NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Monday 1/10

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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 Monday, January 10th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Utah Jazz (-11, 224) @ Detroit Pistons

Utah has four players in COVID protocol that will miss this game, and among them is Rudy Gobert whose absence has been felt over the last three games. The Jazz are 1-2 SU and ATS without Gobert with those three opponents averaging 119.5 points per 100 possessions while shooting 73.1% at the rim and 30.0% on non-corner 3-pointers. It should be assumed that this defense will struggle once more without Gobert on the floor, but can Detroit take advantage? The Pistons offense is abysmal, putting up 100.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes on the season, and one of their most efficient scorers in Frank Jackson will miss this game. On the surface it seems like the side might be Detroit to stay inside a big number against a short-handed favorite, but the betting market has moved toward the Jazz which is not surprising. Utah is still averaging 113.9 points per 100 possessions without Gobert, and their backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. This is likely why we’ve seen this total get bumped up to 224.5 at most shops. If you believe the Pistons are going to be competitive here then following the market on the total might be the better route to take.

Milwaukee Bucks (-2, 235) @ Charlotte Hornets

These two have split the regular season series, but Charlotte is 2-0 ATS in those meetings thanks to a pair of dominant offensive showings. In two games the Hornets put up 114.4 points per 100 possessions and shot 37.4% on an average of 49.5 3-point attempts per game. On the surface, it might be surprising that Charlotte has been so successful against Milwaukee, but it makes sense when you look at the matchup. The Bucks rank 29th in opponent frequency of 3-point attempts (43.0%) and 17th in defensive efficiency in transition off live rebounds (117.1). The Hornets are the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league (38.3%) and they are ninth in transition frequency off of live rebounds (31.6%). In other words, some of Milwaukee’s biggest weaknesses are Charlotte’s biggest strengths. However, that works the other way too. The Hornets are a poor defensive team in multiple categories and they come into tonight 25th in defensive efficiency (113.6) and 23rd in both frequency of opponent rim attempts (34.2%) and opponent 3-point shooting (36.3%). It’s why Charlotte, despite a 114.4 offensive rating against Milwaukee, only has a + 2.3 net rating in the series. The Hornets have no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has scored 83 points on 26-of-44 shooting from the floor in the two contests, and that is not going to change tonight. What has changed is the market’s perception of this matchup. When these two teams met on Dec. 1 the Bucks closed -9 albeit with Jrue Holiday in the lineup. Holiday did not play two nights ago and he is unavailable tonight, but this number opened -1 today. That is a massive change in power rating, which is why we’ve seen the line get pushed to -2 at most shops.

Play: Bucks (-2)

*San Antonio Spurs @ New York Knicks (-6.5, 213)

San Antonio pushed Brooklyn to overtime on Sunday for its second cover in three contests. The Spurs are now 14-8 ATS in their last 22 games, and they have outscored their opponents by 2.5 points per 100 possessions. COVID has hit this roster though, and tonight the team will likely still be without Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott. Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker did a good enough job on Sunday to compete with the Nets, but Bryn Forbes also hit 3-of-5 3-point attempts and scored 18 points. Is San Antonio going to be able find the offense from role players outside of Murray and Walker again? New York was blown off the floor in its rematch with Boston on Saturday as its offense struggled yet again. The Knicks are now 18th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (109.8) and they have averaged 103.1 points per 100 possessions over the last eight games. Both Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker are questionable to play tonight, and should Walker make his return it could mean a big day for Murray. With Walker on the floor New York is giving up 113.5 points per 100 possessions and his play on the defensive end is below average. The line as moved slightly toward San Antonio and that is not surprising given the way the Spurs have been playing. Should Fournier and Walker be activated I would expect the market to move toward the Knickerbockers, but no more than a point at most.

Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics (-5.5, 214.5)

Boston exacted its revenge against New York on Saturday when it beat the Knicks 99-75 at home. The victory snapped a two-game slide for the Celtics, but this team is still 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. Offense has been the problem for Boston during this slump and for the season. It is averaging 108.5 points per 100 possessions on the season and 109.2 during this seven-game slump. Their offensive is also 25th in efficiency in the fourth quarter (104.2) and the team has been outscored by 7.8 points per 100 possessions in the final frame this season. Those figures are why I have pause laying a number like this. Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its last four games and the team could be getting some help today. Malcolm Brogdon and Torrey Craig are questionable to play, and Brogdon’s return could be massive for a team that has been starting rookies Keifer Sykes and Duane Washington Jr. lately. The result has not been great on defense for the Pacers, as they have allowed 117.9 point per 100 possessions despite the 4-1 ATS run the team is currently on. Brogdon’s presence on the floor improves Indiana’s defensive rating by 5.7 points every 100 possessions, and the news of his potential return is likely why bettors have seen this number drop to 212.5 at most shops.

Philadelphia 76ers (-10.5, 226.5) @ *Houston Rockets

Philadelphia maintained its winning streak on Friday when it defeated San Antonio to improve to 7-1 SU/6-2 ATS in its last eight game. The 76ers have been dominant during this run, outscoring opponent by 11.6 points per 100 possessions while ranking third in offense (117.7) and sixth in defense (106.0). Among those teams Philadelphia steam-rolled was Houston, but both Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. were serving a suspension in that contest and they should be active here after playing last night. Having said that, it did not make much difference for the Rockets against the Timberwolves, as they were cooked for 1.309 points per possession in non-garbage time minutes on Sunday. There really is not an overwhelming case to be made for the underdog here. Houston lacks a true defensive piece to put on Joel Embiid, and the Rockets’ halfcourt defense, one of the worst in the NBA, is now charged with stopping the ninth best halfcourt unit. Trend bettors might gravitate to the 76ers’ 2-3 SU/1-4 ATS record when it plays on two days of rest, but that is a short sample size with a ton of noise. This figures to be the lowest handled game of the night, so its no surprise to see this number still sitting on the opening figures both side and total.

*Cleveland Cavaliers (-4.5, 218.5) @ *Sacramento Kings

Cleveland was in a terrible spot last night and it showed in the result. The Cavaliers walked into a buzzsaw, playing the Warriors at home on the Klay Thompson made his return to play after a nearly three-year absence. Still, Cleveland performed admirably on defense by limiting Golden State to 1.043 points per possession and 0.747 points per play in halfcourt situations. They should be able to roll that defensive performance over to tonight when they face a Sacramento team that is 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games. The Kings have put up just 106.1 points per 100 possessions during this slide, and as a team that operates mostly inside the arc this is a troublesome matchup. The Cavaliers are among the best interior defenses in the NBA as long as Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are on the floor, and their halfcourt defense is second-best in the league at 88.6 points per 100 plays allowed. That should matchup well against the Kings’ 26th-ranked halfcourt offensive rating (89.6). Despite the loss of Ricky Rubio and a 1-6 ATS record over the last seven games the Cavaliers have maintained respect from the market, but I am not sure that should be the case. The interior defense might be great, but during this seven-game stretch Cleveland is giving up 113.5 points per 100 possessions. This decline might be real for the Cavaliers, especially without the likes of Rubio or Isaac Okoro.

*Brooklyn Nets (-10.5, 226.5) @ *Portland Trail Blazers

Norman Powell was added to COVID protocol over the weekend, and we also got reports that stated Damian Lillard would be out until Jan. 23 as he deals with his abdomen injury. Things cannot seem to get much worse for Portland which did show some life in a 103-88 win over Sacramento on Sunday. One might think a team like Brooklyn is a massive step up, which it is, but if the Nets don’t do something about their defense this could be trouble. Brooklyn failed to cover against San Antonio yesterday, extending its coverless streak to six straight. Part of the issue for the Nets has been a defense that has allowed 116.2 points per 100 possessions. That defense will not get better either, as now Kyrie Irving will be back on the floor with Brooklyn on the road. With Irving on the floor against Indiana the Nets allowed 1.19 points per possession in the win over Indiana, and there is no reason to believe the defensive effort will be much better even without Lillard out there. Those reasons are why this total is up to 228 in a few shops and it should be. 

Best Bets Summary

Bucks (-2)

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