NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 1/20

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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 20th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Phoenix Suns (-2.5, 213.5) at *Dallas Mavericks

In the win over Toronto last night the Mavericks’ defensive prowess was on display yet again. They held the Raptors to 98 points and 1.032 points per possession, making it the 10th time in 11 contests Dallas has held an opponent to under 1.1 points per possession. The victory makes it 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS in the last four games for the Mavericks, and 10-1 SU/8-3 ATS over the last 11 games. Tonight, that defense gets a massive test against Phoenix which is on its own 7-1 SU/6-1-1 ATS run. Deandre Ayton will be sidelined once again for the Suns as he recovers from an ankle sprain he suffered in the win over Detroit. A player of Ayton’s calibur will always be missed, but the Suns have tremendous depth behind him that will help soften the blow. When JaVale McGee is on the floor Phoenix has a better defensive rating (104.6), and they are + 16.9 in the minutes with Jalen Smith at center this season. The Suns’ defense matching up with the Mavericks’ offense is going to be fascinating. Phoenix is great at running opponents off the 3-point line. They rank seventh in opponent frequency of 3-point attempts (35.1%) and third opponent 3-point shooting percentage (33.7%). Dallas is a perimeter-oriented offense. During this 11-game run they’ve attempted 38.3% of their attempts from beyond the arc, and while they’ve struggled on above-the-break attempts, (31.2%) they have obliterated teams from the corners (42.7%) which is an area that the Suns defend extremely well (33.9%). Then there is the matter of Dallas’ dominant defense. They also limit opponent attempts from deep, forcing teams into low-percentage mid-range shots where they have held opponents to just 35.2% shooting. However, the Suns happen to be the best mid-range team in the NBA, leading the league in frequency of attempts (41.6%) while hitting the second-best rate of shots (46.2%). Either way you cut it, this is a fascinating matchup of strength on strength. The betting market initially moved to Suns -3.5 from the overnight line, but there has been buyback early on the Mavericks, so we are back to the opening number. The total is the real mover here, as we are up to as high as 217 at Circa.

New Orleans Pelicans at New York Knicks (-2.5, 210.5)

The good vibes around a 10-5 SU and ATS stretch of play from the Knickerbockers was ruined by back-to-back losses to Charlotte and Minnesota, but there were some positives to emerge from the most recent result. Kemba Walker returned from a nine-game absence and dropped 19 points and hit 4-of-8 3-point attempts in a cover against the Timberwolves. New York’s backcourt is now fully healthy as they meet New Orleans which is 0-2 SU and ATS in its last two games. The Pelicans also have some injury concerns with Devonte’ Graham popping up on the report as questionable with an ankle injury. Graham’s status is likely why we saw this number jump from -2.5 to -4 this morning as his value for New Orleans is immense. When he is on the floor the Pelicans are + 0.8 per 100 possessions, but his time off the court they are outscored by 16.6 points every 100 possessions. If Graham cannot play this is going to be a massive problem for New Orleans. The Pelicans will not have the usual advantage on the glass that they have in most contests, as the Knicks are 12th in opponent offensive rebounding rate (22.9%) and lead the league in offensive rebounding themselves (27.3%). New Orleans is also up against it when it comes to their penchant for attacking the rim. They rank seventh in frequency of attempts within four feet, but 27th in shooting (61.4%) and they face the third-best rim defense tonight (61.6%). The Knicks lean on their 3-point shooting offensively, and the Pelicans come into this contest 29th in opponent shooting (37.3%). Without Graham available to help push this New Orleans offense it makes sense that this line is pushing to the New York side this morning. 

*Indiana Pacers at Golden State Warriors (-10.5, 216.5)

Indiana mounted a solid comeback last night in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The Pacers won the fourth quarter 35-24 behind 22 points in the frame from Caris LeVert and snapped a four-game losing streak. Tonight, they face Golden State who dominated a “get-right” spot at home against Detroit on Tuesday. The Warriors have not covered consecutive games this month, but the betting market seems to believe they are the side in tough back-to-back situation for the road team. Indiana’s offense has been solid despite the uneven play on defense, as they averaged 125.1 points per 100 possessions in their Los Angeles swing. Maintaining that intensity on offense against Golden State, even without Draymond Green, is going to be a different task entirely. The Warriors, for all of their inconsistencies on offense over the last month, still lead the league in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (103.2) and they are third in defensive efficiency over the last 24 contests. This is all about whether or not this offense can break out of the funk its been in over that same span. Golden State, even in beating Detroit comfortably, only out up 1.041 points per possession and shot 33.3% from deep. It would be tough to swallow a big number for a team that shows no signs of improving offensively and is 10-14 ATS in its last 24 games.

Best Bets Summary

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