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Betting preview for Friday's NBA games

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I thought that Thursday was a good example of the philosophy I usually preach ad nauseam: Buy low, sell high.

The Los Angeles Clippers were playing without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley for a second consecutive game, this time in South Beach. The market was so disgusted with their loss to Atlanta on Tuesday night in which they scored only 99 points and averaged 1.021 points per possession that Los Angeles opened up as a 5.5-point dog against Miami.

A Miami team that went into Thursday night 2-5 SU/2-4-1 ATS in its last seven games with a -8.9 rating! A Miami team that was still missing Jimmy Butler, but would get back Tyler Herro for this meeting with Los Angeles. Why would a bettor want to lay that kind of a number with that team?

Sure enough, the market corrected itself, buying back on Los Angeles, which closed as a 2-point ‘dog at most shops and won 109-105 to drop Miami to 2-6 SU/2-5-1 ATS in its last eight games.

That was not the only example, either.

Phoenix was in the midst of a pretty bad 1-5 SU/ATS slide in which it had only managed 1.053 points per possession. Golden State had just covered back-to-back 8.5-point spreads against Minnesota. The oddsmakers adjust the power rating and open the Warriors as a 1-point favorite or a pick-em against Phoenix. Market buys it back, Suns close laying a bucket and win while covering.

Houston had won and covered three straight going into Thursday night as well, and was hosting a beat-up Portland team in the middle of a tough stretch. The Rockets, a team that had been favored just four other times this season, opened as 4.5-point favorites! The market made the correction, and the game closed on 3 with the game falling right on that number.

This is not to say you just want to blindly bet on teams that are at their lowest points, but it helps to have your own power ratings. A bettor should not adjust an NBA team’s power rating after a few losses, but the market does not have the luxury of being as steadfast with the influence of perception by the public. We do, and we can take advantage.

Here are my NBA daily notes for a big Friday slate of games:

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

Updated injury reports can be found here.

Atlanta Hawks (-5.5, 232.5) at Washington Wizards

On Wednesday, My Guys In The Desert host Tim Murray asked me about my thoughts on Washington’s matchup with New Orleans. In short, I told him it would be Washington or pass, and that I would probably be more prone to pass on the Wizards. I ended up passing, and wow was that a good idea. The Wizards managed just 1.095 points per possession, gave 1.277 to the Pelicans and lost 124-106. Washington has now dropped its last three games since returning from its COVID hiatus, and over those three games they have a -18.4 net rating! Washington is toast, right? Fade away? Probably not.

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