Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NBA Week 19: Odds Update, Trends and Betting Picks for Monday, Feb. 28

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Don’t just bet your favorite sports. LIVE YOUR BET LIFE! Get started today at PointsBet with two risk-free bets up to $2,000. Bet now!

After a 4-0 night last night and a 10-3 post-All Star Break stretch, my picks are 215-159-7 for +83.1 units on the year. There’s a few trends I’m looking at following Week 19 of the NBA season, starting with a team to fade.

The Lakers have been at the top of my fade list all season and last night’s blowout loss to the Pelicans was a perfect illustration of why. The Lakers already clinched the under on my favorite preseason bet, 52.5 wins, but my other Lakers bet is in jeopardy. When I placed my Lakers to Make the Play-In Tournament bet, I didn’t expect the +900 ticket to be in jeopardy due to L.A.'s inability to stay in the top 10 seeds. FiveThirtyEight projects the Lakers to finish with 34 wins, tied with San Antonio for the final spot in the play-in tournament. That might even be too optimistic, since Anthony Davis is expected to miss time and the remaining schedule does the Lakers no favors.

The Lakers are now listed at +1800 to win the conference after opening the season as the +170 favorites in the West. I’ll be looking to bet against the Lakers whenever possible the rest of the way.

I was on the right side of last night’s blowout, taking the Pelicans to cover as road dogs. That’s been a profitable spot for New Orleans, since the team is 6-0 ATS in the last six games as road underdogs. C.J. McCollum has given the team a big lift since the trade deadline and the Pelicans are one of the teams poised to challenge the Lakers in the play-in race.

Pelicans as Road Underdogs

Pelicans as Road Underdogs

On the other end of the Western Conference is a team that has fought through adversity to put themselves in a good position to avoid the play-in tournament. The Denver Nuggets started slow this season as Michael Porter Jr. struggled with his shot and the team figured out which lineups work without star guard Jamal Murray.

The Nuggets are now on pace to finish fifth in the West and both Porter Jr. and Murray should return in time for the playoffs, making Denver an intriguing +1400 longshot on the Western Conference futures market. Denver’s Achilles heel all season has been an inability to keep things close when Nikola Jokic is on the bench, but the team is 10-0 SU since signing DeMarcus Cousins with a +0.6 net rating differential during Boogie’s minutes.

Nuggets SU with DeMarcus Cousins

Nuggets SU with DeMarcus Cousins

In the Eastern Conference, the playoff picture is more confusing. There’s a big cluster of teams all fighting for positioning in the East, and the new-look 76ers are in the mix as title contenders. As I mentioned on Friday, the 76ers led the East in offensive free throw rate entering the All Star Break. Those numbers should be even more overwhelming after adding James Harden to pair with MVP favorite Joel Embiid, since both rank in the top four of free throws drawn per game.

Embiid averaged 20 freebies attempted over his first two games playing with Harden, and Philadelphia put up a nearly-unfathomable 50% free throw rate in those two games. That means the 76ers took a free throw for every two field goals attempted, nearly double the team’s season-long mark of 26.7%. While both opponents ranked in the bottom-10 for opponent free throw rate, Friday’s matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers should be more instructive as to how Philly will fare against more disciplined defenses. The new superstar duo, (or trio, depending on how much you’ve watched Tyrese Maxey‘s ascent this season) could be just as scary for referees as they will be for opposing Eastern Conference teams in the playoffs.

Editor’s Note: Now, all our premium tools for Fantasy, DFS and Betting are included in one subscription at one low price. Customers can subscribe to NBC Sports EDGE+ monthly ($9.99) or save 20% on an annual subscription ($95.88). And don’t forget to use promo code SAVE10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

To turn Philly’s parade to the free throw line into a legitimate championship parade, the 76ers will need to get past the reigning Eastern Conference Champions in Milwaukee. I was confident in the Bucks figuring things out once the big three of Giannis Antentokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton started playing together, and while the Bucks did improve to a +6.9 net rating in 29 games with all three active, there hasn’t been the same dominance Milwaukee showed last season.

The Bucks were known for coasting through the regular season, allowing Giannis to rack up 30-point double-doubles in three quarters of a blowout win. The Bucks went just 2-4 ATS in the last six games as double-digit favorites after covering more than 55% of games as double-digit favorites during the previous three seasons.

My favorite pick on tonight’s slate is fading the Bucks with a double-digit dog in the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte has a dangerous offense led by LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges and should score enough points to keep this game close.

The Hornets already took down the reigning champs twice this season and covered in all three meetings between these squads.

Bucks ATS vs Hornets this season

Bucks ATS vs Hornets this season

EDGE: Charlotte Hornets +10.5 (1 Unit)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. NJ, IA, IN, IL, CO, MI, VA, WV only. 21+. T&C apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.