NBA Tuesday best bets: Timberwolves to stay hot vs. depleted Blazers

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We went 1-1 against the spread on our NBA picks on Monday, courtesy of the Thunder's shocking late rally and a meaningless bucket at the end. Sometimes you're good, sometimes you're lucky.

Here are our best bets for Tuesday.

Lakers (-3, 227.5) @ Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET

After missing the last 17 games with a sprained MCL, Anthony Davis is expected to return for Tuesday's contest against the Nets. Just how much will the big man's return matter for the Lakers?

Unsurprisingly, quite a lot. In the 29 games before Davis' injury, Los Angeles owned a net rating of minus-0.2 with a serviceable defense and lackluster offense. Since then, L.A. has been outscored by 3.6 points per 100 possessions behind one of the NBA's worst defenses.

The team should improve with Davis in the mix, especially against a Nets squad missing Kevin Durant (knee), Kyrie Irving (personal), and sharpshooter Joe Harris (ankle). Brooklyn is 4-6 ATS and 5-5 straight up without Durant, with all five losses coming by at least seven points.

Pick: Lakers -3

Mavericks @ Warriors (-4, 211.5), 10 p.m.

It's been almost two months since the Warriors last looked "right," and they seem to still be heading in the wrong direction. Things have been especially rough in January: Golden State owns a 4-9 ATS record with a net rating (plus-1.4) barely above the league average.

The issue's been the offense, which is scoring a mere 106.4 points per 100 possessions this month. Draymond Green finished just two of those 13 contests, while Stephen Curry is shooting an abysmal 35.9%, including 29.9% from deep.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks boast the NBA's best defensive rating (98.8) since the start of the new year. They've won 10 of 12 and have an 8-4 ATS record. The savvy play here might be fading the Warriors' team total (107), but it's hard to turn down the points in a matchup that Dallas should win outright.

Pick: Mavericks +4

Timberwolves (-3.5, 233) @ Trail Blazers, 10 p.m.

While the Mavericks own the league's best defense since the calendar flipped, the Timberwolves pace the field in offensive rating (117.8) and rank in the top five in offensive rebounding rate (31.6%), true shooting percentage (58.6%), and pace (101.9) during that stretch.

That relentless approach will be a serious challenge for this Blazers defense, which has allowed the second-most points per 100 possessions (113.8) in Chauncey Billups' first year on the job. Those numbers have improved marginally since losing Damian Lillard (abdomen), but they've still let two teams score at least 130 points in the last three weeks.

Minnesota dropped 136 points on the Nets on Sunday and has won seven of its past 10 games with a top-five net rating (plus-8.0) in that span. The Timberwolves are the better, healthier, and hotter team ahead of this matchup, so lay the points with confidence.

Pick: Timberwolves -3.5

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at

NBA Tuesday best bets: Timberwolves to stay hot vs. depleted Blazers
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