NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 1/28

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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, January 28th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

*Los Angeles Lakers at Charlotte Hornets (-6.5, 228.5)

This is not the best spot for Los Angeles which could be very short-handed tonight against Charlotte. LeBron James sat out their loss to Philadelphia with knee soreness and it day-to-day which means his status for tonight is questionable. Anthony Davis injured his wrist early in the game last night but did return to finish the contest and score 31 points. However, this will be third game in four nights for Davis who just returned from a knee injury, and he told the media last night that he and the team would “see how it feels” before determining his status for this evening. With the status of the Lakers’ biggest stars in question it’s hard to get a read on this contest at this point. The Hornets bounced back after two consecutive losses to blow out the Pacers 158-126 on Wednesday, but they too could be missing key role players. Gordon Hayward is already out in COVID protocol and Kelly Oubre is questionable with an ankle sprain. With so much yet to be determined here it would not benefit anyone getting involved this early.

Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic (-2, 212.5)

A matchup between the two worst teams in the NBA is hardly a game worth talking about. Detroit comes into this on a 4-0 ATS win streak and a 7-3 ATS record in the last 10 contests, and Orlando is on a 1-5 ATS skid in its last six. The Pistons should be able to stick with the gameplan of forcing turnovers on defense here. Detroit ranks eighth in defensive turnover rate this season (15.1%) and Orlando commits a turnover on 15.1% of its possessions which is the fourth-highest rate in the league. What happens along the perimeter likely decides this contest. The Pistons are very good at running teams off the 3-point line, ranking eighth in frequency of opponent 3-point attempts (35.2%), but Orlando relies heavily on perimeter shooting and takes 38.4% of its attempts from that area of the floor. If Orlando’s offense is limited along the perimeter, it could be a long night for the Magic offense, but they have strengths on defense that work to their advantage as well. Mo Bamba and Robin Lopez have been great deterrents to opposing offenses at the rim which is why the Magic rank 10th in both frequency of attempts allowed at the rim and shooting allowed inside four feet. Detroit relies on those drive-and-kick opportunities, ranking seventh in attempts at the rim and eighth in frequency of attempts from the corners. There is certainly a universe in which both of these teams can do nothing on offense and this turns into a rock fight. The previous total when they met 20 days ago was 214.5 and the game went under by 25.5 points. It would not be surprising to see a similar contest break out here.

Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks (-2.5, 219.5)

Atlanta is finally healthy and the results are beginning to show. The Hawks are 5-0 SU/4-0-1 ATS in their previous five games, but their offense has been rolling for longer than that. Over the course of the last seven games Atlanta has put up 121.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes and has a + 6.8 net rating. How this offense matches up with a Boston defense that got Marcus Smart back two games ago and subsequently held its next two opponents to 87 points or fewer and 83.5 points per 100 possessions is fascinating. The key for the Celtics is the ability to defend without fouling. In four of the previous seven games the Hawks have posted a free throw rate of 29.9 or higher. They have the fourth highest free throw rate on the season (20.2), but Boston has been good at not allowing teams to get to the stripe and ranks 12th in that category on defense (18.2). Boston has been a consistent defense all season long, but the offense is another story. They are a team completely reliant on jump-shooting as opposed to forcing the issue at the rim. They rank 27th in frequency of attempts within four feet despite ranking seventh in shooting at the rim (67.9%), and this game it matters. Atlanta is 18th in opponent rim shooting (65.3%) this season, and while Capela is a fantastic rim protector when he is on the floor the Hawks have no resistance in that area of the floor when he is on the bench. Will Boston force Atlanta to defend the rim in those minutes? History tells us that isn’t the case.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Miami Heat (-8, 209.5)

This is a horrendous spot for Los Angeles tonight. The Clippers will be playing their sixth game of an eight-game road trip and their third game in four nights after needing to come back from double-digit deficits in each of its last two games. Meanwhile, the Heat are in a four-game homestand and are 8-3 SU/9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games and playing some of the best basketball of the season. Over the last month Miami leads the league in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (118.5) and have outscored opponents by 7.6 points every 100 possessions. The Heat have converted to a high-volume shooting offense and the change has worked. They take the ninth-most 3-point attempts of any team in the league and shoot 38.1% which is second at this point of the season. Los Angeles has defended the perimeter well all season long and leads the league in opponent 3-point shooting (33.3%) so it would not be surprising to see a shift in philosophy from Erik Spoelstra tonight. Having said that, this is all about the Heat’s multiple ways to defend the Clippers. Los Angeles is 25th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (107.6) and continues to show an inability to put forth consistent offensive efforts. In their last two games the Clippers put up a combined offensive rating of 85.0 in the first halves, relying heavily on mid-range jumpers to fall. Given the situation and offensive philosophy this is a great spot to play Miami, but of course there is a catch because it’s the NBA. Jimmy Butler has appeared on the injury report with an injury and is questionable to play tonight. He only played 29 minutes on Wednesday against the Knicks and sat out the entire fourth quarter, but Miami was up by 25 and in control. With the day off and extra time Butler should be good to go, but if he does not play that would mean both he and Kyle Lowry would be missing tonight. I will take the chance that Butler plays and play against the scenario here for the road team. The risk is laying a larger number than I would have to even if Butler does not go, but Miami would still be the play even if Butler is sidelined.

