NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Monday 1/17

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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 17th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

New Orleans Pelicans @ Boston Celtics (-5.5, 216)

The betting market is all over Boston this morning as this number is up to 6.5 in few shops, but I think this matchup is much tighter than the market is giving it credit for. On one end it seems the Celtics have a distinct advantage on defense. They rank seventh in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (108.0) and their opponent comes in 25th on offense (107.4). However, the Pelicans have been much better on that end of the floor recently, putting up 111.9 points per 100 possessions in their last 16 games while posting a 9-7 ATS mark. New Orleans also has a distinct advantage on the glass. The Celtics have had a hard time keeping foes off the offensive glass, and the Pelicans happen to have the fourth-best offensive rebounding rate in the league (28.3%). Not only that, but New Orleans is very effective in transition, ranking ninth in both points added per 100 plays through transition (+ 3.1) and offensive efficiency in transition (125.6), two areas which Boston ranks 18th and 17th respectively on defense. The Pelicans do lack a true defensive piece for both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but offense has hardly been the calling card for the Celtics and Herbert Jones is a good enough defender to matchup with either wing. Boston has been slightly overvalued by the market at home this season (14-8 SU/10-12 ATS) and the role of favorite has not been kind (16-10 SU/11-15 ATS). This line is rich when I compare it to my number, so the underdog is the side for me.

Play: Pelicans (+ 6)

Charlotte Hornets @ New York Knicks (-2.5, 217)

Don’t look now, but the New York Knicks are finally starting to play some consistent basketball. Since Dec. 16 the Knickerbockers are 10-5 SU and ATS with a + 4.5 net rating in non-garbage time. The driving force behind this has been a defense allowing just 107.1 points per 100 possessions, and that defense will need to show up today against the Hornets. Charlotte fell to Orlando last time out, but this team is still an incredible 21-9-1 ATS since the middle of November and its offense comes in averaging 113.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes. The Hornest do seem to have a distinct advantage here when it comes to that high-powered offense. Charlotte thrives on drive-and-kick opportunities to set up its offense. They rank second in drives per game (54.0) and third in frequency of attempts at the rim (36.0%) as a team, and as a result they take fourth-most corner 3-point attempts of any team in the league. These are problems for New York, as it is 17th in frequency of attempts allowed at the rim and 21st in frequency of corner 3-point attempts allowed. The team is also still having trouble with wide-open shooters this season, allowing 18.9 wide-open 3-point attempts per game, which is going to be an issue against this opponent. Charlotte has a real matchup advantage here, and it isn’t surprising to see a slight move toward the road team.

Philadelphia 76ers (-3, 213) @ Washington Wizards

After a loss to Charlotte last week Philadelphia was able to get right back to its winning ways by taking a back-to-back from Boston and Miami to improve to 10-2 SU/9-3 ATS in its last 12 games. The 76ers have outscored their opponents by 10.5 points every 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and that is largely due to the play of Joel Embiid who has averaged 31.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists on 53.6% shooting from the floor during this run. If Washington is to stay inside this number it must somehow contain Embiid, but that is easier said than done for the sliding Wizards. Washington did have a three-game winning streak ruined by Portland last time out, but when I say ‘sliding’ I mean against the number. The Wizards are on an 0-6 ATS losing streak coming into tonight, and since Dec. 3 the team is 6-14-1 ATS with a -4.2 net rating. Offense has been fleeting for the Wizards since the beginning of the season, but this defense has been getting worse and over the course of these 21 games they are 27th in defensive efficiency (116.0). Bradley Beal could return from COVID protocol today which would obviously be a massive boost for the home team. If you’re looking to get involved with the 76ers the best number is gone, but if Beal is going to be available this number should come back down to give Philadelphia bettors a slightly better line.

