NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | February 27

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

It’s a rocking Tuesday night in the NBA with big games all over the hardwood. The Pistons are again in the headlines after a controversial loss to the Knicks Monday night. Does the NBA have an officiating problem? The Pistons look to rebound on the road in Chicago. The Hawks are picking up the pieces now that Trae Young is out for a month with an injury. They’re holding on to the last Play-In Tournament spot.

Dallas Mavericks at Cleveland Cavaliers Best Bet

Mavs +4.5 (-110) at FanDuel

Maybe the best game of the night is in Cleveland when Luka Doncic (and his broken nose) come to Cleveland. The Cavs are second in the Eastern Conference, stepping up as both the Sixers and Knicks have fallen off, but does anyone really think the Cavs are a threat to win the NBA title?

The Cavs are back to full strength after star Donovan Mitchell missed two games with an illness. They’ve beaten the Mavericks three times in a row, including 113-110 just after Christmas.

Dallas had their seven-game win streak snapped in Indiana Sunday. The Mavs aren’t a great defensive team right now, giving up 117 a night. Doncic is still The Man, averaging 34.3 to lead the NBA.

Dallas seems to play to the level of their opponent and I think they hang in there with the Cavaliers.

fanduel sportsbook
Mavs +4.5 (-110)

Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks Best Bet

Under 235.5 (-105) at BetMGM

This might be a case where the Michigan sportsbooks haven’t caught up yet with the real-life situation of the Hawks. Atlanta lost star guard Trae Young and his 26 points a night for a month when he injured his hand last week against the Raptors.

When healthy, Young is a dynamic offensive player and the Hawks have been a good bet over/under this year at 31-26, but it’s not like they can plug in another player and get that type of production.

Utah is 27-31 and three games out of the last Play-In spot in the West. If they were in the East, they’d be in the top 10 easy. The Jazz have lost five of their last six, but have scored 119.3 points during that time. This is also the Jazz’ first game against former coach Quin Snyder, now with the Hawks.

Both teams can score, and usually I love the over, but I like the under with no Young in the line-up.

betmgm sportsbook
Under 235.5 (-105)

Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls Best Bet

Pistons +11 (-108) at DraftKings

Now things are just getting cruel for the Pistons.

After a hard-fought loss to the Magic over the weekend, the Pistons were hurt by a questionable no-call at the end of the Knicks game Monday night and lost by two. Detroit coach Monty Williams railed against the officials in the game.

We’ve seen this before in professional sports - ask a Lions fan about the Cowboys game - and the leagues are helpful, but referees are human and make mistakes. That’s the real truth. And late in games, especially close games, NBA refs tuck the whistles away and let the players win the game.

Detroit has lost six in a row. Back in October, they beat the Bulls in the third game of the season and were 2-1. That’s the high-water mark of the season.

Chicago is coming off an impressive win in New Orleans, and are doing this without Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams, both hurt. But this game comes down to how emotional the Pistons are after Monday night. Do they just accept it or respond? I think they’re young and will play angry and well.

draftkings sportsbook
Pistons +11 (-108)

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Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.