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All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page.
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*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 53-59 | Units: -8.47 | ROI: -7.76%
This game is a great test of situational handicapping and how effective it is in the NBA. Boston lost a brutal double-overtime game to New York last night, and now has to play one of the league’s better home teams on no rest in their building. The game did not end until after 10 p.m. Eastern Time, so the Celtics did not arrive at their hotel in Cleveland until 2:50 in the morning. It would seem that it is the perfect situation to play the Cavaliers.
However, when these two teams met in Boston just five nights ago the Celtics closed as 4.5-point favorites which would translate to Cavaliers -1.5 back at home. Boston in that game actually opened as 6.5-point favorites as well, and Cleveland needed a 13-4 run in the final 1:25 to get inside the number. If we’re looking at this from the point of view of the point spread there is value in Boston should it be at full strength tonight.
Instead of betting into the full game at what is an inflated number I’ll go in on Cleveland for the first half. This allows me to play against Boston’s terrible situation while also taking advantage of the Cavaliers propensity to put forth great home efforts. Cleveland is not only 27-7 SU/23-11 ATS on its home court, but it also outscores opponents by 7.5 points per 100 possessions in the first half of home games this season.
It should also be noted that Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play with a sprained finger on his left hand. He left the game against Detroit in the third quarter with the injury and was cleared to return, but with the game in hand he ended up sitting the rest of the way. I would expect him to be available tonight.
Bet: Cavaliers 1H (-2.5)
NBA Games & Odds
Tyrese Maxey is back in the starting lineup, and Philadelphia’s offense is starting to take off. With Joel Embiid, James Harden and Maxey on the floor the 76ers are averaging 122.0 points per 100 possessions, and their starting lineup has a +16.7 net rating. There should be no issue for this offense tonight against Indiana, which is 25th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency this season and has allowed 121.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time to its last 16 opponents.
This would seem to be an easy play on Philadelphia given its rest advantage and ability to score, but there are two reasons that bettors should tread carefully here. The first is the injury report that includes both Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker as questionable to play. The second is the Pacers’ ability to take advantage of Philadelphia’s weakness in transition defense. This is a meeting between the league leader in points added per 100 possessions through transition offense and the 21st ranked defense in that category.
This is the final meeting in the regular season series between these two teams and it would seem Miami has a slight matchup advantage here. The Heat are 5-2 SU/5-1-1 ATS in their last seven regular season meetings with the Hawks, and 9-3 SU/8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 overall if you include the postseason. In their three games this season Miami has only outscored Atlanta by 2.3 points per 100 possessions so it has hardly been lopsided, but the Heat have been able to keep the Hawks’ offense in check. The secret for Miami has been its ability to keep Trae Young in check by limiting him to just 18.0 points on 28.6% shooting from the floor in this series. Those looking to back Atlanta here might want to look at Young’s point total prop which sits at just 23.5 this morning.