Brooklyn Nets @ Cleveland Cavaliers (-3, 219.5)

Brooklyn was dealt a massive blow when they lost Kevin Durant for 4-to-6 weeks to a knee injury, and now it’s up to James Harden and Kyrie Irving, at least in road games, to keep this team afloat. We have not seen many possessions with Harden and Irving on the floor without Durant this season, but the few we’ve seen have been ugly as Brooklyn allowed 1.467 points per possession. Last season, when those two were in the backcourt without Durant, the Nets had a 118.1 defensive rating and only outscored opponents by 2.3 points every 100 possessions. That defense will likely be on display when they face a Cleveland that is back on track after a rough end to 2021. The Cavaliers are 6-2 SU in the month of January, but only 3-4-1 ATS due to some average play on offense. Cleveland has only averaged 111.2 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes in those eight games, but one would assume their offensive play is improved today due to the level of competition defensively. This matchup comes down to the Cavaliers’ ability to defend the elite backcourt of Harden and Irving, and that is something I worry about with Cleveland here. This backcourt is dangerously thin, and now Lamar Stevens is questionable to play with a knee injury. If Dylan Windler or Brandon Goodwin are forced to start this backcourt is in for a tough day on defense.  

Chicago Bulls @ Memphis Grizzlies (-5.5, 224)

Memphis had its 11-0 SU/10-1 ATS run snapped by Dallas on Friday night, but this team has a great opportunity to get right back on it against a short-handed and sliding Chicago team. The Bulls have dropped three straight and four of five in January and they hold a 3-6 ATS record over the last nine games. Since Dec. 7 Chicago is 27th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (117.5), and there is likely no reprieve coming today with two of their bets on-ball defenders out in Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Zach LaVine will also miss the contest with knee pain, and Derrick Jones Jr. will sit with his own knee injury. In all, seven Bulls are set to miss this contest which is why this number is now -8.5 at most shops. With cluster injuries like this it does leave much in terms of analysis. Just make sure not to fall into the trap of laying a large number after the fact, as you are getting no value as a bettor in that scenario.

Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Clippers (-1, 209.5)

The wins for Los Angeles are few and far between for Los Angeles lately, but they are favored to grab one today against Indiana. The Clippers are 5-11 SU/6-10 ATS with a -7.2 net rating in non-garbage time minutes in their last 16 games. Los Angeles’ biggest issues, as it has been all season, is an offense that is averaging 104.2 points per 100 possessions over this 16-game slump. Injuries have been a driving force behind these offensive inefficiencies and that is not improving today with Luke Kennard still sidelined while recovering from COVID. However, their defense is still capable of playing at a high level and that could be a factor today against Indiana which has been poor on offense lately. The Pacers are 1-9 SU/5-5 ATS in its last 10 games, and they rank 24th in offensive efficiency with an average of 108.0 points per 100 possessions. Making matters worse for the Pacers are the injuries to Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon. Turner has already been ruled out with an ankle injury, and Brogdon is questionable with a sore Achilles that has hampered him all season. Should both miss this game the Pacers’ defense will take a big hit. In the possessions without those two on the floor Indiana gives up 112.9 points per 100 possessions and allows opponents to shoot 67.3% at the rim. If Brogdon can’t go it would make a massive difference in a contest between two anemic offenses.

Milwaukee Bucks (-4, 229) @ Atlanta Hawks

There are tailspins and there is whatever you want to call what the Atlanta Hawks are stuck in. After a 117-108 loss to New York Knicks on Saturday the Hawks fell to 5-15 SU and ATS in their last 20 games and officially became the worst ATS team in the league at 15-27 (35.7%) on the season. Over the course of these 20 games their defense has shown as much resistance as Matt Youmans in a McDonald’s during McRib season, giving up 120.3 points per 100 possessions. One of the biggest issues for Atlanta during this stretch has been a rim defense that has allowed opponents to take 34.1% of their attempts within four feet while shooting 65.1% on said shots. Their halfcourt defense is giving up 100.8 points per 100 plays, but it’s their transition defense, along with that flimsy rim defense, that will be their downfall today. During this 20-game stretch the Hawks are 30th in both opponents points added through transition offense (+ 6.2) and defensive efficiency in transition (155.7). Off of live rebounds in transition opponents are putting up 1.415 points per play and adding 2.8 points per 100 possessions! Milwaukee ranks eighth in transition frequency (16.5%) and seventh in transition frequency off live rebounds (31.7%), so they will be getting out and running often today. Even worse for Atlanta, which will not have Clint Capela on the floor, is the fact that the Bucks shoot 70.5% at the rim with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor and their transition frequency jumps by 4.2% in those minutes as well. Any way you cut it this is a terrible matchup for the home team which is why this number has moved the way it has.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Orlando Magic (-2.5, 215)

