NBA Thursday best bets: Ride Warriors' defense amid shooting slump
Well, that didn't go as planned. After a 20-8 run against the spread entering Wednesday, we went 0-3 ATS with three outright losses on the night. Here's to a better showing on a light Thursday slate.
Early in the season, the Mavericks were among the easiest fades in the league thanks to a lethargic offense under new head coach Jason Kidd. That's still largely the case - they rank 21st in offensive rating - but the team's elite defense has picked up the slack.
Since Dec. 29, Dallas has allowed an NBA-best 99 points per 100 possessions - 5.3 fewer than the next best team - and ranks second in the league in net rating (plus-10.7) with an 8-4 ATS run. Nine of the Mavs' 12 opponents scored fewer than 100 points, leading to a 7-2 ATS in those contests.
The Suns have also been plenty proficient. The two teams have been near-equals on a per-possession basis since the start of January. That leaves value on grabbing the home side plus the points.
Pick: Mavericks +3
No team's boasted a more consistently elite defense than the Warriors, who lead the league in defensive rating (102.2) and opponent field-goal percentage (42.8%) and rank third in turnovers forced (15.5). The same can't be said for their offense, which is still plagued by Stephen Curry's prolonged slump.
That's been exacerbated by the extended absence of Draymond Green, who led the team in assists per game (7.4) before being sidelined with a calf injury. Even the return of Klay Thompson hasn't done much to boost Golden State's offense, which ranks 27th in points per 100 possessions (107.0) since his return.
Thompson's perimeter defense has helped offset Green's loss - the Dubs are 7-4 to the under without their versatile big man. They're also 13-4-1 to the under in games with a total of 217 or fewer. Golden State should be able to take advantage of the Pacers' injured frontcourt and force their overmatched backcourt into plenty of mistakes Thursday.
Pick: Under 217