NBA: Best bets and analysis for Saturday, March 9th

Jonathan Von Tobel (99-84-2 | Units: +9.1) gives his daily NBA best bets and analysis for Saturday, March 9th.

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Mar 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) scores a basket and is fouled by the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets! Here at VSiN we have a ton of NBA content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league on a daily basis.

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NBA Best Bets

Record: 99-84-2 | Units: +9.1 | ROI: 4.6%

Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Clippers (-9.5, 220.5)

James Harden, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on the injury report today, and all are listed as questionable. Usually that would mean this is a game to stay away from, but we have a good idea of what the Clippers are going to do with their stars today. 

This is a massive stretch for Los Angeles. Not only do they have a glut of games to play in a short time, but many of them carry some serious weight in the run for the top seed in the Western Conference. Star players generally take nights off at home because of the NBA’s new rules about resting players as well. That would lead to at least two of these three – most likely George and Leonard – taking a seat tonight.

The market has moved in that direction already, but it will go further if my theory is right. I’ll take the chance and grab this number before we get news of some rest from Los Angeles.

Best Bet: Bulls (+7.5) – Playable at (+7.5) or better

Brooklyn Nets (-6, 216.5) at *Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte dropped a tough one in Washington last night to fall to 10-4-1 ATS in its last 15 games. Overall, it is obviously a positive stretch, but we’ve seen some cracks in the armor of the Hornets. Their perimeter defense had been getting lucky, and last night that remained as the Wizards went 6-of-33 from beyond the arc. That is going to be a problem here.

Brooklyn takes a high volume of attempts from the perimeter. It is eighth for the season in frequency of 3-point attempts (38.9%), and since the All-Star break that frequency has jumped to 40.8%. That is going to be a problem for Charlotte which has allowed 24.1 uncontested 3-point attempts per game over this run.

This is also a negative scheduling spot for the Hornets. They are playing a fifth game in nine days with no rest. Their power rating has improved enough that we’ve seen them drop their last two both SU and ATS. The Nets are also getting healthier, as Cam Thomas is set to make his return from injury today.

Charlotte had been a team that I had been wagering on regularly since this run began, but the turn has begun. It’s time to start taking our shots against the Hornets.

Best Bet: Nets (-6.5) – Playable at (-6.5) or better

Boston Celtics (-4.5, 227.5) at Phoenix Suns

This all about the bounce back for Boston, both statistically and situationally.

The Celtics are an elite offensive team, specifically from beyond the arc. However, in their last two games they have combined to hit 26-of-76 attempts (34.2%). That should revert to form for a team which shoots 39.1% for the season. This team should be hyper-focused on this meeting with Phoenix as well, as they have dropped their last two contests by a combined seven points.

Devin Booker could return to action in this meeting with Boston, but Frank Vogel has told the media it is doubtful he plays, despite his official questionable designation. Still, the Celtics are equipped to match the three-headed monster that the Suns have on the floor.

This is all about betting on the bounceback for Boston. This team has dropped two games in a row for the first time this season. They are the best team in the East and one of the best shooting teams in the league. It is unlikely that both sustain over three consecutive games. I’ll bet on the snap back here for the Celtics.

Best Bet: Celtics (-5.5) – Playable at (-5.5) or better

NBA Best Bets

Bulls (+7.5)

Nets (-6.5)

Celtics (-5.5)

Remaining Games

Dallas Mavericks (-9.5, 236.5) at Detroit Pistons

Detroit won outright against Brooklyn on Thursday to improve to 14-7 ATS in its last 21 games. The Pistons have shown improvement on both ends of the floor in these contests, and the market seems to be coming around on that thought, as the line has moved toward them regularly. This line has moved toward them as well, but it is not because of support. Luka Doncic is questionable to play with an elbow sprain. Dallas has a three-game stretch coming up against Golden State, Oklahoma City and Denver in the near future. This could be a good opportunity to get some rest for Doncic before needing to face the Western Conference elite in an effort to climb out of the play-in tournament.

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors (-8.5, 230.5)

Stephen Curry and Victor Wembenyama are both out for their respective teams. That obviously puts a damper on this contest, but it also throws a wrench into how I wanted to handicap this contest. Without Curry on the floor the Warriors average only 114.4 points per 100 possessions. Their rate of transition possessions drops as well. It initially led to my desire to play these games under. However, without Wembanyama the Spurs are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, as opponents average 124.6 points per 100 possessions when he is off the floor. The market seems to agree with my sentiment – the number is down to 227.5 – but the lack of defense for San Antonio turned me off.

Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets (-11, 233)

Denver is coming off of its massive win at home over Boston. This could be a potential letdown for the Nuggets, but this team clearly has a goal of grabbing the top seed in the Western Conference. They are 7-1 SU/6-1-1 ATS since the All-Star break, and they have outscored opponents by 13.1 points every 100 possessions of non-garbage time. Utah is riding a 3-0 ATS run which is evidence to the case that their power rating has reached its nadir. Still, Lauri Markkanen remains out, as does rookie Taylor Hendricks. Walker Kessler is questionable to play, and he will be desperately needed to match the size of Nikola Jokic at center.