The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Tuesday’s NBA Slate
The NBA is giving us a much larger slate than usual for a Tuesday. There are nine games to choose from, starting with a pair of contests at 7 p.m. ET and wrapping up with two games at 10 p.m. ET.
One of the most interesting matchups involves the Celtics and Mavericks. Both of these teams had appeal as sleepers to win the NBA title, but both teams have gotten off the disappointing starts. The Mavericks will also be without Kristaps Porzingis on tonight’s slate. Can Dallas survive without their star big man?
Let’s dive in.
It has not been a good couple of days for Porzingis. He missed Monday’s win over the Grizzlies due to lower back tightness, and he’s been ruled out for tonight’s contest as well. There was some hope that last night’s absence was precautionary on the first leg of a back-to-back, but it appears this might be a legitimate injury.
SNY’s Ian Begley also reported that the Mavericks reached out to the Warriors to gauge their interest in trading for Porzingis. He’s in just the second year of a $158.2M contract, but it seems as though the Mavericks don’t fully believe in him.
Of course, Porzingis’ biggest flaw as a player is his inability to stay healthy. He missed nearly two full years after suffering an ACL tear, and he injured his other knee during the playoffs last season. Players of that size do not have the best track record when it comes to injuries, and Porzingis has been limited to 57 games or fewer in each of the past four seasons.
With that in mind, the Mavericks are certainly accustomed to playing without him in the lineup. The Mavericks have actually been better with Porzingis off the court this season, increasing their Net Rating by +6.7 points per 100 possessions. The two-man combination of Luka Doncic with either Willie Cauley-Stein or Dwight Powell has been better than the Doncic-Porzingis combination:
- Doncic and Cauley-Stein: +7.6 Net Rating
- Doncic and Powell: +1.8 Net Rating
- Doncic and Porzingis: -1.7 Net Rating
The Mavericks managed to win yesterday without Porzingis, albeit against a less-talented Grizzlies squad.
The bigger issue is that Maxi Kleber will join Porzingis on the sidelines today. He’s been one of their best role players in terms of Net Rating differential, and the Mavs outscored the Grizzlies by +13 points over Kleber’s 26.8 minutes yesterday.
Still, the Mavericks have some options to replace his minutes. James Johnson has given them solid production when called upon this season, and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson could both play more minutes off the bench. The Mavs could also play some minutes with Powell and Cauley-Stein on the court at the same time.
Overall, I like the line value that we’re getting here with Dallas. They were initially listed as one-point underdogs on FanDuel Sportsbook, but they’ve moved to +2.5 following the Porzingis news. I think that’s an overcorrection.
There have already been some significant line moves on today’s slate.
One of the biggest moves involves the Orlando Magic. They opened as 2.5-point favorites for their matchup vs. the Pistons, but they’re up to -4 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Magic have been garnering a ton of support from the professional bettors. They’ve received just 51% of the early spread bets, but those bets have accounted for 84% of the spread dollars. The Pistons are already one of the worst teams in the league, and now they are essentially devoid of viable point guards. Dennis Smith Jr. drew the start at the position in their last contest, but he was so bad that he was benched in favor of rookie second-rounder Saben Lee. The Magic beat the Pistons by nine points on Sunday, and there’s no reason they can’t do it again.
BEST BETS FROM THE SPORTSGRID BETTING MODEL
Find out who our betting model likes in each of tonight’s nine NBA contests.