This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
Mavericks -2.5 (-115) at Rockets -- WynnBET (1:16 PM CT)
Even without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks have shown an ability to persevere and be competitive. With both players sidelined, the Mavericks actually have a +5.2 net rating, which is great while going up against the Rockets, who have a -8.4 net rating on the season. Plus, over the past two weeks, the Mavericks have outperformed against the spread by an average of 9.5 points, while the Rockets have underperformed their spread by an average of -4.1 points. I'll bank on both trends continuing.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets UNDER 232.5 (-115) - WYNNBET Sportsbook 12:30 PM
These two Eastern Conference heavyweights will face off for the first time since the Bucks dismantled the Nets in the first game of the 2021-22 campaign. This time around, Milwaukee will be without its top four guards – Jrue Holiday, George Hill, Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton – due to COVID-19 protocols, and Donte DiVincenzo is one again sidelined with an ankle injury. Without these core players, I think the Bucks resort to making the game a slow, physical matchup to avoid offensive explosions from Kevin Durant and James Harden. I think this one goes down to the wire, but I anticipate the defensive intensity getting cranked up a notch due to the recent history between these two squads.