Betting preview for every Monday NBA game

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For the rest of the season VSiN.com will be a must for those who handicap the NBA on a daily basis. I’ll be posting write ups for every single game on the card with betting trends, analysis and much more. As I settle into my new role as an NBA Analyst you can expect even more work on the association, but make sure you drop in every morning for a preview of the day’s games.

Note: * indicates team is on second leg of a back-to-back

Monday, Jan. 25

Charlotte Hornets* at Orlando Magic*

The Orlando fade continued on Sunday when the Magic blew a 14-point lead to the Hornets and lost 107-104 at home. The Magic now 2-7 ATS in their last nine games, and over those nine games they have the worst offensive rating in the league (101.6). It does not look like the offensive issues will subside anytime soon, either.

Evan Fournier being back on the floor helps. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Magic are averaging 1.161 points per possession when he’s on the floor. However, there are two problems with that. One, despite the fantastic offensive rating, their net rating with Fournier on the floor is 0.0 due to how poor they are on defense. The other is that when he is off the floor they have no other scorers outside of Nikola Vucevic, as Orlando averages just 1.025 points per possession without Fournier.

The offensive issue reared its ugly head in the fourth quarter on Sunday when the Magic managed just 0.818 points per possession while allowing 1.435 per possession, leading to a 33-18 final quarter for Charlotte and a blown lead for Orlando.

The thing to follow here will be the number. The Magic’s power rating has been odd; it’s as if they’ve been getting priced like they were last year’s team, and that just is not the case. Sunday they actually opened as the 1.5-point favorite before closing as the 2-point underdog. Expect the Hornets to open as the slight favorite here, which they should be. If they don’t, expect the line to get there by close.

Betting Trends

  • Orlando is 1-8 SU | 2-7 ATS in its last nine games.
  • Charlotte is 2-2 SU | 3-1 ATS on zero days of rest.

Injury Report

Charlotte

Not Yet Submitted

Orlando

Not Yet Submitted

Philadelphia 76ers at Detroit Pistons

There might not be much to take away from Philadelphia’s 114-110 win over Detroit on Saturday. The 76ers were on the second leg of a back-to-back, having just finished a two-game series with their division rival Celtics. Even so, Philadelphia held Detroit to just 1.049 points per possession, and built up an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter before coasting to a win (even though the 76ers failed to cover).

With a day off, it seems like tonight is a much better situation for Philadelphia, but questions linger about the availability of Joel Embiid. Embiid is currently considered questionable for this game against Detroit, though he was questionable on Saturday as well before playing and scoring 33 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. If Embiid can’t play it is a massive blow for Philadelphia. With Embiid off the floor this year the 76ers have a -8.7 net rating! Their offense sees the biggest drop off, going from 1.176 to 1.033 points per possession.

The market got as low as Philadelphia -5.5 on Saturday when Embiid was questionable, but closed at 8.5 after his status was confirmed. It might seem extreme that Embiid is worth that much to a point spread, but it isn’t. Philadelphia opened in the range of -6 on Monday morning, but if you think Embiid is on the floor tonight bet it now, as this could close at 76ers -9 by the time it closes with Embiid on the floor.

Betting Trends

  • Philadelphia is 9-3 to the over in January; 5-1 last six games
  • Philadelphia is 3-4 SU | 2-4-1 ATS on the road this season; they are 17-34-2 ATS on the road since the start of last season.

Injury Report

Philadelphia

Joel Embiid                         ​    Hip                              Questionable

Vincent Poirier                        Protocol                       Out

Mike Scott                                  &n​bsp;       Knee                &nbs​p;           Out

Detroit

Killian Hayes                           Hip                             &​nbsp; Out

Derrick Rose                           Knee                            Out

Toronto Raptors* at Indiana Pacers*

Since I sang the praises of Indiana in Point Spread Weekly a week ago, it has been all downhill for the Pacers. They are 1-3 SU (0-4 ATS) in their last four games, with losses to quality opponents like the Clippers, Mavericks and Raptors. The issue for Indiana is that a typically sound defense is giving up 1.169 points per possession over this four-game slide. Myles Turner is dealing with an avulsion fracture in his right hand, which has caused him to miss two of the four games during this slide. It might seem that having your best defensive player playing with his dominant hand damaged is the main cause of this slide, but Turner has been great. In two games back he’s scored 47 points and blocked nine shots. So, what gives?

