NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 12/2


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, December 2nd

We only have a couple games tonight, as the NFL takes its usual spot on the stage, but there is a fantastic headliner in New York to handicap nonetheless.

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Chicago Bulls (-2, 214) at New York Knicks

For the third time this season these two teams will meet, and if tonight is anything like the other two contests we are in for a treat. The season series is tied thus far, but both games shared a similar theme: Massive fourth quarters for Chicago. In the first meeting the Bulls rallied in the waning minutes with a 12-0 run in the final 2:13 but fell when DeMar DeRozan did not get his shot off. Last week, Chicago won the game with a 37-29 fourth quarter and grabbed the cover as well. Both games were in the Windy City, but tonight the Knicks play host and are amid a solid 3-1 ATS stretch. Both teams have been somewhat inconsistent as of late, but the Bulls are starting to show their true colors on defense. Over the last eight games Chicago is 4-4 SU and ATS with a 112.0 defensive rating in non-garbage time minutes. A big issue for them has been the inability to guard without fouling, as opponents are making 23.6 free throws per 100 possessions over this span. Their halfcourt defense is allowing 96.4 points per 100 plays and it stems from a defense allowing opponents to take 36.6% of their attempts at the rim. Those opportunities have opened drive-and-kick plays for the opposition and as a result the Bulls have allowed shooters to hit 38.6% from deep over these eight games. New York has not been perfect, but their lineup change paid off against Brooklyn. The Knicks posted their best individual game offensive rating (119.6) since Nov. 7 against Cleveland, and they put up over a point per play in the halfcourt for just the second time in November. RJ Barrett is questionable to play with a non-COVID illness, and Coby White is in COVID protocol for Chicago. This comes down to the number for me. There is not much separating these two teams, but the market clearly respects the Bulls as they are laying points on the road. Homecourt this season has been worth three points, so is Chicago five points better on a neutral? That is not the case by my numbers, so I will take the bucket with the home team tonight.

Play: Knicks (+ 2)

*Milwaukee Bucks (-4, 217) at Toronto Raptors

The Bucks barely got by the Hornets last night, but it was hardly by their own fault. Charlotte was lights-out from distance, hitting 10 3-point shots in the first quarter and ended up going 21-of-51 for the game. Milwaukee was just as brilliant on offense though, averaging 1.189 points per possession while shooting 21-of-31 inside four feet and scoring 54 points in the paint. They can clearly still take advantage of poor defenses, and tonight they get one of those in Toronto. The Raptors have lost and failed to cover their last three games and are 2-7 SU and ATS in their last nine with a 116.2 defensive rating. Defense has been an issue all season for Toronto, and it comes into tonight 25th in defensive efficiency (111.9), 26th in transition defense (129.6) and 27th in opponent rim shooting (67.8%). Where exactly is the resistance coming from? OG Anunoby is still listed as out, as is Khem Birch and Gary Trent Jr. is questionable yet again. Trent seems to be trending toward playing tonight, but he is hardly the difference maker for a team struggling like the Raptors are. Barring any surprises on the injury report for the Bucks this number seems surprisingly low for Milwaukee, as one shop is at -3.5 this morning.

Play: Bucks (-4)

*Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies (-8.5, 215)

Oklahoma City sure looked like a short-handed team in the fourth quarter last night against Houston. The Rockets had been outscored in all three quarters leading into the final frame and trailed by eight when the quarter began, but a 41-point explosion against a usually reliable Thunder defense sent Oklahoma City to its second consecutive loss. The injury report is key for OKC in the bounce-back tonight. Josh Giddey did not play last night due to a non-COVID illness, and both Derrick Favors and Kenrich Williams remained sidelined as well. This team needs all hands on deck to be competitive. Having said that, this is a somewhat high number for a Memphis team that is dealing with its own injury issues. Ja Morant is out and Kyle Anderson is questionable to play tonight with back soreness. The betting market has pushed this number as high as -10 this morning, but we’re getting to the point of value on Oklahoma City depending on who is available. 

Detroit Pistons at Phoenix Suns (-13, 208)

A lot of handicappers will classify this as a “sandwich spot” or “letdown spot” for Phoenix tonight. The Suns are coming off a big win at home over the Warriors and have the rematch with them slated for tomorrow night. In the meantime, they must deal with the Pistons who were smacked by a Damian Lillard-less Trail Blazers squad on Monday. Phoenix is perfectly capable of pulling off this cover, but Devin Booker will not play tonight making them short-handed. I agree with the line move here, as 13 seemed strong for a team in the Suns’ situation. Detroit will have Killian Hayes back in the fold tonight as well. Hayes is a fine option on defense, but his presence on the floor drops the Pistons’ offensive rating by 6.4 points per 100 possessions. He is not worth anything to the point spread as far as my numbers are concerned.

San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5, 220)

It’s been a simple formula for Portland. Bet on the team when it plays at home, bet against it when it plays on the road. The Trail Blazers’ win and cover over the Pistons on Monday improved their record to 10-1 SU/9-2 ATS at home, and they have outscored opponents by 12.3 points every 100 possessions. Damian Lillard’s abdominal injury will keep him sidelined yet again tonight and Norman Powell is questionable yet again, so maybe it’s the Spurs who can take advantage of those absences. San Antonio is 3-1 ATS in its last four games, covering as home underdogs to Washington, Boston and Phoenix. Their defense has been somewhat poor, giving up 110.1 points per 100 possessions, but their offense has taken advantage of poor opponent defenses and they have a + 1.1 net rating in those four games. Portland might be able to cover numbers against young teams like Detroit, but a well-coached Spurs squad will be a different challenge. The number is up to -5 on the market, and it would surprise me to see it move any higher.

Best Bets Summary

Knicks (+ 2)

Bucks (-4)

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