NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Tuesday 12/21


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 Tuesday, December 21st

Only five games on the board tonight, but plenty to discuss!

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks (-9.5, 206.5)

New York’s loss to Boston over the weekend dropped it to 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games and 2-7 SU and ATS in the month of December. Through those nine games the Knicks have been outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions, due in large part to defense that has a 116.9 rating. This roster is also in flux right now. Derrick Rose has not played since Thursday as he deals with an ankle injury, and six players, including RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, are currently in COVID protocol. The status of those players could change at any moment, but this number seems somewhat inflated for a team in New York’s form. The Pistons stayed inside + 10 last week in Indiana, and it’s hard to make the case that this Knicks roster right now is just a half-point worse than the Pacers. Detroit has not been as consistent covering numbers this month, going 1-7 SU/4-4 ATS in the eight games played, but they are coming off a win at home over the Heat. They held Miami to 0.947 points per possession and 13-of-43 from deep, and they could replicate a solid defensive performance tonight against a short-handed Knicks team. Even at full strength I do not make the number this high for New York, so I’ll back the ugly ‘dog once more tonight.

Play: Pistons (+ 8.5)

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat (PK, 208.5)

The injury situation for Miami somehow got worse over the weekend with the loss of PJ Tucker to a left leg injury that will cause him to miss this game tonight. That makes it six guys, including Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who are out with injury for the Heat, and Tyler Herro is questionable to play for the first time in over a week. Despite that, Miami has been able to deliver at the window, as their loss to Detroit on Sunday ruined a 4-1 SU and ATS run. At some point one would think the injuries become too much to overcome. Indiana has failed to cover their last two contests, and the market has shown an odd sense of respect for them. The Pacers are only 4-4 SU/3-4-1 ATS this month with + 2.6 net rating, but they have been priced much higher than their statistical profile indicates that they should. They were 10-point favorites last week against Detroit and did not cover, and that came after the team closed as a road favorite in Milwaukee. These two teams met on Dec. 3 in Indiana and Miami took the game 113-104 without Butler and Adebayo in the lineup. It makes sense that the Pacers would ultimately become the favorite here given the status of Miami’s roster, but do not punt on the Heat in this spot, especially if Herro can play.

Portland Trail Blazers (-1.5, 219) at New Orleans Pelicans

Portland has won and covered two straight, but a tight hamstring for Damian Lillard could derail that win streak. Lillard has been great since returning from a five-game absence, averaging 30.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 36.1% on 12.2 3-point attempts per game. In those two wins he combined to score 75 points on 55.3% shooting from the floor, but he is questionable to play tonight. There is no question Portland needs him if they are to extend this winning streak. The team is 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS in the games without Lillard this season, and when he is off the floor they are outscored by 6.8 points per 100 possessions. New Orleans has won three of four heading into this contest, and the betting market has had a sudden surge of respect for this team. They are 3-5 ATS this month, but have some solid wins, including the one they just took in Milwaukee over the weekend. Should Lillard play the Trail Blazers will be favored, and it will be a play for me on Portland. However, with his status a question that leaves them off the card for me in the column.

Minnesota Timberwolves (-1, 212.5) at Dallas Mavericks

The Timberwolves are riding a 4-0 SU and ATS win streak into tonight’s rematch with the Mavericks. Minnesota defeated Dallas 111-105 on Sunday using a fantastic 15-of-34 shooting night to hold them off at home. Tonight, the rematch takes place in Dallas, but the Mavericks are still missing plenty of personnel. Reggie Bullock, Josh Green and Maxi Kleber are in COVID protocol, and Luka Doncic remains out with an ankle injury. The Timberwolves have their own issues with five guys, including Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley, in protocol as well. However, they have Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell and that is still a lethal combination. When those two are on the floor without Edwards the Timberwolves have a + 24.5 net rating and average 1.25 points per possession. Those two combined for 46 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists on 14-of-31 shooting from the floor on Sunday, and Towns made 13 trips to the free throw line. The betting market has not budged from this number and I would not expect much movement here at all given the absences Dallas is dealing with. 

Phoenix Suns (-6.5, 219.5) at Los Angeles Lakers

Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Lakers are on a roll and it is no surprise that LeBron James is the driving force behind it. Los Angeles is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games and 7-5 SU and ATS in its last 12 which coincides with a dominant run from James. Since Nov. 24 he is averaging 28.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game on 50.9% shooting from the floor. With him on the floor the Lakers are outscoring opponents by 2.5 points per 100 possessions and their effective field goal percentage in those lineups ranks in the 93rd percentile of qualified lineups, according to Cleaning The Glass. However, the big difference tonight will be that Anthony Davis will not be on the floor due to a knee injury that will sideline him for an extended period of time. Not all is lost though, as Los Angeles is + 5.1 in the possessions when LeBron is playing without Davis. Given the loss Davis and the five other players in COVID protocol it is not surprising to see the Suns laying this number on the road, but it might have reached a point worth playing against. It is clear Los Angeles is better with James on the floor and he is playing his best basketball this season. Phoenix is 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS coming into this contest and Devin Booker is back from injury, but the Lakers seem to be in buy-low territory tonight.

Play: Lakers (+ 7.5)

Best Bets Summary

Pistons (+ 8.5)

Lakers (+ 7.5)

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