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Mar 1st NBA Action: Nets ex-Durant @ Covid-Stripped Spurs

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Season-to-date record: 42-46-2, 48%

Backing Nets bounce back on the road: Brooklyn -4

The San Antonio Spurs will face the Brooklyn Nets absent starters, Derrick White and Keldon Johnson, and reserves, Devin Vassell and Rudy Gay, after a recent covid outbreak in the organization.

San Antonio is 1-1 SU/ATS with a skeleton roster, after a narrow win versus New Orleans two days ago.

Meanwhile the Brooklyn Nets are without Kevin Durant until after the all-star break, due to a hamstring strain. Durant missed the last four games of an extended road trip, and then three straight at Barclays Center. Impressively, the Nets went 6-1 SU/ATS over this stint, including wins and covers versus the Suns, Lakers and Clippers. A disappointing fourth quarter Saturday resulted in the Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks handing Brooklyn a their site defeat in almost the last three weeks.

We are betting that Harden and Kyrie get the Nets back on track versus a short-handed Spurs crew this evening. Consistent with our thinking, we note that changes of scenery from this position have historically helped teams refocus following home stands punctuated by losses.

Road favorites coming off at least three consecutive home games have proven great bets off a loss in regular season NBA action.

This system has delivered a 21% return on investment back to 2004, with a mere two seasons over this span with cover rates south of 50%. Further, inline with the system's long-term cover rate, this approach is 3-2 ATS so far this season.

Also supporting our disposition toward the Nets for the cover Monday, ESPN's Basketball Power Index makes Brooklyn about eight points better than the Spurs on a neutral court (no fans will attend the proceedings at AT&T Center this afternoon).

Brooklyn experienced an atypically tough shooting night versus Dallas recently, scoring only 46% of shots around the rim, versus a League-wide average of about 64%. The Nets also struggled to connect from deep, usually their bread and butter, making only 31% of threes Saturday, compared to Brooklyn's 41% season-long average and 37% hit rate for the NBA.

But the Nets slump is unlikely to persist, as Brooklyn is the second most accurate longball shooting team in the NBA (behind the Clippers), and 8th by threes attempted (as one might expect from a James Harden-influenced team). Additionally, the Spurs are worse than average defending the three.

As such, it occurs to us that the Nets could come out on fire Monday, as the combination of focused mental fortitude off the loss and (positive) reversion of shooting numbers translate to points on the board. Additionally, given the betting public's vulnerability to recency bias, an overreaction to Brooklyn's recent offensive woes might materialize (creating opportunity for objective handicappers).

Fitting with this latter point, despite the Nets amassing the support of all 79% of dollars bet against the spread, per SportsInsights, the betting line has contracted from Brooklyn -6 to -4. This action suggests respected bettors are indeed coming in on the Spurs.

On the one hand, this observation poses some risk to our play on the Nets cover, as favorites that saw the betting line move at least two points the other way in non-conference games struggled to beat the number in the past. However, the statistical significance of this finding is not the utmost, so maybe this indication should be taken with a small grain of salt.

Bottom line: While not a slam dunk, the brunt of the relevant history-based and quantitative data at our disposal appears to point toward the Nets for the cover Monday. We are positioning accordingly.

Happy betting!!


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