NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 2/3

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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, February 3rd

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Minnesota Timberwolves (-5.5, 226.5) @ Detroit Pistons

Just as the Pistons were starting to become whole their most important piece injured his hip. Cade Cunningham is questionable to play tonight with that hip injury, and his presence makes all the difference in the world for Detroit. The Pistons had a 5-1 ATS run ruined on Tuesday in the loss to the Pelicans, and Cunningham was a massive part of that run averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.0 assists in five of those contests, one of which included a 19-point triple-double. If Cunningham cannot play it is hard to get on the side of the underdog here, even with Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk back in the fold. Minnesota has a lengthy injury report itself though. Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell and Josh Okogie are among the questionable to play tonight, and both Beverley and Russell are key to the Timberwolves’ success. Perhaps they could deal with a short-handed Pistons team without those two, like they did to Denver and Utah in the two games prior, but bettors are getting no discounts on a line that is up 7.5 at most shops.

Phoenix Suns (-5, 224.5) @ Atlanta Hawks

The best game on the board between two teams playing some of their best basketball. Phoenix comes in on an 11-0 SU/6-4-1 ATS run over which it has outscored its opponents by 12.1 points per 100 possessions. Atlanta had its winning streak ruined by Toronto on Monday but is still 7-1 SU/6-1-1 ATS in its last eight games with a + 9.9 net rating. Both teams come in relatively healthy as well, which means this is all about the matchups on the court. The biggest difference for the Hawks during this eight-game run has been the improved defensive play. On the season, Atlanta ranks 27th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency with an average of 114.0 points allowed per 100 possessions. However, their defensive rating over the last eight games is 108.5 which is fourth-best in the league. A look at the shot quality they allow suggests a regression is coming on that end of the floor, and this could be the night for it to happen. There will be nowhere to hide Trae Young on defense for the Hawks. Usually put on an off-ball player to avoid putting him at the point of attack, the Suns will hunt him consistently. The choices are also brutal for Nate McMillan. Does he put Young on Mikal Bridges who is fantastic in his movement off the ball with timely cuts, or Jae Crowder who has a distinct size advantage? On the other end, the Suns have every ability to defend Trae Young and the Atlanta offense with Bridges at the point of attack. This number opened at -5 and is -5.5 at every shop at this point right now, and I believe this to be the right number. Phoenix is the highest rated team by the market, and by my numbers. They can score here, are the best crunch time team in the league and have the scheme to guard Atlanta’s offense.

Play: Suns (-5.5)

*Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers (-2.5 ,218)

The Clippers return after a grueling, but successful, east coast trip on which they went 5-2-1 ATS. Tonight, they get the benefit of facing a Lakers team that will likely not have LeBron James on the floor as he continues to deal with swelling in his knee. In the four games since James came down with the injury the Lakers are 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS with the win last night against the Trail Blazers snapping an 0-3 SU slide. Offense has been the problem for the Lakers without James. In these four contests they have averaged just 108.0 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes, and on the season their offensive rating is just 105.4 in the possessions with James off the floor. The Clippers come into this meeting seventh in defensive efficiency, fifth in rim defense and 10th in defensive efficiency in transition, three areas on offense on which the Lakers rely. The Clippers also showed a semblance of offensive effectiveness on this eight-game trip that has not been around all season, averaging 112.7 points per 100 possessions over those eight games. There is no homecourt factored into a contest like this for obvious reasons, so this number is telling bettors that the Clippers are 3.5 points better than the Lakers without LeBron James and I would agree with that. What has surprised me is the total getting bet up to 220.5 at some spots. Neither team is an overly efficient offense, and while the Lakers want to speed this game up the Clippers have an ability to slow this thing down and keep it in a halfcourt setting. I would expect at 220.5 to see some buyback on the total.

*Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors (-13, 221)

Sacramento scored a big win last night over Brooklyn, outscoring the Nets 29-15 in the fourth quarter to grab the win and cover while snapping an 0-7 SU slide. The Kings did so without De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley, both of which are likely to be unavailable tonight against a rested Warriors team. Golden State staged their own rally last time out, coming back from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit against San Antonio without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins on the floor. It’s no surprise that the Warriors are such massive favorites here given their power rating and situation after two nights of rest for its best players. In two meetings this season Golden State has thoroughly dominated Sacramento, winning both games by double-digits and covering while posting a + 14.2 net rating. Without Fox or Bagley the Kings can steal a home game against a below average defensive opponent like the Nets, but its another best asking this team to score efficiently against a team like the Warriors.

Chicago Bulls @ Toronto Raptors (-2, 223)

Toronto is navigating its way through an impressive stretch of success right now. The Raptors are 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five games, but the way those wins have come have been the impressive part. They took out Charlotte a week ago to kick-off this run before losing to this Bulls team in Chicago. Then they rattled off three consecutive wins and covers over Miami (Twice) and Atlanta, overcoming the Heat in a triple-overtime affair in South Beach before coming back a day later and ending the Hawks’ seven-game winning streak. One would think this team is taxed with a short, eight-man rotation going through these contests, but they’ve shown zero signs of slowing down. Chicago is 4-1 SU/3-2 ATS in its last five games, but the story here is the total and the way the Bulls have played. The Over is 9-3-1 in the last 13 contests for Chicago due to the team’s high-calibur offense and abhorrent defense. In these 13 games the Bulls have the seventh-best offensive rating in the league in non-garbage time minutes (115.1) but have still been outscored by 3.1 points every 100 possessions due to a defense that is 27th over the same stretch (118.2).

Miami Heat (-3.5, 219) @ San Antonio Spurs

Jimmy Butler has popped up on the injury report yet again with this toe injury that has hampered him for the last week, but the real story is Kyle Lowry. The Heat point guard has been out nearly three weeks dealing with personal matters but has been upgraded to questionable tonight. P.J. Tucker is questionable as well, but the chance that we could see Miami whole again for the first time in nearly a month is intriguing. San Antonio is coming off a nearly inexcusable loss to Golden State in which it blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to fall to 5-15 SU/8-12 ATS in its last 20 games. Given how poor the Spurs have played and the optimistic injury report for the Heat this number is up to 4.5 at most shops. San Antonio also has a troubling injury report with both Doug McDermott and Dejounte Murray listed as questionable to play. 

Best Bets Summary

Suns (-5.5)

Season Record: 60-48-1

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