It’s a light edition of game notes today, but you’re crazy if you think I’m not addressing Brooklyn’s comeback victory over Phoenix last night. The Nets are now 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games, but this is all about James Harden.
Harden was incredible, scoring 38 points and hitting the game-winning stepback 3-pointer over Mikal Bridges with 30 seconds left. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Nets are 7.4 in net rating with Harden on the floor this season. He’s been a fantastic addition to this team, and he’s been incredible to watch in a Nets uniform.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the game notes. Today will be somewhat lighter than usual due to Follow The Money duties this morning.
Note: *indicates that team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
The Main Event
Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans (-3, 231.5)
Can oddsmakers make the total high enough for these Pelicans games? New Orleans is 18-2-1 to the over in its last 21 games, and there seems to be no stopping this run. The Pelicans are averaging 117.3 points every 100 possessions while allowing 117.8 per 100 during this 21-game stretch. Their offense has improved tremendously, but their defense is just as abhorrent as ever. Now, they must host a Portland team that has been just as effective on offense as of late. The Blazers are 8-3 SU/9-2 ATS in their last 11 games while putting up a blistering 117.7 offensive rating. It is not surprising to see this total get bet up, and it’s not surprising to see the market refuse to learn a lesson and bet against Portland yet again.
The Co-Main Event
Miami Heat (-1, 223.5) at Golden State Warriors
Miami comes in licking its wounds after another loss to a shorthanded Clippers team on Monday, its second consecutive loss and failed cover. The Heat are now 5-4 SU/2-7 ATS since Jimmy Butler returned. The problem has been an offense that is 25th during this time, averaging just 109.6 points every 100 possessions. However, the Heat still have a 1.0 net rating due to a defense that is fourth-best in the league over this same stretch. Miami’s offense will likely struggle against the league’s eighth-ranked defense in Golden State, but the same could be said for the Warriors. Golden State is 17-11 to the under this year due their phenomenal defense and musty offense that is ranked 20th, according to Cleaning The Glass (110.8). It is why we’ve seen this total dip to 222 at most shops and why I bet under 224 early this morning.
New York Knicks (-4, 209.5) at Orlando Magic
Have we seen oddsmakers finally adjust New York's power rating? The Knickerbockers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games, and a phenomenal 11-4-1 ATS in their last 15 contests. Over the course of these 15 games, New York owns the third-best defense in the league (107.6), and a good enough offense averaging 111.4 points every 100 possessions. Only twice during this run has New York closed as a favorite, though, and now they are laying four points on the road against Orlando. There seems to be a clear shift on the power rating for New York here, but is it too much?
Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers (-11.5, 225.5)
With Christian Wood still sidelined with a serious ankle injury, the Rockets remain unplayable. Since losing Wood the losing streak for Houston has stretched to 0-6 SU and ATS, with an average margin of defeat of 16.6 points per game. The Rockets are mustering a league-worst 101.8 points every 100 possessions, and the lack of offense has had an effect on their defense. Houston has a defensive rating of 117.9 during this losing streak, and everything has hit rock bottom. Sure, the 76ers have lost some very bad games, but trying to buy low on Houston is a scary proposition for me.
Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics (-4.5, 223.5)
With Kemba Walker on the floor this season the Celtics have a -5.6 net rating, according to Cleaning The Glass. When he is off the floor, Boston outscores its opponents 5.1 points every 100 possessions. This does not sound like a player worth a point to a pointspread, but here we are. Atlanta continues to get support at the window despite a 1-7 SU/2-5 ATS slide that has them getting outscored by 7.9 points every 100 possessions. The Celtics are 7-4 SU/8-3 ATS at home this season with the third-best defensive rating in the league. I wonder where the value is here …
Denver Nuggets (-3.5, 232.5) at Washington Wizards
The Nuggets got back to their losing ways on Tuesday with a 112-99 loss in Boston, dropping to 3-4 SU/2-5 ATS in their last seven games. Denver has been hit with injuries, and its offense has been average, putting up just 112.7 points every 100 possessions. However, this might be a buy-low spot for the Nuggets today. Five days ago the Wizards were catching three points at home against New York. Denver does not have the same power rating as New York.
Indiana Pacers (-5.5, 227.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves
The betting market is an odd place, and this morning it told you that the Pacers should be laying the same number as the Lakers were last night. This should not be the case. Indiana is 6-10 SU/5-11 ATS in its last 16 games with a -2.9 net rating. The Pacers should not be a road favorite over many teams, but especially not as much as six, even against Minnesota.
Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls (-4.5, 222.5)
This is a game I have zero read on, so let’s just review the facts. Chicago has not covered consecutive games since a 3-0 SU and ATS run from Jan. 17 to Jan. 22 against Dallas, Houston and Charlotte. The Bulls are 4-7 SU and ATS since that time. Detroit is 5-7 SU/8-4 ATS with a very poor -3.5 net rating. Have at it, but I think there’s better games to waste my taxed income on.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies (-7, 223.5)
The Thunder are 11-2-1 ATS on the road this season with the fourth-ranked defense in the league (107.6). Memphis is 2-6 SU and ATS in its last eight games with a -7.5 net rating. Why are they laying this many points? Some might call this line “fishy”, but the market can just be flat-out wrong sometimes. Crazy concept, I know.
Utah Jazz (-3.5, 227.5) at Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is questionable with a knee contusion, Paul George and Nicolas Batum are out. What could have been a great series has been marred by injury, but just know that once Kawhi is announced as active -- something I expect -- this line should close closer to 1.5 at most shops.