NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for 10/24

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 


Welcome to the daily NBA betting market report, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA Odds page.

Daily Recap

The weekend brought some fun and fascinating results, but for the recap today I wanted to take a big picture look at an admittedly small sample size. Through six days of the regular season road teams have had the advantage. Home teams are 21-22 SU / 14-24-5 ATS with a median result of 0.0 and an average net rating in non-garbage time of -0.4 according to Cleaning The Glass. 

So, what does this mean?

If we’re being logical, it does not mean much. In a regular season with as many games as the NBA has 43 contests is an extremely small sample size. However, last season the regular season homecourt value come out to be worth just 1.7 points and this season is heading in that direction. We are not going to start handing out ‘roadcourt advantage’ to teams, but if you’ve been assuming three points or more for homecourt coming into the season you should probably start to adjust that.

Before we get to the report in its entirety, enjoy this clip of Jose Alvarado being an absolute beast on defense against Utah yesterday.



Market Report for Monday, October 24th

* Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 3-3 | Units: -0.27 | ROI: -4.5%

Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat (-3.5, 217.5)

Injuries and availability are at the forefront for this rematch between Toronto and Miami. Scottie Barnes injured his ankle when these two teams met on Saturday, and that injury has him questionable to play. Chris Boucher is also questionable to play with a hamstring injury that has kept him from making his season debut. For the Heat, they will be missing Caleb Martin and rookie Nikola Jovic for this game, as both were suspended for their roles in the fight on Saturday between Martin and Raptors rookie Christian Koloko. The loss of Martin is obviously the impactful one, as he has been Miami’s starting power forward. The Heat were already undersized with Martin at forward, and three of the four players coming off the bench for Erik Spoelstra at this point are guards. Rebounding will be key here and early on Toronto has been a great defensive rebounding team, grabbing 75.2% of missed opponent shots. If they can work the offensive glass better than they have early this season (27.2%) and Barnes plays then Toronto will be live to grab the rematch tonight. 

For the best bet we’re going to look at the total. The number of 217.5 is a point higher than the closing total on Saturday, a game that went Over by 4.5 points. That game was extremely slow with only 92 possessions for both teams, but both were extremely efficient on offense. Should the pace remain but the efficiency drop off it would make for a good angle to look Under the total, which is what I am going to do tonight.

Play: UNDER 217.5

*Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets (-1, 231.5)

Obviously, the Utah Jazz getting off a surprising 3-0 SU and ATS start has stolen the headlines, and the market is buying in here. As I write this the Jazz are slowly shifting to the role of favorite, and you can’t really blame bettors. Utah has been great on offense thanks to Lauri Markkanen who has averaged 24.0 points per game on 48.1% shooting from the floor. As a result, the Jazz have averaged 117.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time which is the sixth-highest offensive rating in the league through three games. This is quite the role change though. Utah was an underdog of 7, 8 and 8.5 points in its first three games and is now a favorite in Houston.

Since writing the report this morning this number peaked at Jazz -2.5 before coming back down to the consensus -2 which populates the board right now. I am going to attempt to sell high on Utah tonight. It’s great that the Jazz beat the Pelicans last night, but Brandon Ingram played 11 minutes before being injured and Zion Williamson left an overtime game with 8:01 left in the fourth with his own injury. Houston has been poor on defense, but it was terrible situation playing a back-to-back in Milwaukee less than 24 hours after blowing a massive lead to Memphis. The Rockets have shown a real strength in transition early in the season as well, averaging 1.529 points per play in transition. Meanwhile, the Jazz have been cooked in transition through three games, allowing 1.368 points per play while opponents add 6.6 points per 100 possessions through transition offense, the worst mark in the league to this point. Let’s take a shot and give me the home team tonight.

