NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 3/11

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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, March 11th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics (-14, 215.5)

What’s the cliché about broken things? That’s pretty much the thinking with the Detroit Pistons at this point right now. The youngsters from the Motor City tightened up in the fourth quarter against Chicago on Wednesday night, allowing DeMar DeRozan to score 16 of his 36 points and letting a win get away. However, with the number closing 6.5 the Pistons covered their ninth consecutive game, and tonight they’re catching a massive number against a team that they are 3-0 ATS against this season. Boston has maintained its winning ways and enters this contest 17-3 SU/13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games, outscoring opponents by 16.1 points per 100 possessions. Jayson Tatum has also been otherworldly, dropping 98 points in his last two games while averaging 36.0 points in the month of March. Given the recent performance of Boston it is understandable to hang a big number here, but this is extremely strong. The market has hung progressively higher numbers in this matchup, but the Pistons have not only covered but they’ve also been extremely competitive in each. The Pistons have been the play regularly in this column during this run and it continues to work, so why change now?

Play: Pistons (+ 14) 

Los Angeles Clippers at Atlanta Hawks (-6, 228.5)

Why the betting market respects this Hawks team so much I frankly do not understand. On Wednesday they closed just + 4.5 in Milwaukee, indicating a 2.5 point difference on a neutral, and lost 124-115 never leading after a 7-4 lead in the first quarter. Atlanta is now 3-4 SU/2-5 ATS in its last seven games with a defense giving up 115.7 points per 100 possessions, but here they are laying a number that would have them favored on the road in Los Angeles. The Clippers bounced back from consecutive blowouts to win and cover against Washington on Wednesday so they come in with a much better recent form, but this play is all about the Hawks. Atlanta is not the type of team to be laying numbers like this against similarly rated opponents. The betting market has had an odd affinity for the Hawks all season long and its why they’re one of the worst cover teams in the league at 27-37-1 (42.2%).

Play: Clippers (+ 6)

Best Games

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat (-5.5, 210)

Last time we saw Miami it was drubbed in the second half of their contest with Phoenix without Jimmy Butler, and Butler is questionable yet again tonight. Usually a questionable designation for a star like Butler will deter the betting market, but that is not the case tonight with this line now up to -6.5 at most shops. Cleveland is dealing with countless injuries as well, and this could be the game in which it catches up with the team. Caris LeVert remains out with a foot injury and Jarrett Allen was lost over the weekend to a finger injury. The Cavaliers got by the Pacers with a clutch performance from Darius Garland on Tuesday but being a one-man show against a defense like Miami is a different beast. Even without Butler on the floor they only allow 108.6 points per 100 possessions, and when the Heat have Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo together they are + 11.8 and average 120.9 points per 100 possessions on offense. It’s not a game I will be involved in, but it is easy to see why the market is on the home team despite the potential absence of Butler.

Toronto Raptors at Phoenix Suns (-5.5, 221)

Things are going poorly for Toronto and it ties directly to the injuries the team has been dealing with. OG Anunoby has been out since Feb. 16 with a finger injury, and Fred VanVleet returned from a five-game absence on Wednesday to lead the Raptors to a rare win and improve their record to 4-7 SU/3-8 ATS over the last 11 contests. The problem for Toronto has been its offense, which has averaged just 107.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes over this span. VanVleet being back in the lineup will help improve those numbers, but can he make a difference here against Phoenix? The Suns got Devin Booker back from COVID protocol on Wednesday and he led them to a win over Miami that snapped an 0-3 ATS slide. This is now back-to-back elite defensive performances from Phoenix, but it came against the Heat without Jimmy Butler and Orlando. Cam Johnson is out again tonight which is a loss considering how well he’s played lately, averaging 27.0 points on 73.9% shooting from deep over the last three games. 

New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies (-9.5, 230.5)

It could be the slog of a long regular season getting to the young Grizzlies, but they are seemingly going through the motions right now. Memphis is 4-4 SU and ATS in its last four games with losses to Portland and Houston mixed in among those results. The Grizzlies are certainly capable of covering a number like this, but the Knicks come in red-hot on a 3-1 SU/4-0 ATS run that would make me question backing the favorite here. However, it is Memphis that has the distinct matchup advantages here. New York has struggled mightily defending fast-paced teams and that is who their opponent is tonight. The Knicks rank 25th in opponent points added per 100 possessions through transition offense (+ 3.2) and 28th in transition defensive efficiency (130.5), and the Grizzlies rank first and eighth in those categories respectively. Memphis has the respect of the betting market though, and this number is up to -10 at some shops. 

Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5, 228)

Is there a word for a worse degree of desperation? Hopeless? Anguished? Forlorn? Whatever the word is, that is what the Los Angeles Lakers are. After a 139-130 overtime loss to Houston on Wednesday the Lakers fell to 1-6 SU/2-5 ATS in the seven games since the All-Star break with the third-worst net rating (-8.2) in the league over that stretch. There’s not much that makes the Lakers a tempting wager at this point, and with LeBron James’ consistent presence on the injury report early bettors could always get the rug pulled out from under them. Washington has not been in fantastic form themselves, but they’ve shown a bit more fight recently with consecutive covers against Atlanta and Indiana before falling to the Clippers on Wednesday night. The line is heading in the underdog’s direction and there’s no real argument I can make against it at this point.

Best Bets Summary

Pistons (+ 14)

Clippers (+ 6)

Season Record: 71-58-1

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