It’s a lighter day in terms of NBA games with only five on the schedule but that doesn’t stop us from finding value on the board. I’ve got two best bets for tonight’s action including an underdog and a player prop so let’s get right into them.
The 8-6 Los Angeles Clippers will head to Dallas tonight to take on the 7-5 Mavericks. The Clippers come in fresh off a victory last night against the Houston Rockets and looking to win on back-to-back nights for the first time this season. LA will unsurprisingly be with Kawhi Leonard tonight but the rest of the team is healthy and will be available.
Los Angeles is one of the best defensive teams in the NBA entering tonight with the second-best defensive rating in the league. This could be a good match-up for them tonight against a Mavericks team ranked 20th in average points per game and who primarily relies on one guy to supply all the scoring.
The Clippers have struggled at times to score the ball but they looked really efficient even without Kawhi Leonard in last night’s game putting up 120 points. Paul George will need to continue his solid start to the season tonight in order to keep the Clippers in the game.
Both teams have won a majority of their games with defensive performances as opposed to offensive which, I think will be the case again tonight. Even if the Clippers' offense struggled to find consistent scoring I think their defense can keep them in this game. The Mavericks are 1-8-1 ATS so far this season and I don’t think they have the offensive firepower to pull away and build a big lead tonight.
Like many other NBA fans, I’ve been shocked by the hot start from the Utah Jazz. I didn’t think this Jazz team would be able to be competitive but here they are with a 10-5 record this season. The hot start can partially be attributed to the stellar scoring by Lauri Markkanen. I think the Jazz forward is primed for another big scoring game and will go over his point total of 19.5.
Markkanen is averaging 21.8 points a game this season and 21.7 points in his last 10 games. He is leading this Jazz team in minutes per game and field goal attempts per game so it’s not a question of if he will shoot enough to go over his total.
The biggest reason for the over being a best bet of mine is the New York Knicks' lackluster defense this season. The Knicks are 24th in the league in defensive rating and are coming off a loss in which they allowed 145 to the OKC Thunder. Utah enters tonight 5th in offensive rating so they have a clear advantage in this match-up. Markkanen should be able to score at will tonight in what could be a close game.
Lauri Markkanen Over 19.5 Points (-125)