NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 4/1

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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, April 1st

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

New Orleans Pelicans at *Los Angeles Lakers (-1.5, 233.5)

After the betting market opened in favor of Los Angeles it is New Orleans now that lays 1.5 on the road as of this morning. Anthony Davis could return to play, but how impactful can he be given that he has not played since Feb. 16? As far as health goes, the Pelicans are the healthiest they have been since the All-Star break. Their improved starting lineup is whole again and thriving, outscoring opponents by 11.3 points per 100 possessions with a 120.5 offensive rating. Rebounding is going to be the biggest factor in deciding the victor tonight. This Pelicans team is an incredible offensive rebounding unit, grabbing 37.5% of its misses when playing its starting lineup and in two games against the Lakers they have dominated the glass with a 30.6% offensive rebounding rate and aa 78.9% overall rebounding rate. Los Angeles has been a subpar rebounding team all season, coming into this game 21st in defensive rebounding (71.6%) and 24th in overall rebounding (48.8%). Davis should help somewhat, but he’s never been a dominant rebounder and his presence will only go so far. This line might be flipped already, but this number is still not in line with what I projected it to be, which is just over 2.5 points. New Orleans has too many matchup advantages to pass up, so I will be backing the road favorite here tonight.

Play: Pelicans (-1.5)

Best Games

Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (-4, 233.5)

What was setup to be a massive contest has lost some weight due to a recent slump from Minnesota, but a win for the Timberwolves will take a chunk out of the Nuggets’ three-game lead in the race for the sixth seed. Minnesota owns a 2-1 lead in the regular season series, but two of the games came in December or earlier. In their most recent meeting the Timberwolves ran the Nuggets off the floor, winning 130-115 as a 1.5-point favorite at home. Denver has had trouble defending Minnesota this season, giving up 115.8 points per 100 possessions in the three games while posting a -10.1 net rating, and considering the recent defensive play of the Nuggets they might have the same issues tonight. Denver allowed 1.234 points per possession in the win over Indiana on Wednesday, and over the course of their last seven games they have a 120.9 defensive rating. That poor play also extends through the month of March, in which the Nuggets ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency (116.9). Minnesota has the matchup advantages here as well. They rank fifth in transition frequency and face a Nuggets team that is 18th in transition defensive efficiency. The Timberwolves thrive on forcing turnovers and using those to run, and Denver comes in 26th in turnover rate (14.8%) and 24th in defensive efficiency in transition off steals (145.4). It’s no surprise the market has moved toward the underdog here, but I would think 2.5 is the floor for this number.

The Others

*Los Angeles Clippers at *Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5, 232.5)

Two teams on the second leg of back-to-backs, both coming off overtime contests on the road. It’s an eerily similar situation for both teams and absences for both squads could greatly affect the line here.  Paul George just played a combined 62 in his first two games back from injury and could see a night off as the Clippers have locked themselves into a play-in berth and hold a 3.5-game lead over the Pelicans for the eighth seed. Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum are also questionable at best for Los Angeles tonight. Milwaukee could be motivated to grab this game but given the two dramatic wins over Philadelphia and Brooklyn this week, and the fact that they played an extra period, we could see some guys take a night off. Specifically, Jrue Holiday, who tweaked his ankle late in the win over the Nets. It makes this game nearly impossible to handicap this early in the day. 

Toronto Raptors (-9.5, 218.5) at Orlando Magic

Toronto has really turned it on late, and it enters this contest 10-2 SU/9-3 ATS in their last 12 games. Their power rating has steadily improved, and for good reason, as better health has led to much better play. Over the course of those 12 games the Raptors have a + 9.2 net rating and their offense has put up 118.0 points per 100 possessions. They deserve to be strong road favorites in Orlando, which could be without Wendell Carter, the Magic’s best defender and rebounder. The market has pushed this to 10.5 at a few shops which is warranted given the questionable status of Carter.

Dallas Mavericks (-8.5, 220.5) at Washington Wizards

Dallas has vaulted itself into the third seed of the Western Conference standings, and they can take another step toward clinching that spot with a win tonight. The Mavericks are now 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS in their last six games and 12-4 SU in March, but just 8-8 ATS in those 16 games. Their defense has slipped this month, allowing 114.0 points per 100 possessions, and thus only allowing them to outscore the opposition by 1.3 points per 100 possessions. The poor ATS record this month is a clear indication of an inflated power rating and an 8.5-point spread on the road will be hard to cover if their defense is going to play as it has recently.

Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics (-14.5, 221.5)

What would this number be if Robert Williams was playing? The Celtics are clearly power rated to the moon and the market has obliged in pushing this number even higher from the opening line. In their first true game without Williams on the floor Boston was just as dominant on defense, limiting Miami to 1.02 points per possession. Where they struggled was on offense, putting up just 0.96 points per possession, but most of that can be attested to a poor 11-of-37 shooting night. The Celtics could surely right the ship offensively tonight against one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but bettors are getting no discounts here. 

Sacramento Kings (-2, 232) at Houston Rockets

These two met on Wednesday night and Sacramento escaped with a 121-118 win, hitting their free throws to stave off the short-handed Rockets. Now, they meet once again, but the market has shifted slightly on this number. The Kings closed -3 on Wednesday and could not cover that number, and today we see -1.5 with the potential of Alperen Sengun returning to action for Houston. If the rookie can go for the Rockets I would expect that this line closes PK or somewhere close to that number. Sacramento has been playing good basketball though, posting a 10-5-1 ATS record over its last 16 games.

Phoenix Suns (-2.5, 228.5) at Memphis Grizzlies

This was obviously setting up to be a fantastic contest, but Steven Adams, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Tyus Jones and Ja Morant are not expected to play. Thus, Phoenix is now up to -7 at almost every shop. Memphis has done well without Morant this season, but playing without their entire starting five and their primary backup point guard is another task. Keep in mind, both teams are locked into their playoff positioning right now, so even the Suns could call off the dogs late to give their guys some rest.

*Detroit Pistons (-4, 220) at Oklahoma City Thunder

The Pistons are 17-2-1 ATS in their last 20 games played. It’s just that simple, right? Over the course of those 20 games Detroit has a -0.2 net rating which plays well when closing as an underdog. However, we have seen the role reversal of underdog to favorite has not gone well for the Pistons. They closed -4 at home against the Wizards and lost outright, and they dropped a game at home against the Trail Blazers as 10-pint favorites. In all, they are 2-4 SU and ATS as a favorite this season and that could come into play again today as the market has inflated this number across the board.

Best Bets Summary

Pelicans (-1.5)

Season Record: 79-63-2

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