Well, it doesn’t help that in these last four games opponents are shooting 42.8 percent on 34.5 3-point attempts per game. Three-point shooting is not random per se, but sometimes you can close out on a shooter perfectly and the shot still goes in. The rest of Indiana’s defense has still been solid in the two games with Turner. Against Toronto, they only allowed 0.812 points per halfcourt play, allowed just 47.1 percent at the rim and 30.0 percent from mid-range. If they can get Toronto’s shooting to dip from Sunday’s 15-of-32 showing this might be a favorable spot for Indiana.

The elephant in the room is the status of Toronto stars Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, who both missed Sunday’s game with various ailments.

Betting Trends

None

Injury Report

Toronto

Not Yet Submitted

Indiana

Not Yet Submitted

Los Angeles Lakers (-10, 214) at Cleveland Cavaliers*

The dominance on the road for Los Angeles has been insane. The Lakers have the best net rating away from home (+ 12.8) in the league, 4.6 points higher than the second-place team (Clippers, + 8.2). They have yet to lose a game on the road, and are 7-2 ATS in those contests. Defense is a key component of this run, as Los Angeles is allowing a paltry 0.987 points per possession on the road. That defense, paired with a 100.67 pace, has also led to eight of nine road games going under for the Lakers this season.

The market responded to that under trend right away, driving this total down from the open of 214 to 212.5 which is the widely available number right now.

Cleveland is on the second leg of a back-to-back, a situation in which they are a solid 2-1 SU/ATS this season, but this does not seem like one that is favorable for them. Boston hammered Cleveland on Sunday 141-103 at TD Garden. They held the Cavaliers to 0.953 points per possession and that was with Darius Garland playing 23 minutes off the bench. Should Los Angeles come out with the same defensive intensity it has shown all season long, especially on the road, one can’t expect much more from Cleveland here.

LeBron James being questionable is a massive question mark, but he’s been listed as questionable on every injury report with that ankle injury he suffered in the season opener. Despite that, he’s played in every game up to this point. Keep in mind, this is the third game of a seven-game east coast trip for Los Angeles, and a primetime game with Philadelphia awaits on Wednesday.

Betting Trends

  • Los Angeles is 9-0 SU | 7-2 ATS on the road this season; they are 6-1 SU/ATS in their last seven overall.
  • Los Angeles road games are 8-1 to the under.
  • Cleveland is 5-2 SU & ATS as home underdogs this season.

Injury Report

Los Angeles

Anthony Davis                         Knee                            Probable

LeBron James                         Ankle                           Questionable

Kostas Antetokounmpo           Knee                            Out

Jared Dudley                           Calf                              Out

Cleveland

Not Yet Submitted

Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets (-7.5, 235)

Brooklyn is exactly what we thought they were going to be. Twelve straight Brooklyn Nets games have gone over the total, and this is the second consecutive game in which the total is in the 230s. Over these 12 games opponents are averaging 1.146 points per possession, but Brooklyn still has a + 2.0 net rating due to an offense averaging 1.166 per possession.

Since Kyrie Irving returned the Nets are 1-2 SU (0-3 ATS), but Kevin Durant did not play for one of those games. There is no question the lineup of Irving, Durant and James Harden are exactly what we expected it to be. When those three are on the floor together the Nets actually have a + 10.1 net rating with a blistering 128.6 offensive rating. Those are some insane numbers for a group that has played together for just two games. However, until these defensive issues work themselves out, if they ever do, it will be hard to lay points with a team that is 4-10 ATS when favored.

Meanwhile, Miami has been a shell of itself this season due to the ramifications of the league’s COVID-19 protocol, and injuries. Jimmy Butler has missed seven games, and did not travel with the team on this road trip. Tyler Herro last played on Jan. 14 due to a neck injury that will cause him to miss this road trip as well. Without Butler the Heat have gone 2-5 SU (3-3-1 ATS), and that includes a cover on Saturday as a 7.5-point underdog against this Brooklyn team. I tend to stay away from teams with injury reports like Miami’s, but until Brooklyn shows the ability to consistently cover big numbers this might be a spot to play Miami once more.

