NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Monday 4/18

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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, April 18th

*Lines are opening numbers

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5, 220.5)

Game 2: 76ers lead 1-0

Everything that could go wrong did for Toronto on Saturday, and now they’re in it deep tonight against Philadelphia for Game 2. Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. and Thaddeus Young are all doubtful due to various injuries for the Raptors, a team that came into this series with a short rotation already. Those injuries for Toronto are why the betting line here is up to 7.5 and it will likely climb given the public sentiment regarding the Raptors chances following a blowout. However, there are some slivers of hope for Toronto, even after a loss like that. Toronto still averaged 1.262 points per possession in non-garbage time minutes and 1.117 in the halfcourt, turned it over only eight times and shot 12-of-30 from beyond the arc. Philadelphia also had outlier performance in transition, starting 15.7% of their possessions with a transition play and averaging 1.909 points per play, two figures which are out of line with the 76ers team we saw in the regular season. The pointspread adjustment is apt given the missing pieces for the Raptors today, but be careful in jumping ship on Toronto or running to lay a number that has been adjusted accurately. It’s never as bad as it looks after one game in a playoff series. The total is an interesting angle here as well. The first game closed 215.5 and went well over, but it was due to both teams putting together wildly efficient offensive performances. Oddsmakers opened this total today as high as 220.5 but it’s come down to 217.5 at most shops and I completely agree. Game 1 had well under 100 possessions and that is how this series is going to play. If we get the expected dip in efficiency this game is going to look much like the slog of a series we expected before it started. There’s a few 218s still on the market and that’s still worth playing under the total.

Play: UNDER 218

Utah Jazz (-5, 204) at Dallas Mavericks

Game 2: Jazz lead 1-0

Is there any way for this Dallas offense to improve on the performance in Game 1 on Saturday? The Mavericks were held to 1.045 points per possession and shot 9-of-31 from beyond the arc in the loss to the Jazz. Jalen Brunson was the leading scorer with 24 points but needed 24 shot attempts to reach that number, and Spencer Dinwiddie followed with 22 on 6-of-15 shooting. Those two need to be more effective if Dallas is going to stay in a number like this or even earn a split at home before returning to Utah. The problem is that the Jazz do not really need to change how they defended Brunson who had the second-highest usage rate for the Mavericks on Saturday. Utah switched every screen when Brunson was the ball-handler, trusting the size of every perimeter defender to hold up against the 6-foot-3 guard and it worked. There was no need to help off shooters in those matchups, and thus Dallas put together a poor shooting night both from the perimeter and at the rim where they went 8-of-16 on Saturday. The Jazz also dominated the glass with Gobert and their superior size, outrebounding the Mavericks 53-34 and grabbing 13 offensive rebounds. That advantage will still be present in this second game of the series, and one would expect that Donovan Mitchell, who scored 30 of his 32 points in the second half, to start the game the way he did. As far as the total is concerned, the adjustment to 204 for the opener seemed somewhat strong. The first game played to only about 90 possessions according to Cleaning The Glass and only 192 points were scored, but even at the same pace a slightly more efficient performance from both teams would push that total over, so the market got this right in pushing it up slightly to the 206 at most shops.

Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors (-7. 224.5)

Game 2: Warriors lead 1-0

From the beginning of March to the end of the regular season Denver was the 21st ranked defense in the league, allowing 117.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes. That poor effort popped up again in the first game of this series as the Nuggets got torched for 1.287 points per possession in a 123-107 rout in San Francisco. Defensively there is likely going to be little improvement, so the onus is on this Nuggets offense to put up a better effort than the 112.6 offensive rating on Saturday night. That is easier said than done. Nikola Jokic had to grind out a tough 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on 12-of-25 shooting and Golden State really does not need to adjust its defensive gameplan for him. Kevon Looney is good enough to make him work and Draymond Green makes up for his lack of size with his basketball IQ on that end of the floor. As long as others like Monte Morris are contained the Warriors will be content in trusting those two to hold up in single coverage on Jokic. In short, I find it difficult to make the case for Denver here. Their defense is up against it with Golden State, and their new “death lineup” is terrible matchup for this team and outscored them by 14 points in five minutes on the floor in Game 1. Steve Kerr is likely going to give that group more run now that Stephen Curry has a game under his belt. There are no real line moves to report as of this morning, but I would expect that -7 to hold strong heading to tip-off and maybe even get to 7.5 once the public gets involved.

Best Bet Summary

Raptors/76ers UN 218

Season Record: 84-67-2

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