NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 3/4

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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 Thursday, March 3rd

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Indiana Pacers (-3.5, 230.5) at *Detroit Pistons

Don’t look now, but the young guns have found their stride. With the win against Toronto last night Detroit improved to 4-2 SU/6-0 ATS in its last six contests. The Pistons are playing inspired basketball against a manageable schedule, and while they have been outscored by 1.4 points every 100 possessions during this run, you can cover numbers when catching an average of 8.75 points per contest. On the other end we get Indiana, a team that should not be a road favorite against anyone at this point. The Pacers are 29th in defensive efficiency (118.0) over their last 21 games, and in nine opportunities as a road favorite this season they are 2-7 SU and ATS. Indiana was just in Orlando and needed overtime to overcome the Magic as a favorite, and today they are laying a point more? In the current form the Pistons are more than a point better than that Magic team, so I’ll grab three with the young team in good form at home tonight.

Play: Pistons (+ 3)

Utah Jazz (-3.5, 228.5) at New Orleans Pelicans

This version of New Orleans is very impressive offensively. With CJ McCollum running the point for this new starting five the Pelicans are averaging 130.2 points per 100 possessions, grabbing 40.0% of their missed shot attempts and making 25.2 free throws every 100 shot attempts. New Orleans is 3-0 SU and ATS with this group as a result, and should be very live in situations that they are catching points in. Utah has been rolling as well, coming into this contest 9-1 SU/6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games. The Jazz have outscored their opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions during this run, and now have the respect of the betting market once again. However, that same market might not have caught on to the changes New Orleans has made. They closed + 6.5 at Phoenix in the first game back from the break, were bet against in the win over Los Angeles and were laying only 6.5 in a game they won by 30 against Sacramento. The Pelicans are in a bet on form right now, and catching points at home is a good enough spot to continue this ride.

Play: Pelicans (+ 4.5)

Best Games

Milwaukee Bucks (-3.5, 238) at Chicago Bulls

Milwaukee might have stormed back against Miami the other night for a victory, but the team is only 14-12 SU/10-16 ATS since the beginning of January with a + 3.4 net rating in non-garbage time minutes. The market continues to price the Bucks like one of the best teams in the league that will give consistent effort on a night-to-night basis, but their record over the last 26 games tells bettors otherwise. They should have a massive matchup advantage here tonight against Chicago, but can you count on them to exploit it? Chicago does not have a single player to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo on their roster right now. DeMar DeRozan, who has spent a vast majority of his minutes at power forward this season, cannot defend him and Nikola Vucevic is too slow and plodding to come out to the perimeter or defend him in transition. Antetokounmpo should have a massive game tonight and the Bucks should be able to score at will against a Chicago team that is 21st in defensive efficiency (112.7) and 26th in transition defensive efficiency (129.3).The betting has responded in laying the number with Milwaukee, which I agree with in spirit, but until the Bucks put forth real effort it’s hard to lay numbers on the road with this team. 

Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers (-7, 217)

Through three games of the James Harden era the Philadelphia 76ers are 3-0 SU and ATS with a + 19.0 net rating in non-garbage time minutes and their offense is averaging 124.9 points per 100 possessions. However, two games against the Knickerbockers will do that for a team. Tonight, they get their stiffest test in a Cleveland team that is sliding down the standings and desperate for a win. The Cavaliers are 1-5 SU/0-6 ATS in their last six games, but Darius Garland has missed three of those contests with a reoccurring back injury. He’s expected to be on the floor tonight, so the offense for Cleveland should be much better. The real matchup is up front, where Joel Embiid gets to face Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley once again. When these two met on the eve of the Super Bowl it was the 76ers who came out on top with Embiid getting to the free throw line 15 times. In that game Embiid was one of three 76ers in double-digits, but bettors can expect a much more balanced offensive effort with Harden on the floor. Remember to keep an eye on Tyrese Maxey’s point total prop here. He’s gone over his total in all three games with Harden on the floor, and he is clearly Philadelphia’s third scorer right now.

The Others

*Atlanta Hawks (-3, 221.5) at Washington Wizards

It’s the second leg of a back-to-back for Atlanta which is coming off a massive win at Chicago, but there is no time to rest. The Hawks only hold a 1.5 game lead over this Wizards team for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. This game is massive in the race for a seat at the table, so I would expect no rest days from the Hawks tonight. Washington has covered only four time since Jan. 19 and they have been outscored by 7.4 points every 100 possessions in non-garbage time. The betting market is on the Hawks here, driving this up to -4.5 at most shops, and I cannot say I disagree with the move.

Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (-8, 220.5)

Toronto is in a 3-5 SU/2-6 ATS slump right now and health is a big reason why. OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet did not play once again last night, and it would be hard to see them being active on the second leg of a back-to-back. Some might believe that the lowly Orlando Magic would be a team for the Raptors to get right against, but the Magic have been much better away from home with a 19-15 ATS record. Until the Raptors are fully healthy it is hard to make a case for laying such a number with them, even against Orlando.

New York Knicks at Phoenix Suns (-6.5, 224.5)

Devin Booker is now sidelined in the COVID protocol, but Cameron Payne returned against Portland the other night and this offense came to life with 1.243 points per possession in a blowout victory. With Payne running the point this season the Suns are + 6.4 and in good hands. New York is 1-10 SU and ATS in its last 11 games and has been floundering on both ends of the floor, getting outscored by 9.4 points every 100 possessions. Against a short-handed team like the Suns it is plausible the Knicks are live to stay within a big number, but do you really want to be sweating out a ticket on New York?

Best Bets Summary

Pistons (+ 3)

Pelicans (+ 4.5)

Season Record: 67-57-1

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