NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 11/18


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 Recap for Wednesday, November 17th

It was an insanely low-scoring night on Wednesday with Unders taking the night with a 9-1-1 record. The rate at which these games are going Under is historic, but there is no doubt how great the games have been. Almost every game is tight and tense, and the product, in my mind, is some of the best we have seen. The biggest upset of the night was in New York where the Magic scored an outright win as a + 525 moneyline underdog. Things are not going well at the Mecca it seems.

Market Report for Thursday, November 18th

Only six games tonight, but they are some good ones. 

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

**Lines are opening numbers

*Washington Wizards at *Miami Heat (-6.5, 210.5)

In yesterday’s column I mentioned how poor Washington’s offense had been against the three worst defenses in the NBA, and that reared its ugly head again last night against Charlotte. The Hornets, which rank 17th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency, held the Wizards to 0.904 points per possession for the game and 0.609 points per possession in a 30-14 third quarter. Washington struggled from distance yet again, going 8-of-42 on 3-point attempts (19.0%) and now they must face Miami. The Heat got Jimmy Butler back last night and suffocated the Pelicans in the second half, limiting them to 0.979 points per possession while posting a + 39.6 net rating. It was Butler’s first game back from an ankle injury, so monitoring the injury reports will be key here as they play with no rest. Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo missed the game last night as well, so there is a chance both could sit once again tonight. Washington is on my list of teams to start playing against, but the injury situation for Miami has me off this contest. The betting market seems to agree with my assessment though, as the Heat are up to -7.5 in some shops with the total down about a point.

Golden State Warriors (-8, 209) at *Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland got inside a big number last night when Darius Garland completed an and-one opportunity with 19.8 seconds left in the game, but it was still clear how short-handed this team is. The Cavaliers put up just 0.99 points per possession overall and 0.8 points per play in the halfcourt while going 11-of-43 from deep. Their defense along the perimeter, which is currently 10th at 33.3% allowed to opponents, let Brooklyn hit 12-of-32 3-point attempts. That offense must now pick up and host Golden State which just shut down the Nets to the tune of 0.976 points per possession and 99 points. This is a classic “letdown” spot for the Warriors, but the statistical mismatches are too strong here. How are the Cavaliers going to score at an efficient rate against this defense? Golden State is up to -8.5 at a couple of shops and I would expect that to be the prevailing number sooner rather than later. The total is down to 205.5 as well which speaks to the defensive ability of the Warriors and what is likely going to be a tough day at the office for Cleveland. Worth noting that Jarrett Allen has been dealing with a non-COVID illness and could be back any day, so monitor the injury news here too.

San Antonio Spurs at *Minnesota Timberwolves (-2, 222)

The Timberwolves have finally found some positive momentum and with their win last night improved to 2-2 SU/3-1 ATS in their last four games. Minnesota’s offense woke up for 1.138 points per possession after being held to less than a point per possession in the previous two games. However, that was against a defense ranked 20th in efficiency at 109.7 points allowed per 100 possessions. San Antonio is much better on that end of the floor. The Spurs are giving up just 106.5 points per 100 possessions and their transition defense is the best in the NBA at 0.995 points per play allowed. That matters here as Minnesota ranks eighth in frequency of possessions started with a transition play. The Timberwolves halfcourt offense is one of the worst in the NBA, ranking 27th in efficiency, so much of their success is generated in the fastbreak. The offensive glass is a key tonight too. Minnesota grabs 29.9% of its misses, the third-highest rate in the league, and they generate 20.6 putback plays per miss this season, the second-best rate. In other words, they crash the offensive glass and get a ton of scoring opportunities from it. San Antonio ranks 19th in defensive rebounding rate as a team and could have problems keeping the Timberwolves rebounders at bay. The betting market is moving toward the home team even though they are playing on no rest, but it is not surprising to see as the Spurs are 1-4 SU and ATS in the last five games.

Los Angeles Clippers (-1, 219.5) at Memphis Grizzlies

It has been a habit of mine lately to bet against the Memphis Grizzlies and the returns have been there. Memphis is coming off an easy win and cover over Houston, but the team is still 2-4 SU and ATS in its last six games with a -5.5 net rating. Playing defense continues to be a challenge for this team, and they allowed those six opponents to put up 111.4 points per 100 possessions which is 24th over that span. The Grizzlies will be tested tonight against a Clippers team that is 8-1 SU/6-3 ATS in November with the third-best net rating (+ 9.4) and defensive rating (99.9) in the league. Los Angeles has struggled to find consistency on offense throughout the season, averaging just 106.1 points per 100 possessions on offense, so this game will be a true test for Memphis’ struggling defense. The Clippers are short-handed as well. Nic Batum is doubtful with a sore Achilles and Terance Mann is questionable with an ankle injury. Amir Coffey and Brandon Boston played 20 minutes for them against San Antonio, so the depth is shaky for Los Angeles when Paul George and other starters hit the bench. Having said that, this defense has yet to take the slightest step back so there is no reason to come off of my stance to play against Memphis until I see an adjustment of substance by the betting market.

Play: Clippers (-1)

Philadelphia 76ers at Denver Nuggets (-7, 210)

Philadelphia has hit the skids due to a lack of personnel and it comes into today 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five games with a -11.9 net rating. The team’s defense has been shredded during this losing streak for 117.9 points per 100 possessions and until Joel Embiid or Matisse Thybulle return it is hard to back the 76ers. Denver had its 5-0 SU/4-1 ATS run ended in Dallas on Monday and comes in short-handed as well with Will Barton now considered doubtful to play tonight with a back injury. Both teams are in dire straits when it comes to personnel availability and hardly worth playing nightly. The Nuggets do have the advantage as their best player in Nikola Jokic is still available and the 76ers do not have a defender to deal with him. Jokic has improved Denver’s net rating by 28.9 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor and the Nuggets are still one of the best defensive teams in the league at 104.3 points allowed per 100 possessions, but this is still way too many points to swallow. The market seems to disagree as the Nuggets are now -7.5 at a majority of shops.

Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz (-10, 210.5)

Toronto is a team that I had circled to play here, but the injury report will leave me on the sidelines until I can get some confirmation on a couple of key players. Precious Achiuwa has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for two games and OG Anunoby reportedly banged his hip in practice the other day. Both are considered questionable and both need to be on the floor for me to feel comfortable taking the points here. Utah has been laying some big numbers during this homestand and as a result they are just 2-2 ATS in these four games. Toronto has clearly had some trouble working Pascal Siakam back into the starting lineup and it is 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games, but there is a point where the value is too much to pass up. The betting market has dropped this to Jazz -9.5 and I agree but need Achiuwa and Anunoby for this to be a play.

Best Bets Summary

Clippers (-1)

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Matt Youmans: Heat (+8.5) at Nuggets. View more picks.


The Lombardi Line: Both the Nuggets and Heat shot poorly in Game 1 of the NBA Finals - and the total is down five points in Game 2 (219.5 to 214.5). Consider betting the OVER if you expect any positive regression. View more tips.