NBA weekend best bets: Fade Grizzlies on heels of historic win
We split our two NBA picks against the spread on Thursday in hilarious fashion: we nailed our first pick on the Spurs, who won outright as big underdogs, but were on the wrong side of the most lopsided victory in league history.
Here's to hoping for a little less history during a busy weekend slate:
Heat @ Pacers (-5, 208)
Dec. 3, 7 p.m. ET
To say losing Bam Adebayo is a devastating blow for the Heat might even be an understatement, as evidenced by Wednesday's 26-point loss to the Cavaliers in their first game since his recent injury. And this couldn't be a worse matchup for Miami without its star big man.
The Pacers rank in the top 10 in the NBA in percentage of points in the paint (44.2%), second-chance points per game (13.8), and offensive rebound rate (28.2%) - all of which should be concerning for a Heat frontcourt that was already undermanned before Adebayo's injury.
It doesn't help that star Jimmy Butler has already been ruled out of Friday's contest. With Miami's two best players sidelined, it's surprising this line isn't even higher.
Pick: Pacers -5
Cavaliers @ Wizards (-4.5)
Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
How much longer will the Cavaliers continue to fly under the radar? They own the best ATS record in the league (15-5-2) after covering each of their last five games, which includes double-digit victories in three consecutive contests.
Much of that can be credited to this team's supersized starting lineup that features three former first-rounders standing at 6-foot-10 or taller - which doesn't include five-time All-Star Kevin Love, who dropped 22 points in Wednesday's blowout win over the Heat.
That height could play a key role against this Wizards defense, which has been prolific along the perimeter but ranks 25th in opposing points in the paint (47.5 PPG) and field-goal percentage allowed within five feet (64.1%). If Washington can't limit the damage in the paint, it will be lucky to win this game outright.
Pick: Cavaliers +4.5
Grizzlies @ Mavericks (TBD)
Dec. 4, 8:30 p.m.
How do you follow up the biggest win in NBA history? The Grizzlies demolished the Thunder by 73 points on Thursday, outscoring OKC by at least 15 points in all four quarters. Will they have enough in the tank to stave off a dangerous road spot just two days later against the Mavericks?
No team has ever faced what Memphis will on Saturday, but those in similar spots have fallen short. The last seven teams to play on the road after a 40-point victory or better have gone 2-5 ATS / 1-6 straight up, and teams in that spot are 16-27 ATS over the last 10 years.
The Grizzlies will have to muster up the effort here without star Ja Morant (knee) - who has missed three straight - and could be without No. 10 pick Ziaire Williams (knee) and top bench scorer Kyle Anderson (back) after both missed Thursday's win. There are simply too many reasons to fade the visitors in a classic letdown spot.
Pick: Mavericks (TBD)
Hornets @ Hawks (TBD)
Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
The Hawks are finally starting to look like the team many expected entering the year, having won seven of their last nine ATS with seven double-digit victories over that span.
The difference has been the play of star scorer Trae Young, whose hot hand earned him Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors. The dynamic point guard has scored at least 30 points in five straight games and is averaging 8.8 assists and 3.6 made threes on 54.2% / 46.2% / 85.7% shooting splits.
The Hornets' defense has allowed the fifth-most 3-point attempts per game (39.3) and has surrendered more assists per game (26.2) than any team in the league. Expect Young and Co. to take advantage on Sunday and extend their stellar run.
Pick: Hawks (TBD)