NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 3/18


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 18th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Games

Memphis Grizzlies (-3, 237.5) at Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta comes into this contest 0-7 ATS in its last seven games, and 1-8 ATS in its last nine. During this seven-game slide the Hawks have been outscored by 0.5 points per 100 possessions despite having an offensive rating of 118.0 because their defense has been so poor. So why bet them tonight? Because the market has over-adjusted. Atlanta closed as the favorite in six of those seven games, laying on average a whopping 7.75 points per game! In the one game they closed as an underdog, at Milwaukee, they closed + 4.5 which indicated just a 2.5-point difference between them and the Bucks on a neutral. It seems that the market has now swung extremely far in the other direction, opening Memphis -3 and pushing it to -6 at most shops, but there are injuries to monitor. Trae Young and Danilo Gallinari are questionable to play, and with a nice 4.5-game lead over Washington who is 11th in the Eastern Conference it would not be shocking if Nate McMillan gave Young a night off. If he does play, the Hawks will make my card tonight.

Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers (-4, 222)

Philadelphia grabbed a big win over Cleveland last time out but failed to cover the closing number, dropping it to 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games. Over the course of these seven contests the 76ers have a -3.2 net rating because their defense has allowed 116.2 points per 100 possessions. To give you context on how bad that rating is, the Houston Rockets are last in defensive efficiency this season at 116.5 points per 100 possessions allowed, and that is 1.5 points worse than the 29th ranked team (Portland). Joel Embiid is also questionable to play once again, which has thrown this line into chaos. Embiid was questionable last time out and ended up playing so bettors could see that transpire once more tonight. If Embiid cannot play, then the 76ers are in real trouble. When James Harden is on the floor without Embiid the team is outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions because of a defense that allows 1.244 per possession! The most used lineup in this situation has a -31.8 net rating. There should already be a hesitancy to back this team with Embiid on the floor, but if he cannot go tonight, they become untouchable.

Denver Nuggets (-1, 220.5) at Cleveland Cavaliers

Since losing Jarrett Allen to a finger injury the Cavaliers are 21st in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (118.6) and have been outscored by 3.8 points per 100 possessions. They are 2-3 SU/1-3-1 ATS in those five games as a result, and now must face one of the two best centers in the league for a second consecutive game. Nikola Jokic will match up with rookie Evan Mobley, who has started at center each game since Allen’s absence, and the Nuggets should have a massive edge in that battle. Last time out, Joel Embiid scored 35 points and Mobley committed three shooting fouls on Embiid in the loss. He could have a similar issue tonight against Jokic. Given the injury situation Denver deserves to be favored here, but by how much? The opener of -1 seemed fair but the market pushed this to -3 at every shop this morning. Cleveland has still shown a competitive nature in the games without Allen, but double-digit losses to Miami and Chicago likely leave a bad taste in bettors’ mouths. Do not forget either, that this and every game for the Cavaliers carry a massive weight. Their slide down the standings, coupled with the Toronto Raptors’ success, has them percentage points out of the play-in tournament right now. They need every game they can get.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz (-6, 218)

Utah snapped its 1-7 ATS slide with a win and cover over Chicago on Wednesday, and tonight they get another struggling defense to pick on. Los Angeles has failed to cover its last two games, and in its last eight games the team has allowed a subpar 115.8 points per 100 possessions. It’s a level of defensive play that is unfamiliar for the Clippers, but they could get back on track tonight against the Jazz who will not have Donovan Mitchell on the floor. Utah is much more mortal without Mitchell, outscoring opponents by 3.9 points every 100 possessions and posting a 112.9 offensive rating in those possessions. Factor in the absence of Bojan Bogdanovic and those bench minutes without Mike Conley on the floor will be an adventure for the Jazz. In the possessions without Bogdanovic, Conley or Mitchell on the floor the offense can muster only 1.096 points per 100 possessions! It would not be the worst strategy in the world to see what the open of this game looks like and then take a wager on Los Angeles in-game on a bigger number once the bench hits the floor. 

Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns (-7, 230)

What is there to say about the Chicago Bulls during this massive slump that has not already been said? Chicago dropped its game with Utah on Wednesday to fall to 2-7 SU/1-8 ATS in its last nine games. Once again, the offense failed to show up, averaging just 1.116 points per possession in a 125-110 loss. Now they have to wrap up this brief west coast swing in Phoenix, where the Suns are riding a 3-0 SU and ATS over which they have outscored opponents by 22.4 points per 100 possessions. Since Devin Booker made his return from COVID protocol Phoenix is 4-1 SU and ATS as well with a + 16.2 net rating, so any way you slice it this is a brutal spot for Chicago. The betting market has shown some initial support for the Bulls here, driving this number down to -6 at most shops, but bettors did the same thing in Utah the other night. Until we see a sign of life from Chicago’s offense I cannot touch them, especially against a team that has allowed just 107.9 points per 100 possessions to its last five opponents.

Best Bets Summary


Season Record: 73-60-2

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