Play: Rockets (+ 2)

Best Games

Boston Celtics (-5, 221.5) at Chicago Bulls

Chicago’s terrible defense finally showed up in the loss to Cleveland on Saturday where it allowed 1.349 points per possession. However, that was just the first time this season the Bulls had put forth a below average defensive rating. Instead, it has been its offense that has been nonexistent through the first three games of the season. Chicago has put up just 105.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes thus far, and the only reliable scorer this team has is DeMar DeRozan. When he is on the floor the Bulls have an offensive rating of 110.6 which is an extremely average rating, but when he is off the floor that rating plummets to 91.8 which is abhorrent. It’s hard to make a case for betting Chicago with these putrid offensive numbers, especially when a fantastic defensive opponent is coming to town, but Boston has not been its usual self on that end of the floor. Through three games the Celtics have allowed 117.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes, and instead have been using a dominant offense which leads the league in efficiency (125.3) to win games. Even Orlando put up 1.212 points per possession on Saturday. In this column on Friday I bet Over 218.5 in Boston’s game with Miami because I felt the Celtics were quietly feeling the absence of Robert Williams. That game went Under the total, but I feel confident in my assessment that this team is worse defensively so far. Perhaps that is enough to raise Chicago’s floor on offense tonight. This is likely the reason behind the move on the total from the overnight of 221.5 to 226 consensus.

Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies (-1.5, 228.5)

New Orleans was a terrible matchup for Brooklyn to open the season with, and the Nets looked much better in their win over the Raptors on Friday night. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 57 points and Brooklyn put up 1.16 points per possession and 1.06 points per play in halfcourt settings against what is supposed to be a talented defensive team. Tonight, they get to put their hands on Memphis, which has struggled on that end of the floor to start the season. The Grizzlies have allowed 118.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes of their three games this season. Many will point to the 137-96 loss to Dallas as the reason why the team’s defensive rating is so high, but Houston also ran on this group, putting up 1.184 points per possession. Those two games could be a symptom of bad luck, as the Mavericks and Rockets combined to shoot 33-of-74 from beyond the arc, but it is something to monitor heading into a meeting with Brooklyn which has attempted 36.4% of its attempts from deep. The line for this game has been stuck on 1.5 since it opened. The move here has been on the total which opened 228.5 and is consensus 231 in the market. 

The Others

Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers (-11.5, 227)

Philadelphia has failed in almost every facet on their way to an 0-3 SU and ATS start to the season, and until some progress is made its hard to swallow these many points here. Their defensive play has been extremely subpar in two of the three games, allowing 1.226 and 1.326 points per possession in losses to San Antonio and Boston respectively. Against Milwaukee it failed to put together an efficient offense, averaging just 0.935 points per possession. The bench, which was supposed to be much better, has averaged 11.3 points per game on 40.0% shooting from the floor. Now we’re hearing stories of Joel Embiid dealing with plantar fasciitis in the offseason as a reason to explain his lack of conditioning that has been apparent. It’s just bad vibes around the 76ers right now, and until there is a tangible improvement it’s a stay away team. The betting market did bump that line from 11.5 to 12 but that is all we’ve seen so far. 

Orlando Magic at New York Knicks (-7.5, 219)

At first glance this number sticks out because it is the same number the Knickerbockers were laying to the Pistons over the weekend, a team which I rate as better than the Magic. Despite the result I think the market got slightly high on New York in that spot against Detroit, so I’m not going to jump on laying this number here. Given the fact that homecourt has not meant anything to this point of the season – and I do not believe there will be much of an adjustment in that regard – saying the Knicks are 7.5 points better than the Magic is fair. The market has not really budged off the opening side or total here either, giving some support to my theory of an accurate number. 

San Antonio Spurs at *Minnesota Timberwolves (-9.5, 230.5)

Outside of the game with Utah this defense for Minnesota has been as advertised, but we only have two games against Oklahoma City to lean on in that assessment. The competition does not get much better with San Antonio tonight, but the Spurs have been a market darling early with the line moving in its direction in each game thus far. That has yet to happen today, and its safe to say this is the best defensive team San Antonio has faced in the early portion of the season. The Spurs have used some hot shooting (39.0%) to take out its last two opponents, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up tonight. 

Denver Nuggets (-3.5, 229.5) at *Portland Trail Blazers

An opening night loss to Utah does not look as bad for Denver now, and after strong wins over Golden State and Oklahoma City the Nuggets look like the team many believed could win quite a few games this season. The betting market certainly believes in them, or maybe it’s bettors playing against Portland which needed two clutch buckets from Damian Lillard and Jerami Grant to take out the Lakers on Sunday. Either way, this number is up to -5 consensus in favor of Denver with the total actually down from 229.5 to 227.5 at most shops.

Best Bet Recap

Raptors/Heat UN (217.5)

Rockets (+ 2)

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