Play: Heat (-6.5)

Portland Trail Blazers (-2, 233) @ Houston Rockets

In many ways this seems like a poor situation for Portland tonight. Not only is it the third game in four nights, but they were dealt a massive blow when it was learned that Nassir Little would be lost for the season with a shoulder injury. In his time on the court this season he improved the Trail Blazers’ net rating by 5.6 points per 100 possessions. He was a dynamic rebounder and shot blocker for a 6-foot-6 wing and had been a member of this starting lineup over the last 21 games. Little joins the laundry list of key role players out due to injury for Portland, and to make matters worse both Robert Covington and Dennis Smith Jr. are questionable to play. This is also a well-rested Houston team that Portland will be facing. Tonight is just the second game in seven nights for the Rockets who have had two nights off since their last contest against San Antonio and three nights off prior to that one.  It leaves plenty of time for Houston, which has covered four of five before the loss to the Spurs on Tuesday, to prepare for Portland. The Rockets consistently attack the interior of opposing defenses and take the 11th-most catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts in the league as result of that dribble penetration and that could be a problem for the Trail Blazers which lack talented on-ball defenders. Overall, this just seems like a much more favorable situation for the home team which already does things well that would bother the road team on any given night. Give me the points here.

Play: Rockets (+ 2)

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies (-4, 224.5)

It’s been a pretty poor run for Utah of late, and if Donovan Mitchell does not play tonight it could get even worse. Mitchell has missed the last five games with a concussion and is questionable to play tonight. Rudy Gobert will not play tonight either due to a calf strain, and the team has already confirmed his absence for the foreseeable future. The impact of Gobert’s absence is obvious. Without him on the floor this season the Jazz give up 115.6 points per 100 possessions and own a -0.4 net rating. Without Mitchell and Gobert that net rating drops to -1.2 due to a less efficient offense that scores 112.8 points per 100 possessions. If Mitchell does not go tonight then Memphis is in great position here. Without Gobert on the floor Utah is particularly soft on the interior. Opponents take 22.5% of their attempts from 4-to-14 feet and shoot 45.4% from that area of the floor and 67.4% at the rim. Memphis lives in the short mid-range area of the floor. As a team they lead the league in frequency of attempts from 4-to-14 feet and shoot 42.7% on those attempts which is the 10th-highest shooting percentage. Even with Gobert the Grizzlies have a massive advantage in transition, where they lead the league in overall frequency (19.1%) and fourth in points added per 100 possessions on offense (+ 3.6). The betting market has been toggling back-and-forth between 3.5 and 4 at most shops and Mitchell’s status will determine where this number closes. Regardless, this seems like it could be a high-scoring affair and the market has responded as such driving this total up to 226 at most shops.

Indiana Pacers @ Oklahoma City Thunder (-2, 216.5)

Since Indiana has shifted to this new lineup due to injury the results have been similar almost every time out: efficient offense and poor defense. Four of the last six games have gone over the total for the Pacers and over that span the team has the sixth-best offensive rating in non-garbage time (117.1) and the second-worst defensive rating (122.8). With Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon sidelined due to injury this defense has almost no way to limit dribble penetration. They allow opponents to take 36.5% of their attempts at the rim and shoot 68.2% on those attempts. Every team has taken advantage, and one would think that a team like Oklahoma City which leads the league in drives to the basket and takes 32.4% of their attempts at the rim would be able to take advantage as well. On the other end, the personnel available to Rick Carlisle are wildly efficient from deep and at the rim. Without Brogdon or Turner the Pacers still manage to shoot 66.6% within four feet and 37.3% from the perimeter while averaging 114.1 points per 100 possessions. It’s a recipe for high-scoring affairs and I believe that is no different tonight. This total opened 216.5 but there are still plenty of shops sitting at 217.5 which is a number still worth playing Over.

Play: OVER 217.5

Chicago Bulls (-2, 228.5) @ San Antonio Spurs

Without Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball the Bulls’ level of defensive play will be the focus of almost every game they play, and tonight is no different. Over the course of their last nine games they’ve allowed 120.1 points per 100 possessions and their -12.1 net rating is last over that stretch. Those numbers are inflated by two blowout losses, but the numbers without Caruso on the floor don’t lie. With that in mind it is not shocking to see the market move toward the Over and the underdog here. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine with Nikola Vucevic being on the floor together raises the floor for this team on offense immensely. San Antonio is in a solid situation as well, playing at home for the ninth time in 10 games, but the results have not been consistent for the Spurs. They are 3-9 SU/4-8 ATS in the last 12 games and their defense has given up 114.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes. It would make sense that the betting market is somewhat down on Chicago, but with this number quickly approaching Spurs -1 it seems like a slight overreaction to the recent bad news for the Bulls. 

New York Knicks @ Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5, 213)

Last time Milwaukee played I mentioned in this column that the play has been inconsistent and troublesome for the Bucks and that manifested itself in a loss to Cleveland. The Cavaliers ran them off the floor, averaging 1.209 points per possession in non-garbage time minutes by hitting 18-of-41 3-point attempts while forcing a turnover on 19.6% of Milwaukee’s possessions. It dropped the Bucks to 3-9 ATS in the last nine games despite being fully healthy and intact. It would make sense that taking on a lesser opponent in New York would be a “get right” spot for the Bucks, but can bettors trust that the team fully capable of winning and covering this game will show up? There is an angle to watch here. Tom Thibodeau seems set on pounding his head into the wall with this starting lineup of Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. It is the lineup that has the sixth-most possessions played together, but has been outscored by 12.1 points every 100 possessions. As a result, the Knicks are 25th in first quarter net rating, having been outscored by 6.9 points per 100 possessions. Shouldn’t Milwaukee be able to take advantage of such a poor unit and get off to a solid start in this contest? If the Knicks roll out the usual suspects here it would make Milwaukee -2.5 in the first quarter a wager to add to the card.

Best Bets Summary

Heat (-6.5)

Rockets (+ 2)

Pacers/Thunder OV (217.5)

Season Record: 55-45-1

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