We’ve leaned into favorites in our recent NBA Best Bets articles, but Saturday, it’s all about the underdogs, baby!
The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the New Orleans Pelicans, where they’ll try to steal one on the road, while the Sacramento Kings will look to do the same when they travel east to face the Phoenix Suns.
The Orlando Magic host the Miami Heat, and Orlando will try to get back on track and halt a four-game home losing skid. We have to throw at least one favorite in, and it’s going to be the Memphis Grizzlies, who get a favorable draw with the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks team at FedEx Forum. Saturday’s slate tips off early with a 4:10 showdown between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers, but we’re focused on the main slate here.
Odds via DraftKings
- New York Knicks vs, Los Angeles Clippers (-5)
- Indiana Pacers (-5.5) vs. Detroit Pistons
- Utah Jazz (-2.5) vs. Charlotte Hornets
- Miami Heat (-2) vs. Orlando Magic
- Boston Celtics (-5) vs. Atlanta Hawks
- Chicago Bulls (-7) vs. Houston Rockets
- Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies (-5.5)
- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans (-3)
- Milwaukee Bucks (-1) vs. Golden State Warriors
- Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns (-3)
- Upset: Magic ML vs. Heat (+120 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐
- Upset: Kings ML vs. Suns (+125 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
- Upset: Thunder ML vs. Pelicans (+143 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Spread: Grizzlies -5 vs. Mavericks (-108 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Battle of Florida rages on. The Heat lead the season series 2-0, but those games were decided by a total of nine points and the most recent meeting went to overtime. The Magic are 15-10 ATS as home underdogs this season, but we’re dealing with a small spread, so it makes more sense to bet the moneyline for added profit.
Orlando has lost four straight games at home, but the team plays much better in Orlando than on the road, so we’re counting on a bounce-back performance against a divisional and in-state rival. Both teams are 2-4 ATS over their last six games, and Orlando is 6-3 ATS vs. Miami over the last three seasons. With both teams mostly healthy, we’re taking the home team to win and snap their losing skid.
The Kings can’t light the beam on the road, but that won’t stop them from winning in Phoenix. The Suns got devastating news this week that Kevin Durant will be out 2-3 weeks after turning his ankle in pre-game warmups, so they’ll host the Kings down a superstar.
Phoenix has won four straight games, including victories over the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls and a blowout victory over the Thunder who were missing their two best players. In three games prior to KD taking the court, Phoenix was 0-3 ATS, and while the talent of Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton is certainly enough to win and cover, the Kings are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for a reason.
This is Phoenix’s biggest challenge in two weeks, and the Kings are in a prime position to cover and win. Sacramento is 19-12 ATS on the road (second-best in the NBA), but we’re taking this wager a step further and getting juicy, plus-money odds for an outright win.
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This is my favorite bet of the night. The Thunder have the longest odds of any of our underdog picks, but they have the best chance to win. Over their last four games, the Thunder are 3-1 straight up and ATS. They’re 0-3 straight up against the Pels this season, but all three of those games were decided by four or fewer points. Oklahoma City sports the league’s second-best ATS record as a road underdog (17-7-3) this season, and with such a small spread, our best bet is to take them straight up.
The Pels are just 11-10 ATS as home favorites this season and 2-6 ATS over their last eight games. Key role players Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance are unavailable, while Brandon Ingram is questionable. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams are available for the Thunder after each missed some time over the last two weeks, and with OKC at nearly full strength, this is a golden opportunity for the Thunder to steal one on the road and cash this bet.
The Grizzlies blew out the visiting Golden State Warriors on Thursday, and sparks flew between Dillon Brooks and Draymond Green. Without Ja Morant, Steven Adams, or Brandon Clarke, Memphis steamrolled the defending champs, and although Golden State has been atrocious on the road, this was a strong victory.
The Grizz are 3-0 ATS over their last three games, and the team sports a 20-11-1 ATS record at home this season. Dallas has been awful ATS in nearly every situation this season. The team will be without Doncic, and Kyrie Irving is questionable due to a foot issue.
In 10 games without Doncic thus far, Dallas is 3-7 straight up and 5-5 ATS. The Mavs were minus-54 in those 10 contests, so this line feels about right. Look for Memphis to stay hot at home and Dallas to come up short without its best player. Even if Kyrie plays, we’re taking this line up to Grizzlies -5.5.
NBA best bets made 03/11/2023 at 6:35 a.m. ET.
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