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, April 7th
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors (-2, 215.5)
It seems extremely likely that these two teams will be meeting in a first-round playoff series, but bettors should expect both to come out with full motivation to win tonight given how beneficial a strong end to the regular season would be for these two teams. For Toronto, there is still a fleeting chance at the fourth seed – 2.6% according to Basketball-Reference – and Philadelphia can get to as high as second to avoid a series with these Raptors. Therein lies the intrigue with this game, and an eventual series, between these two teams. Matisse Thybulle is ineligible to play tonight in Toronto due to the Canadian vaccine mandates, and that would be the case for a playoff series. Thybulle is a fantastic defender, and his absence will be a massive blow for a 76ers team struggling to find consistency on that end of the floor. Philadelphia is 13th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency in its last 18 games (113.7), and in the possessions that James Harden runs the show without Joel Embiid they have a -9.8 net rating due to a defense giving up 1.25 points per possession. Those numbers also include Thybulle, and when both Embiid and Thybulle are removed the net rating plummets farther to -18.1 and the defensive efficiency balloons to 1.295 per possession allowed. In the big picture that is troubling, and in a matchup like tonight it is troubling as well. As the Raptors have become healthier their play has improved. The team is 12-3 SU/11-4 ATS in its last 15 games with the third-best defensive rating over that span (108.5) and an offense averaging 117.0 points per 100 possessions. They will be able to exploit the minutes in which Embiid rests, and their love for transition offense will be a problem for a 76ers team that comes in 28th in both opponent points added per 100 possessions through transition (+ 3.5) and defensive efficiency in transition (131.5 points per 100 plays allowed). If OG Anunoby plays tonight it’s a bonus for Toronto, but I believe them to be a poor matchup for the 76ers and I will play this game as such. The betting market seems to disagree, as this number is now PK or Philadelphia -1 at most shops, but that same market has overvalued this team and it is 5-12 ATS in its last 17 as a result.
Play: Raptors (+ 1)
*Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (-4.5, 227)
Boston and Milwaukee sit at second and third respectively in the Eastern Conference standings with a half-game separating the two, so this game will go a long way toward deciding which team will take the second seed at season’s end. It is hard to gauge which team desires taking that seed, and that plays a massive factor in this handicap tonight. Milwaukee has been vocal about seeding and potential opponent not mattering as the season ends, so if we take that at face value we can expect a full effort from the Bucks. Boston is playing the second leg of a back-to-back, but after a slaughtering of Chicago last night it seems that the Celtics are gunning for as good a finish as possible. If that is the case then this number is somewhat inflated in comparison to mine. The betting market has pushed this up to Milwaukee -6.5 this morning, which would indicate that the Bucks are 4.5 points better than the Celtics on a neutral. That is not the case by ratings, but without a clear injury report this is unplayable right now. If Boston is at full strength the Celtics will be a play for me.
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves (-7.5, 238)
This defensive swoon from Minnesota lately is troubling, and it has led to some poor results. The Timberwolves are 3-5 SU and ATS in their last eight games, but over the course of their last seven contests opponents have averaged 121.4 points per 100 possessions. They allowed 1.255 per possession to the Wizards in their latest loss as a 12-point favorite, and here they are today laying 8.5 against San Antonio. The Spurs are red-hot despite key role players missing time, coming into this game 7-1 SU and ATS in their last nine games. Again today the injury report is lengthy for San Antonio.
Doug McDermott, Dejounte Murray and Jock Landale will all miss this game, and Lonnie Walker is questionable to play. Gregg Popovich started Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, Joshua Primo and Jakob Poeltl in the win over Denver the other day and the Spurs won by limiting the Nuggets to 0.96 points per possession. I highly doubt they will be able to do that tonight, but I would not bank on the Timberwolves playing enough defense to cover a number like this either.
Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets (-2, 232.5)
Denver has a lot on the line tonight, and Memphis has nothing to play for. That motivation is likely why the betting market is all over the Nuggets tonight, but I am skeptical about this number. Denver clinches a playoff spot with a win over Memphis tonight. However, this team is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games with a 118.6 defensive rating which has led to them being outscored by 0.3 points per 100 possessions despite having the eighth-best offensive rating over that span (118.3). In short, the Nuggets just aren’t a team worth betting right now and yet the market has jumped on this number because they have something on the line. There is certainly a scenario in which the Grizzlies rest their starters late in this game with nothing on the line, but if that does not happen bettors are laying an inflated number with a poor defensive team.
Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets (-13, 227.5)
Charlotte has found itself standing in the game of musical chairs that has been the Eastern Conference play-in seeds. The Hornets have lost consecutive games with a 1-3 SU and ATS record in their last three due to a horrendous defense that has allowed 288 points in the last two games. Now bettors are supposed to lay double digits with this team? It is Orlando or pass here for me. The Magic might be 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games, but there is no way I would be comfortable eating 13 and hoping for one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA to stave off any team by 14 points.
Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans (-16, 223)
New Orleans has clinched its spot in the Western Conference play-in, but now it must lock in its spot as the ninth seed and host of the secondary play-in game. The Pelicans will be motivated to grab this one, but can they cover a number like this? If Portland is going to play like it has recently, then its certainly a possibility, but there is no value in a number like this. Jonas Valanciunas is questionable to play for New Orleans, and if he cannot go then New Orleans will be without a key cog to its dominant offensive rebounding.
Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors (-10.5, 224)
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are questionable to play and as a result the betting market has blown this number up to Golden State -12.5 at most shops. The Warriors have won their last two and covered the last three, but this is hardly a team worth laying a number like this with. One of those wins was a 21-point comeback against Utah! James still needs a couple games under his belt to qualify for the scoring title, so I would expect to see him tonight and this number should shrink greatly if he goes.
Best Bets Summary
Raptors (+ 1)
Season Record: 82-63-2