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Nothing But Net Bets for Feb. 25

LeBron James

LeBron James

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

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The NBA is back tonight with a nine-game slate. James Harden is expected to make his Philadelphia 76ers debut, and there are two marquee matchups in the Western Conference this evening. Odds via PointsBet.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz (-5.5) Total: 217.5

Last season, the Utah Jazz entered the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference. That will not be the case this season as Utah is currently the fourth seed in the West and 12.5 games out of first place. PointsBet has the Jazz at +700 to win the conference.

Utah has not been bad this season but has dealt with injuries to its two star players. The Jazz have also struggled on the road. After finishing last season 21-15 on the road, Utah’s away record this year is 15-12.

Utah is still good at home — just not against the spread. Playing in Salt Lake City, Utah is 21-10 on the Money Line but only 13-18 ATS. The good news is that the Jazz are 5-0 against the spread in their last five home games.

PointsBet opened up this game with Utah as 6-point favorites. My initial thought was that number was too high, and I was not the only one who felt that way: Over 80% of the handle at PointsBet is on the Mavericks. However, with an underdog being that popular of a bet, I thought something must be up. Digging a little deeper, I saw that the Jazz are on a 10-game home winning streak against the Mavericks. Fade the trendy underdog and lay the points with Utah.

Edge: Jazz -5.5

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-1.5) Total: 222

Tonight’s game between the Clippers and Lakers is huge for both teams as both are currently positioned to be in the Western Conference play-in tournament. Since they would likely play each other in that tournament, tonight’s matchup is essentially an early look at a playoff game.

These two teams have met twice this season, with the Clippers taking both games. The last time they played, Reggie Jackson hit a shot in the final seconds to give the Clippers a one-point victory. This game should come down to one possession as well.

In games between Pacific Division teams this season, the Under has cashed 59% of the time. Clippers games against divisional opponents have cashed to the Under 63% of the time.

At this time of year, I view matchups between conference opponents jostling for playoff positioning as postseason games, meaning I expect fewer possessions and less scoring. As a result, I think this will be a slow-grinding style of game. I like the Under in this one. As a hedge, I like the prop on the game to go to overtime, just in case the Over hits in OT.

Edge: Under 222