NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 12/3

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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, or check out The Edge daily at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.

All game lines via VSiN NBA Odds page.

Market Report for Friday, December 3rd

It is a fantastic Friday night card with incredible matchups to handicap; nine games and each of them is worth taking in.

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers (-5, 208)

The Heat come into this contest severely short-handed. Jimmy Butler did not make the trip to Indiana, Bam Adebayo is done until January with a thumb injury and Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo and Marcus Garrett all remain sidelined as well. Miami has struggled defensively as these injuries have ravaged the roster, allowing 124.9 points per 100 possessions over the last two games to Denver and Cleveland. Those two teams pummeled the Heat down low, combining to go 27-of-33 (81.8%) at the rim, while shooting a blistering 30-of-62 (48.4%) from the perimeter. The 3-point shooting likely won’t be an issue tonight against a Pacers team that is shooting 33.7% on the season, but that lack of rim protection will be something to watch. Miami is 28th in opponent shooting inside four feet, allowing 68.1% at the rim, so this issue is not a new development. Indiana takes a third of its shots at the rim and they have Domantas Sabonis who lives in that area of the floor. The Pacers could take advantage of Miami’s missing personnel, but they have their own absences to contend with. Justin Holiday is still out and T.J. McConnell will not play either due to a sore right wrist. The line is starting to creep up on Indiana, which is not surprising given the injuries for Miami, but be careful falling into this trap. The Pacers are 1-4 SU/2-3 ATS in their last five games due to an inconsistent offense that has managed just 107.4 points per 100 possessions over that stretch, and they’re missing a shooter and key reserve tonight.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards (-4, 207)

Three straight wins and five consecutive covers. That is the recent resume of the visiting team tonight, and this matchup seems to be one that will benefit them greatly. Against Miami on Wednesday the Cavaliers allowed just 0.962 point per possession by limiting the Heat to 10-of-23 at the rim thank to a combined nine blocks from Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Since Mobley returned to action Cleveland’s defense has been incredible, limiting its last three opponents to 94.8 points per 100 possessions and 48.7% within four feet of the basket. Their massive duo of Allen and Mobley are allowing just 53.7% at the rim on the season and 100.1 points per 100 possessions when on the floor together which is a massive problem for Washington which lives in the restricted area. Washington ranks seventh in frequency of attempts at the rim and shoots 69.3% on the season, the fourth-best percentage in the league. However, the get next to nothing from the perimeter, ranking 23rd in 3-point frequency and 27th in shooting at 32.3%. Where is the offense going to come from for the Wizards? It’s certainly possible that their offense is so good on the interior it has success here, but from what we have seen all season from the Cavaliers it is hard to see this frontline having a tough night against such a one-dimensional offense. We’ve seen the market make an adjustment on Cleveland, as they were + 6.5 the other night in Dallas, but this matchup works too well in their favor. Would also consider playing this under given the style we’re going to see tonight.

Play: Cavaliers (+ 4)

Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks (-2, 213.5)

Philadelphia bettors were bailed out by Danny Green on Wednesday when he hit a massive 3-point attempt to put the 76ers inside the number against Boston, but its clear this team has a ton of issues to work out on offense. Philly averaged 0.946 points per possession in that game, and since Joel Embiid’s return their offensive rating of 100.7 is one of the worst in the league. Those poor offensive number likely won’t cut it against an Atlanta team that is 8-1 SU/7-2 ATS in its last nine games and outscored those opponents by 13.5 points per 100 possessions. To give the 76ers some credit, they still have a positive net rating (+ 1.9) in the games with Embiid as their defense has improved tremendously with him on the floor with opponents scoring just 98.7 points per 100 possessions. At full strength I believe Philadelphia to be the slightly better team, but this is something I need evidence of before I act on it. Embiid is clearly not at peak condition, as is clearly shown by his 7-of-33 shooting from the floor over the last two games. Until he starts to show more on the offensive end of the floor it will not be wise to sweat out games pre-flop with this team. It is also wise to keep in mind that Atlanta is not fully healthy here. Bogdan Bogdanovic is out for an extended period and Cam Reddish is questionable to play yet again. 

Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets (-7.5, 222)

This is a fascinating game that I cannot wait to watch. On one side we have Minnesota, a team that is 7-2 SU in its last nine games and 7-3 ATS in its last 10, taking on Brooklyn which went 11-3 SU in November but 5-8-1 ATS. It is clear the Nets are a good team, but not the overwhelming force the market prices them out to be. They have just one cover since Nov. 14, closing as a favorite of 5.1 points on average in those contests. This morning the market is moving in favor of Brooklyn yet again, but this seems to be due to the questionable status Karl-Anthony Towns who injured his tailbone last time out against Washington. X-rays reportedly came back negative, and Towns expressed optimism after the game that he would be fine, so I would suspect we see him on the court. In terms of matchups, this is a meeting of an elite perimeter offense against an elite perimeter defense. Brooklyn takes 37.5% of its attempts from deep and is third in shooting at 38.2%. Minnesota has allowed opponents to shoot just 32.2% on 3-ppoint attempts this season, but there could be some fool’s gold in those numbers as 21.1% of opponent attempts are considered wide-open by the NBA tracking data. On the other end, the Nets will need to be much better in transition. The Timberwolves are eighth in offensive efficiency in transition, averaging 126.8 points per 100 plays, and the Nets give up 123.4 per 100 plays. The injury status of Towns will keep me off this game, especially after being burned by a late scratch of Giannis Antetokounmpo last night, but there is little to indicate the Nets should be laying this number if the Timberwolves are healthy.

Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets (-2.5, 214.5)

The second-longest active winning streak in the NBA is at stake in Houston tonight as the Rockets host the Magic on a 4-0 SU and ATS run. Houston’s offense has been much better, putting up 115.4 points per 100 possessions while shooting 41.7% from 3-point range, and there is little reason to believe it slows down against the Magic. Orlando has covered its last two games and is coming off a win over Denver, but this team has issues. Their win over the Nuggets snapped a three-game stretch in which the offense had averaged less than a point per possession, and their -11.4 net rating in non-garbage time minutes is 29th in the NBA, ahead of Detroit by just 0.5 points. Houston is better than Orlando, and with homecourt being worth a full three points this season it is understandable that the market is moving to Rockets -3 in almost every shop. Personally, I have this number at Rockets -3.5 so there is no real edge to be found, especially since Jalen Green is set to miss his third consecutive contest and there seems to be little value in the market right now. 

New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks (-7, 217)

Two days ago the market moved in the direction of New Orleans due to the questionable status of Kristaps Porzingis. The only thing questionable that day was the support of the Pelicans which were demolished 139-107 by the Mavericks. Dallas dropped 1.478 points per possession and went a combined 32-of-43 (74.4%) at the rim and from distance in non-garbage time. It was an incredible dismantling of a bad team, but there seems to be no real adjustment from the market. If homecourt is truly worth three points, which it has been worth up to this point of the season, then that line on Wednesday would translate to a 10-point line tonight in favor of Dallas. Yes, Kristaps Porzingis is questionable again, but it seems odd the market would barely budge in the face of a dominant win like that when it usually does. Personally, I have my reserves about the Mavericks and the way they run their offense this season, but for those who were inclined to lay the points last time out just know that you’re theoretically getting a cheaper line this time around.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz (-8.5, 213.5)

It seems the betting market has very little respect for the Boston Celtics. Not only did they open + 8.5 on the overnight line, but this number is up to + 9 at quite a few shops. The injury report is clean for Boston, other than Jaylen Brown being out which was reported last night, so why is this number so high? The Celtics are largely the same team without Brown, outscoring opponents by 0.2 points per 100 possessions and with Jayson Tatum out there they have a 3.1 net rating. Is Boston without Brown just four points better than New Orleans on a neutral court? Are they 1.5 points worse than Portland who was + 7.5 here four days ago? I would say they are not, but the market disagrees. Boston has struggled on offense in three of the last four games, but this team is better than what the market is saying here. Give me the 8.5 with the road team.

Play: Celtics (+ 8.5)

*Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors (-6.5, 216.5)

This is quite the number given the Warriors failed to cover as 3.5-point underdogs the other night in Phoenix, but the personnel situation is slightly different. Baked into this number is the absence of Devin Booker and the fact that the Suns are on the second leg of a back-to-back. That number on Tuesday indicated that these two teams were nearly identical from a power rating perspective, something I agree with. This number is telling us Golden State is four 3.5 or 4 points better on a neutral court. Oh, and revenge, I guess. If the Warriors are going to achieve victory tonight they must fix two things from Tuesday’s loss: turnovers and crunch time offense. Golden State turned the ball over on 24.0% of its possessions in that game, and their offense stagnated in the fourth quarter, averaging 0.818 points per possession. The lone Warrior to make multiple field goals that quarter was Otto Porter Jr., something that cannot happen tonight. Steph Curry will likely put forward a much better effort than the 4-of-21 performance we saw Tuesday, but bettors are getting no value on the home tam. Booker is important, but this line is inflated by his absence, the Suns’ back-to-back spot and the Warriors’ desire for revenge. This is likely where the number peaks, but there is some value on the Suns here.

Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (-1, 216)

What a sad time for this rivalry. ESPN elected to bump this contest from its primetime spot tonight in favor of the rematch between Phoenix and Golden State, and I cannot blame them. The Clippers come into tonight 0-3 SU in its last three games and 1-7 ATS in its last eight. The Lakers are in better form with a 5-5 SU/4-6 ATS record over its last ten, but that is hardly something worth writing home about. LeBron James will be on the floor tonight and Anthony Davis is questionable to play, although I doubt he misses this contest. Of these two teams we know most about the Clippers because of the continuity this team has had throughout the season. They are the better defensive team, limiting opponents to 104.6 points per 100 possessions on the season, but their offense is one of the worst in the NBA at 106.5 points. They should be able to defend the Lakers who put up just 106.7 points per 100 possessions, but will they be able to generate enough offense? On the season the Lakers are 18th in defensive efficiency (109.8) and they have had trouble protecting the rim where opponents are shooting 65.5% on the season. Luckily, the Clippers are one of the worst rim shooting teams in the league this season. There is also just so much noise in the Lakers’ statistical profile due to the rotating bodies and lack of availability to key pieces like LeBron. This game has in-game wagering written all over it, unless it gets to my buy price of Clippers + 3.5 before tip-off.

Best Bets Summary

Cavaliers (+ 4)

Celtics (+ 8.5)

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