A couple of squads in very different positions face each other in San Antonio today. The 15-12 Brooklyn Nets and the 10-16 San Antonio Spurs will each attempt to make headway in their respective conferences (8:30 p.m. ET Thursday).
Brooklyn is in a tier of its own in the Eastern Conference as the No. 7 seed. The six teams above the Nets are all at least 3.5 games ahead of them and everyone below the Nets are at least three games adrift of them. The Nets have steadily played solid basketball ever since Kyrie Irving injured his shoulder.
The Spurs are stuck in the Western Conference mess that is seeds 7 through 13, with six games being separated by just 2.5 games. San Antonio looks great in some games or some parts of games but the squad can’t find any consistency.
Let’s discuss this game from a betting standpoint by bringing up a few burning questions that will play a big role in the final result of this game. USAbetting will conclude this preview with our Brooklyn Nets vs San Antonio Spurs predictions and tips.
Will Spurs’ Young Players Get a Chance to Spread Their Wings?
The Spurs are a team in flux. They rely heavily on aging stars DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, but the guys are extremely flawed and not playing hard on defense this year. The same can be said of other older players such as Marco Belinelli and Rudy Gay. Their presence and ball dominance, especially DeRozan and Aldridge, makes it tough for San Antonio’s key young players, such as Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker and Jakob Poeltl to show their potential.
All of the young Spurs players are solid defenders and play very well on offense when they get significant minutes and opportunities. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has often kept their roles limited in deference to his more experienced players.
However, Popovich closed the Spurs’ narrow loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday with Murray and White on the floor and DeRozan off the floor. Could this signal a shift of perspective from Popovich that will allow the team to have a higher ceiling?
Will Jarrett Allen Dominate LaMarcus Aldridge & Jakob Poeltl On the Boards?
The Nets have had a lot of success since Kyrie Irving injured his shoulder, going 11-5 in his absence. A big reason for their success is the team’s rebounding effort. Brooklyn has outrebounded its opponent by 9.4 boards per contest in its last seven game, with young big man Jarrett Allen’s great work on the glass leading the way.
San Antonio has been a decent rebounding team but a lot of the rebounds are coming from non-big men such as Dejounte Murray, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Aldridge has been subpar on the glass this year and Poeltl is considerably better at offensive rebounding than defensive rebounding.
Allen averages 11.4 rebounds in wins but just 9.5 rebounds per game in losses. He needs to use his length to bother the Spurs and submit a big double-double performance for Brooklyn to win on the road.
Will Taurean Prince Play an Efficient Spot-Up Offensive Role?
In the last 11 games, the Nets have been considerably better when Prince is playing smart and efficiently on offense. He is averaging 13.3 points on 42.9 percent shooting from three-point range with 3.4 assists and 1.6 turnovers per game in the seven wins. In the four losses, those averages plummet to 10.3 points on 33.3 percent from three with 2.8 assists and 2.8 turnovers per game.
Prince is mostly a spot-up shooter by trade on offense. The Nets need him to focus on that rather than try to make a lot of more advanced plays off the dribble. If he can merely space the floor for the Nets then he can keep a slower Spurs defense on their heels.
San Antonio will likely guard Prince a lot of the time with Rudy Gay and Trey Lyles, who are both slower defenders. If Prince’s shot is falling, he can make the Spurs pay with either open shots or simple attacks on overaggressive closeouts from San Antonio’s defenders. He needs to stick to just doing that instead of being more creative.
Our Betting Preview’s Brooklyn Nets vs San Antonio Spurs Predictions & Picks
The Nets have mostly been a better team than the Spurs as of late. There is no doubt about that. San Antonio has just been way too up and down.
However, the Spurs have played some really solid games immediately following bad losses in the past couple of weeks. Blowing a 25-point lead to lose to the Rockets on the road on Monday certainly qualifies as a bad loss.
Also, without Caris LeVert, the Nets are missing a big, attacking wing who could really make the Spurs pay for not having much size defending the perimeter. If San Antonio continues to rely more on its youth little by little, I see the Spurs winning and covering the spread here. So the Brooklyn Nets vs San Antonio Spurs predictions for this NBA game preview today are:
- The Spurs are favored by the betting sites for USA sports at either 2.5 or 3 points in this matchup and I expect them to win by close to 10 points. Put your money on San Antonio -2.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes or Intertops.
- I don’t think the Nets’ best offensive players are athletic or dynamic enough to really put up a big performance here, assuming the Spurs bring a decent effort on the defensive end. I recommend betting the under 219 total points @ Bovada, 5Dimes or Intertops.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.