NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 1/13

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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 Thursday, January 13th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Golden State Warriors @ Milwaukee Bucks (-2, 223)

The Golden State Warriors’ slump extends well beyond the current 2-3 SU/1-4 ATS slide the team is on right now. Since Nov. 30 the team is 12-8 SU/8-12 ATS with a + 3.2 net rating. In other words, average. Even more concerning is the current stretch of play for Steph Curry. Over the course of these 20 games Curry is averaging 25 points per game, but on 37.4% shooting from the floor and 34.3% from deep. As a result, the Warriors put up just 107.7 points in non-garbage time minutes in those contests. There has been no real indicator that Golden State is going to break out of this slump but facing a Milwaukee team mired in its own 1-4 SU and ATS slide could help. The Bucks’ effort on defense has been subpar during this slide, but it’s the offense which has failed to carry its weight. Milwaukee has averaged just 108.4 points per 100 possessions over the last five games despite facing three opponents who rank lower than 23rd in defensive efficiency. Getting right on offense is not something one does against the Warriors, which are still one of the best defensive teams in the league even without Draymond Green who will not play tonight. The early move this morning has been toward Golden State, as one shop moved to -1.5 but I would not expect this to get much lower. Milwaukee still has Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the floor, and those two without Jrue Holiday still have a + 11.9 net rating. This line should be closer to -2.5 according to my numbers, so I will lay a short number with the home team.

Play: Bucks (-1.5)

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies (-4.5, 228.5)

Memphis brings a 10-0 SU/9-1 ATS streak into this meeting with Minnesota tonight, but as you likely know, this run goes on much longer than that. Over the last 24 games the Grizzlies are 20-4 SU/18-6 ATS and lead the league in net rating (+ 12.5) and defensive efficiency (103.2) in non-garbage time. Their defensive dominance was on display against the Warriors on Tuesday night when they limited Golden State to 1.049 points per possession and forced a turnover on 16.5% of their possessions. That penchant for forcing turnovers will come in handy against Minnesota, which ranks 25th in offensive turnover rate this season (15.2%). The Grizzlies have been brilliant using those turnovers to ignite their offense, as they rank third in points added per 100 possessions through transition plays that come off steals (+ 2.3) and eighth in points per possession in those situations (1.364). The Timberwolves need to take care of the ball tonight, and they must shoot well if they want to stay within this number. Memphis allows opponents to take perimeter shots, and during this run they rank 29th in frequency of opponent non-corner 3-point attempts (31.1%). Both injury reports are relatively clean, but Steven Adams is questionable for Memphis with a non-COVID illness. The market is all in on the Grizzlies though, and rightfully so given the returns. This number went straight to -5.5 at every shop, but quickly made its way back to -5 where it is right now. 

Los Angeles Clippers @ New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5, 215.5)

Last time we saw Los Angeles the team rallied from a 25-point deficit to defeat Denver 87-85 at home, but that rally took place due to a putrid offensive effort in the first half. The Clippers scored just 28 points and averaged only 0.583 points per possession in the first half of that contest, a performance that is a microcosm of the problems that plague Los Angeles. The Clippers are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, putting up just 106.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time this season. In three of their last five games they’ve been held to less than a point per possession and since losing Paul George to injury they’re averaging 105.4 points per 100 possessions. Injuries have been one of the biggest factors in this poor offensive season, and those will continue to be an issue tonight with six total players, including Luke Kennard and Isaiah Hartenstein, out due to COVID or injury. New Orleans will never be confused with the elite defensive teams in the league, but even against lesser opponents this Clippers team has failed to score efficiently. However, they have not failed to defend which makes this contest interesting. The Pelicans have been one of the least efficient offenses in the NBA all season, coming into today ranked 25th in efficiency (107.2). However, their offensive rating over the last 12 games is up to 112.7 and the team has only been outscored by 0.6 points per 100 possessions. Part of the turnaround for New Orleans has been the ability to get to the line. The Pelicans are making 24.9 free throws per 100 field goal attempts during these 12 games which leads the league over this stretch. The ability to draw fouls will be key here, especially against a defense that can defend without fouling like Los Angeles. It’s not surprising that the Pelicans opened as the favorite here, but this line is now up to 3.5 at most shops. Keep in mind, this is a team that was just catching 3.5 at home on Tuesday against Minnesota. Yes, they are 7-5 SU and ATS in their last 12 games, but they still have a negative net rating and five of those covers came as an underdog. Is the market getting somewhat overzealous here?   

Oklahoma City Thunder @ *Brooklyn Nets (-10, 213.5)

Brooklyn was incredible last night against Chicago. After Nikola Vucevic tied the game at 71-71 in the third quarter the Nets went on a 47-10 that would help them end an 0-7 ATS slide. Brooklyn returns home tonight to face Oklahoma City but will do so without Kyrie Irving on the floor. It should come as no surprise that last night was the bet offensive performance of the season for the Nets, but how does this team follow up that performance without one of their key cogs on that end of the floor? Without Irving this team is certainly capable of covering a number like this against the Thunder, but the pairing of James Harden and Kevin Durant has been nowhere near as explosive without Irving. When those two are on the floor without Irving the Nets are only + 0.4 per 100 possessions with a 112.0 offensive rating. By comparison, in a much smaller sample size, they are + 24.0 with a 130.2 offensive rating when all three are on the floor together. Oklahoma City also has the profile of a team that could bother the Nets’ slipping defense. Brooklyn ranks 22nd in frequency of opponent attempts at the rim and the Thunder come in as the league leader in drives per game and 14th in frequency of attempts at the rim. It’s not the best matchup for Oklahoma City, and they will be without Kenrich Williams and Isaiah Roby, but there is nothing about this version of Brooklyn that makes one want to lay double-digits with it. It is why this line is down to 7.5 in most shops.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets (-8, 216)

Portland’s backcourt is in dire straits tonight. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Anfernee Simons will all miss tonight’s game for a variety of reasons. It is likely Dennis Smith Jr., Ben McLemore and Tony Snell will be the starting backcourt tonight for the Trail Blazers which means offense will be hard to come by. With those three on the floor together Portland is averaging just 1.0 point per possession, but their defense has been incredible. They will need an elite defensive effort if they want to stay inside this number on the road against Denver. The Nuggets did blow a massive lead to the Clippers last time out, but that was the fourth-best defensive team in the league at the very least. Tonight, there should be no excuses. Will Barton was added to COVID protocol, but Nikola Jokic is still active and facing a frontcourt that is missing the top two options behind Jusuf Nurkic, as both Larry Nance Jr. and Cody Zeller will miss this contest. It seems there is little case to be made for the Trail Blazers here, and that is why this line is up to -10 at almost every shop.

Best Bets Summary

Bucks (-1.5)

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