NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 3/25

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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 26th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Philadelphia 76ers (-5.5, 222) at Los Angeles Clippers

After failing to cover a single number against the LeBron James-less Lakers on Wednesday the 76ers fell to 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games with both James Harden and Joel Embiid. The effort from Philadelphia in that win over Los Angeles, especially in the fourth quarter, was sloppy and lackadaisical and representative of all the problems this team has. They are still in L.A. tonight, ready to face a struggling Clippers team that is 0-4 SU and ATS in its last four contests. The Clippers’ usually sound defense has been nonexistent during this losing streak, allowing 122.7 points per 100 possessions. However, Los Angeles does matchup somewhat well with the 76ers. They have Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein at center, the latter of which is a fantastic rim defender, and multiple defensive wings to throw at James Harden. Robert Covington is questionable to play, but even without him Los Angeles has plenty to throw at this struggling public favorite. The line is floating around 5.5 but the 76ers have not shown much recently to make me believe they should be laying that number on the road.

Play: Clippers (+ 5.5) 

Best Games

Utah Jazz (-3.5, 233) at Charlotte Hornets

The five-game road trip has hit a bit of a speed bump for Utah which enters this game with Charlotte 0-2 SU and ATS in its last two games. A two-game sample size is nothing to write home about, but consecutive losses to Eastern Conference contenders which averaged 1.239 and 1.366 points per possession is something worth acknowledging. Especially when you consider their opponent tonight, Charlotte, has averaged 120.6 points per 100 possessions since the All-Star break and is 7-3 SU/6-4 ATS in March. However, there are some key differences between the teams that beat up Utah in the previous two games – Brooklyn and Boston – and the team they face tonight. Both of those teams have elite mid-range scorers who can take advantage of what the Jazz give them with their defensive scheme. In the two losses the Jazz allowed those two teams to shoot a combined 29-of-55 (52.7%) on all mid-range attempts. The Hornets are not a particularly skilled mid-range team. They take only 23.6% of their attempts from that area of the floor and shoot 39.4% as a team. Charlotte’s offensive philosophy of attacking the basket and running in transition, while analytically sound, could work against them here tonight. As could their defense, which is still well below average – 115.1 points allowed per 100 possessions – during this run since the break. 

Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks (-2, 221)

Golden State won its game in Miami the other night without either Draymond Green or Klay Thompson, and both are back tonight to face a spiraling Atlanta team. The Hawks have been wonderfully average lately, posting a 7-6 SU/3-10 ATS record since the beginning of March. Atlanta’s effort on the defensive end of the floor continues to be subpar, allowing opponents to average 116.8 points per 100 possessions during this 10-game slump. Those poor defensive numbers have caused them to be outscored by 1.0 point per 100 possessions despite having the 10th-best offensive rating (115.9) over that span. Simply put, the Hawks are not worth backing at the current market rating, but that does not mean I’ll be running to back the Warriors. Golden State has been an odd team since losing Stephen Curry to injury. They dropped the first two games to San Antonio and Orlando without him, averaging 1.037 points per possession. On Wednesday they broke out for 1.297 points per possession against the Heat, cooking Miami at the rim for 16-of-21 shooting. Which team shows up tonight? It’s likely a better offensive effort given the opponent, but this Warriors team struggled in Orlando on offense which gives me pause in backing them here tonight.  

Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5, 227.5)

Minnesota’s winning streak came to an end two games ago, but their cover run ended just last time out against Phoenix. Still, this is a team that is 10-3 SU/11-2 ATS in its last 13 games and 19-6 ATS in its last 25 contests. They covered when they faced Dallas just four nights ago on the road, and tonight they look for revenge in a wildly important game. The Timberwolves sit a full game behind the Nuggets for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Their hopes of catching this Mavericks team that is 3.5 games ahead with only eight games left is very unlikely, but they need every win they can muster to avoid the play-in. When these two met last time it was Minnesota’s rim defense that let them down. Dallas torched them along the perimeter with dribble-penetration, eventually finishing 18-of-20 within four feet of the basket. The Timberwolves also failed to force turnovers at its usual rate which, in combination with a poor showing within four feet, led to its downfall. If they are to cover at home tonight they will have to be better in both areas of the floor. The betting market has jumped on Minnesota here, pushing the line to -3 despite the questionable status of Karl-Anthony Towns. That number would indicate that the Timberwolves are the better team by a point which is not something I am entirely on board with. 

New York Knicks at Miami Heat (-5.5, 215.5)

What comes of the sideline dust-up between Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem and Erik Spoelstra? Miami is 3-4 SU/1-6 ATS in its last seven games, and its usually reliable defense has allowed 112.2 points per 100 possessions over that stretch. If they are going to right the ship tonight, they might have to do it with a shorthanded roster. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, P.J. Tucker, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin are all questionable to play tonight with a variety of injuries. That alone makes this game untouchable this early in the day. New York has been playing some better basketball recently as well. The Knicks blew out the Hornets last time out and are 6-5 SU/8-3 ATS in their last 11 games. However, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson are both questionable to play tonight as well. This game is an intriguing one given the recent slide and tumult surrounding Miami, but the personnel questions make this an easy contest to scratch off the consideration card.

The Others

Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons (-2.5, 218)

This seems like a simple handicap on its surface and the betting market is following suit. Detroit is 14-2 ATS in its last 16 games. Washington is 1-8 SU/2-7 ATS in its last nine games. Which team would you rather back at this point? The line is up to 3.5 right now which would indicate the Pistons are 1.5 points better on a neutral than the Wizards and that lines up with how I have these two rated. 

Houston Rockets (-3.5, 235.5) at Portland Trail Blazers

Look, the Trail Blazers are the worst team in the league since the break, posting a -22.2 net rating and allowing 124.3 points per 100 possessions on defense. Josh Hart and Justise Winslow are still out with injury as well. But are we really laying it with Houston on the road? The Rockets are really 5.5 points better on a neutral than the Trail Blazers? This is just a bridge too far for me.

Best Bets Summary

Clippers (+ 5.5)

Season Record: 75-62-2

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