is averaging 19 points per game over his last 5. 

Prediction: 1st Half Under 115.5 Points 

Without Devin Booker, I can see Phoenix struggling offensively in this one. Suns games have gone under this total in each of their last 5 and they just don’t have the playmakers to change that here. With a full game total of 226, I believe under 115.5 in the first half represents better value.  

Kings, Jazz Both to Win
Combined Odds of $1.95

I think the Bulls have every chance of keeping the game with the Pacers competitive and have left Indiana off here for this reason. Against the worst team in the NBA without their best player, this is a game the Kings just need to win. Similarly, I think Utah is a significantly better team than San Antonio and expect them to register a comfortable home win here.