The win in Washington for Portland improved the team to 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four games, the first time since the end of November that this team had won more than two consecutive contests. However, the Trail Blazers were + 7 in that meeting with the Wizards on Saturday, and now the market has them as high as -2 at most shops. The third-worst cover team in the NBA being a road favorite does not seem like a logical situation. Even in winning three of four games Portland has a -2.0 net rating due to its offense managing jut 108.9 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, Orlando has been playing some extremely competitive basketball for a team of its status. The Magic might be 3-11 SU in their last 14 games, but they are 8-6 ATS and their net rating over that stretch (-6.5) is better than the Trail Blazers’ net rating over that same stretch (-8.1). It seems that some of this line move is attributed to the return of CJ McCollum, but he has not played since Dec. 4 so it would be foolish to believe he is going to immediately contribute at the same level in his first game back. Orlando might not be the sexiest team, but it seems worth supporting against an overzealous market.

Play: Magic (+ 2)

Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat (-4, 209.5)

Bam Adebayo is expected to make his glorious return today for Miami today, and with Jimmy Butler back in the fold for two games now it seems the injury luck is finally turning around for Miami. Kyle Lowry will miss the game for personal reasons so bettors will have to wait to see the Heat at full strength, and Miami bettors should hope that the numbers behind those Butler/Adebayo lineups improve today. With those two on the court without Lowry this season Miami has -20.8 net rating and those lineups average just 0.904 points per possession. In two games since Butler’s return the results have been all over the map. Against the Hawks they put up 1.315 points per possession but had a 125.5 defensive rating. In the loss to Philadelphia the team only managed 1.032 points per possession and has a 112.8 defensive rating. Both efforts have been subpar defensively, but luckily they face a Toronto team that has struggled to find its offense lately. In the last three games the Raptors have a 103.3 offensive rating, and its clear the team is missing Gary Trent Jr. who has not played in 10 days. Trent improves the team’s offensive rating by 7.2 points per 100 possessions and will provide a much needed spark tonight if he is available. Adebayo might be back, but the market is heading in Toronto’s direction and I agree with that. A player’s return is usually overvalued by the betting market and this is one where the opener seemed to do just that.

*Utah Jazz (-5, 232) @ Los Angeles Lakers

Rudy Gobert played for the first time in two weeks and the Utah Jazz snapped an 0-4 SU and ATS with a win over Denver last night. In a shock to no one the Jazz posted their best defensive rating since Gobert’s last game and their offense exploded for 1.304 points per possession. Utah is a different team when Gobert is available and should he be back out there tonight there is no reason not to back the Jazz tonight, especially once you consider the opponent. Los Angeles dropped its third consecutive game on Saturday in Denver, falling to 3-3 SU/2-4 ATS in January. The problem for the Lakers during this losing streak, and for much of the season, has been a subpar defense. On the season Los Angeles has allowed 111.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes, and since Dec. 23 its defense has been even worse, allowing 119.2 points per 100 possessions. Their defense along the perimeter has been atrocious, struggling to limit dribble penetration while allowing catch-and-shoot 3-point opportunities. Over that 11-game stretch since the end of December opponents have been able to attempt 36.7% of their attempts at the rim while shooting 66.6% in that area of the floor while hitting 39.0% of their 3-point attempts. The betting market has docked the Jazz a half-point because the team is playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, but this is a matchup that benefits Utah in a big way. I want to confirm that Gobert will be in the lineup, but if he is consider the Jazz a best bet.

Best Bets Summary

Pelicans (+ 6)

Magic (+ 2)

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