NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 3/31

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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, March 31st

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets (-1, 238)

Is Brooklyn going to be able to generate a defensive stop in this contest? The Nets might have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but their defense has struggled greatly lately and now they have to face the best team in the Eastern Conference. For example, in their last seven games they have averaged 120.1 points per 100 possessions, but they only have a + 1.9 net rating because of a defense that has allowed 118.2 points per 100 possessions. Their most effective lineup of Irving, Durant, Seth Curry, Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond has an offensive rating of 130.5 but only a + 2.6 net rating due to the abysmal level of defense that unit plays. Are they really going to just drop 130 on Milwaukee to cover this number? It’s possible, but not the way it seems the Bucks are playing on defense. Milwaukee has the personnel to match up with Brooklyn’s two superstars and they are deadly on offense with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor. The betting market has pushed this line to -2 at most spots which might seem fair given the fact that homecourt has been worth two points this season, but that means these two are equal on a neutral court. By my numbers they are not, so give me the underdog tonight.

Play: Bucks (+ 2) 

Best Games

Philadelphia 76ers (-9.5, 223) at Detroit Pistons

The 76ers fell to 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games with both James Harden and Joel Embiid on the floor when they lost to the Bucks on Tuesday. Once again, the minutes without Embiid were a killer, and will be as we move forward, but are the Pistons the team to take advantage of this weakness? Detroit is 17-2 ATS in its last 19 games with a -0.5 net rating. Initially that net rating does not seem impressive, but when the team that is only getting outscored by a half-point every 100 possessions is catching 6.2 points per game that is a fantastic net rating. Given how poorly one team has played and how well the other is the initial thought might be bet Detroit here, but the market has already pushed this to -10 at most shops in support of the road favorite. In-game wagering might be the way to go here. The Pistons have zero matchup for Embiid on the floor, and in the minutes he is out there 76ers will have a massive advantage. It might be smarter to wait until Embiid leaves the floor and grab an inflated in-game line as Detroit faces Philadelphia’s second unit.

Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls (-4, 223)

Most might be enamored by the 25-point comeback from Los Angeles the other night, but I would be more worried about why they trailed by that much to begin with. In the first half of that contest the Clippers had a -31.2 net rating and needed a 39-21 fourth quarter to pull off the comeback. The problem for Los Angeles was its offense which averaged 1.04 points per possession in the first half, something that has been a big problem recently. The win over Utah snapped an 0-5 SU and ATS slide for them, during which the team had averaged 106.8 points per 100 possessions. Chicago has allowed 115.6 points per 100 possessions during this prolonged 5-11 SU/4-12 ATS slide that it’s been on, so there is certainly a scenario in which the Clippers’ offense finds consistent success tonight but it’s not a team that has done that all season. The market has moved toward Los Angeles here which is expected after what happened on Tuesday, but I would be wary of buying into what we saw last. 

The Others

*Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (-4.5, 220.5)

The poor play for Cleveland continued last night in the loss to Dallas. The Cavaliers are now 0-6 ATS in their last six games and 2-8-1 ATS in the 11 games since losing Jarrett Allen to injury. Making matters worse is the absence of Evan Mobley, who did not play yesterday and is still out today with an ankle injury. The Mavericks put up 1.277 points per possession in the win on Wednesday, and it’s hard to expect much from this defense without its top two defenders. Atlanta has seemingly shaken its title of ‘most overvalued team’ and comes in on a 4-1 SU and ATS run in which it has put up a 120.7 offensive rating. It’s a hard pass on anything Cleveland at this point.

Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz (-9.5, 225.5)

LeBron James is and Anthony Davis is doubtful so Russell Westbrook gets another crack at running the show solo. Those games have not gone well, but they get a dreadful Utah team that is 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five games and coming off a blown 25-point lead to the Clippers on Tuesday night. That poor run extends to the beginning of March for the Jazz, as the team is 4-12 ATS this month. It might be tempting to just fade the Lakers here, but it’s not that simple. Bojan Bogdanovic is still out for Utah, and the team has allowed 114.4 points per 100 possessions during this 16-game slump which is an average defensive rating at best. The betting market is up to -13 here because of the absences of both James and Davis, but these two teams are in terrible form and I cannot touch either in good conscience.  

Best Bets Summary

Bucks (+ 2)

Season Record: 78-63-2

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