Betting Trends

  • Brooklyn is 12-0 to the over in its last 12 games.
  • Brooklyn is 7-7 SU | 4-10 ATS when favored this season.

Injury Report

Miami

Jimmy Butler                           Protocol                       Out

Goran Dragic                          Foot                             Probable

Tyler Herro                          &​nbsp;               Neck                            Out

Meyers Leonard                           &nb​sp;      Shoulder                      Out

KZ Okpala                                           Knee                         &​nbsp;  Questionable

Chris Silva                                           Hip                        &nbs​p;      Out

Gabe Vincent                          Knee                            Probable

Avery Bradley                         Protocol                       Out

Maurice Harkless                    Thigh                           Out

Brooklyn

Nicolas Claxton                        ​;           Knee                            Out

Spencer Dinwiddie                  Knee                            Out

San Antonio Spurs* at New Orleans Pelicans (-3)

The betting market has been remarkably stubborn when it comes to this Pelicans team. New Orleans is in the midst of a 1-8 SU/2-7 ATS slide, and is 0-3 SU/ATS in its last three. Despite the uneven returns the market continues to bet this team, the latest example being Saturday when the Pelicans opened as a 7-point favorite, closed laying 8.5 and lost outright 120-110 at Minnesota.

Stan Van Gundy’s initial plan to pack the paint, a la the Milwaukee Bucks of the past few seasons, has failed miserably. While opponents are only attempting 30.2 percent of their attempts at the rim, they’re shooting an insane 69.0 percent within four feet. That’s a problem when your system allows perimeter shots, and opponents shoot 38.7 percent from deep against you. This has resulted in New Orleans ranking 23rd in halfcourt defensive efficiency (97.7). The Pelicans can hang their hat on being a top rebounding team, but it has resulted in a 5-10 record an inflated power rating.

San Antonio comes in on the second leg of a back-to-back, beating Washington on Sunday 121-101 at home. The Spurs have surprisingly effective on defense this season, giving up just 1.094 points per possession in non-garbage time minutes this season. That could be helpful against an inefficient Pelicans offense that is averaging just 1.092 points per possession.

Betting Trends

  • New Orleans is 1-8 SU | 2-7 ATS in its last nine games.
  • New Orleans is 9-1 to the over in its last 10 games; 4-0 to the over in the last four.

Injury Report

San Antonio

Not Yet Submitted

New Orleans

No Injuries Reported

Boston Celtics* at Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have been one of the better betting stories of the season, covering an insane 68.7 percent of their games (11-5 ATS). However, that all came crashing down against the Lakers on Saturday in a 101-90 loss at Staples Center. An offense that had been relatively effective was held to just 0.825 points per possession by the Lakers, and now the Bulls must bounce back at home against a Celtics team that is slowly becoming whole again.

Jayson Tatum is reportedly going to return on Monday after missing the last five games for Boston due to COVID protocols. Kemba Walker will likely miss the game, as it is the second leg of a back-to-back, but with Tatum and Brown together the Celtics will be a force to be reckoned with. Bettors might initially see the Celtics ranking of 15th in defensive efficiency and balk at the thought of this unit defending Chicago, but this unit has been trending in the right direction. Three of five opponents have been limited to under 1.049 points per possession with the two exceptions being the losses to Philadelphia in which Joel Embiid scored a total of 80 points.

The Bulls do not have a big to take advantage of the limitations this Boston team has down low. Chicago is much more perimeter oriented, playing into the hands of a Celtics team that is loaded with quality wing defenders. The market has driven this number down to about a 4.5-point spread, which might be a buy-low spot for the Celtics.

Betting Trends

  • Chicago is 11-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Injury Report

Boston

Not Yet Submitted

Chicago

Wendell Carter Jr.                   Quadricep                   Doubtful

Adam Mokoka                         Concussion     Out

Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks (-1, 221.5)

The Nuggets are potentially finding their stride as of late, with a 4-1 SU/ATS run in their last five games, but the real progress has come on defense. On the season, Denver is giving up 112.5 points every 100 possessions, but over this five-game run that rating has improved to 105.5 every 100 possessions. If the progress being made on that end of the floor is legitimate, bettors could be getting some good value on the Nuggets as the market tries to catch up.

Denver has not been one to struggle on offense, and that shows in its net rating. Despite placing 21st in defensive efficiency, the Nuggets have the fifth-best net rating (+ 4.5) due to an offense that is averaging 1.170 points per possession. This could bode well in a matchup with a Dallas team that has been average on both ends of the floor.

The Mavericks are just barely scraping by this season, outscoring opponents by just 0.9 points every 100 possessions. That is largely due to a roster that has been cutdown by COVID protocols, and a defense that is giving up 1.106 points every 100 possessions. Opponents are shooting 68.1 percent within four feet of the basket against Dallas, and averaging 94.5 points every 100 plays in the halfcourt. Denver happens to be the 8th ranked team at the rim on offense, and the 6th best halfcourt offense as well. If the defense is improved, this seems like a solid matchup for the Nuggets.

Injury Report

Denver

Greg Whittington                                 Knee                            Out

Dallas

Dorian Finney-Smith               Protocol                       Out

Maxi Kleber                             Protocol                       Out

Dwight Powell                         Protocol                       Out

Josh Richardson                         &nbs​p;       Protocol                       Out

Oklahoma City Thunder* at *Portland Trail Blazers* (-5.5, 222.5)

With failed covers in three of four games, it is clear that the Trail Blazers’ defensive inefficiencies will be what holds them back in situations that see them laying points. For example, on Sunday night the Blazers held a 25-point lead at one point before allowing the Knicks to average 1.34 points per possession in the second-half on the way to a 116-113 win for Portland. That’s the 27th ranked offense in the league on a pace to score 134 points over 100 possessions. How in the world can a bettor be comfortable laying points with Portland?

Oklahoma City now comes in with the 28th-ranked offense (104.9), but a solid 6-2-1 ATS road record. That might seem impressive, but that ATS record is pretty much due to power rating that is one of the lowest in the league. Just think about their last five games on the road: The Thunder were catching 13, 14, 10.5 and 11 points in four of those games. It’s hard not to cover such inflated numbers, and Oklahoma City has done just that.

Tonight, that number in Portland is clearly not double-digits, and that might not be a situation bettors should rush into. On top of having massive issue on offense the Thunder are not a good defensive team. They allow 112.5 points every 100 possessions, and have the 21st-ranked halfcourt defense (97.0).

Betting Trends

  • Portland is 2-7 ATS at home this season; 2-5 ATS as a home favorite.
  • Oklahoma City is 6-2-1 ATS on the road this season.

Injury Report

Oklahoma City

Not Yet Submitted

Portland

Not Yet Submitted

Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors (-8, 225.5)

Golden State has been a pleasant surprise this season, but this number tonight might be doing a little too much. Let’s be clear though, this number seems to reflect more on how low the market is on the Timberwolves, as opposed to it being high on the Warriors. Minnesota is 2-9 SU (5-6 ATS) in its last 11 games, and over that stretch they have a -7.1 net rating, the third-worst in the league.

The T-Wolves have been poor on both sides of the ball. Without Karl-Anthony Towns their offense has suffered, posting a 101.0 offensive rating during his absence and a 105.1 rating over this 11-game slide. This team was never going to be effective on defense, and was going to be carried by an offense led by Towns and D’Angelo Russell. If they can’t score then things will be ugly -- and they have been.

With all of those factors working against Minnesota it is not surprising to see such a large number for Golden State, but should bettors be comfortable laying that? The Warriors have been favored five times this season, and they are 3-2 SU but 2-3 ATS. Those games they never laid more than five points and they lost game against the Knicks. Golden State is still a team with a -4.9 net rating on the season, and teams that are outscored by 4.9 points every 100 possessions probably should not be 8.5-point favorites, regardless of the competition.

Injury Report

Minnesota

Juancho Hernangomez           Protocol                       Out

D’Angelo Russell                                Quad                           Questionable

Karl-Anthony Towns               Protocol                       Out

Golden State

Not Yet Submitted

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PRO TOOLS

Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings for every game on the board, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

CFB Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

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PRO PICKS

Matt Youmans: Washington +6 vs Texas. View more picks

Paul Stone: Florida State -7 vs Oklahoma. View more pick

 

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