NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Tuesday 1/4

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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 Tuesday, January 4th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors (-5.5, 222.5)

After going through most of December on a heater the Spurs have fallen on some hard times. They enter this contest 0-3 SU/1-2 ATS in their previous three contests, and now COVID and injury are starting to alter the shape of this roster. Dejounte Murray, Doug McDermott and three others will miss this game due to injury or COVID which is a massive blow for an offense that was fourth in efficiency (115.5) last month. That lack of personnel is why the now whole Toronto Raptors are up to -6 at a few shops this morning. Toronto finally has its starting five back together for multiple games, and the return are solid. The Raptors are 2-1 SU/3-0 ATS in their last three games, and they enter on a longer 7-4 SU/9-2 ATS streak that started at the beginning of last month. Toronto’s regular starting lineup has been tremendous, posting a + 9.7 net rating by limiting opponents to 102.7 points per 100 possessions. It seems likely Toronto would be able to contain San Antonio, which has a 105.1 offensive rating in the possessions without Murray and McDermott on the floor. The total has been bumped up to 223 at a few shops, and this leads to my working theory of Raptors home games. Remember, only as much as 1,000 fans are allowed in building now and Toronto made the decision to not sell tickets at all and only allow family and friends in the building. It has led to a similar environment as the bubble and beginning of last season and both games went over the total by an average of 14.5 points. The friendly site lines could lead to some higher scoring affairs, through two games that has been the case. Let’s test theory ourselves and play this Over.

Play: OVER 222.5

*Memphis Grizzlies at Cleveland Cavaliers (-3, 217.5)

Ja Morant was incredible yet again last night. Morant finished with 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting while dishing 8 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. That makes it four consecutive games of 30+  points for Morant, but it is going to be much tougher for him to achieve that goal tonight against Cleveland. The Cavaliers might have lost Ricky Rubio for the season, but this still an immensely talented defensive team with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen on the floor. When those two are playing Cleveland allows just 100.7 points per 100 possessions and opponents shoot just 51.9% with four feet and 38.1% on short mid-range attempts 4-to-14 feet from the hoop. Morant lives in those areas of the floor, taking 76% of his shot attempts in those spots which makes for an intriguing matchup tonight. Morant’s point total has not been posted yet, but anything north of 26.5 is going to be worth looking at playing under. As far as the side is concerned, it is hard to get in front of this Memphis train. I did last night, and it kept rolling through Brooklyn for a fifth consecutive win and fourth cover in five contests.

Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-1.5, 209.5)

Seven players are out in COVID protocol for Indiana, but New York is laying just 1.5 at home which should tell you something about the state of their roster. The Knicks have Julius Randle, Kemba Walker and Nerlens Noel listed as out tonight with either COVID or injury, and Mitchell Robinson is questionable. The Pacers have covered their last two, both coming in the role of the underdog which has been much more favorable for them, as the team is 11-5 ATS when catching points, but 7-13-1 ATS as a favorite. Having said that, its hard to ask this team to cover in this situation given the mess this backcourt is. Due to the absences Indiana is starting a rookie backcourt in Duane Washington Jr. and Keifer Sykes and Lance Stephenson had to play 13 minutes for them against Cleveland the other night. New York might have its own issues in the frontcourt, but a majority of its starting five is still out there and both Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley are still coming off the bench. No play for me, but if there is a side to choose it would be the Knickerbockers.

Phoenix Suns (-7, 218.5) at *New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans couldn’t hold the rope for long against Utah last night and gave up 63 points in the second half to lose 115-104 for its second consecutive failed cover. Tonight, they catch the short-handed Suns who turned things around in a blowout of the Hornets on Sunday. Phoenix is still missing most of its frontcourt due to COVID protocol, but second-year pro Jalen Smith has been tremendous in his time starting at the five. In his last four games Smith is averaging 16.0 points and 10.5 rebounds on 56.1% shooting from the floor. His presence has allowed the Suns to maintain a quality level of play on defense which will be especially important against a Pelicans team that struggles to score within four feet of the basket. It’s a less than favorable situation for the Suns who are on the last game of a road trip with a meeting against the Clippers waiting for them, so it would be easy to look past a lesser opponent. The market has moved toward Phoenix here which is not surprising given the usual tax we see bettors charge teams on second legs of back-to-backs.

Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers (-7.5, 227.5)

Los Angeles has won three of four contests coming into tonight’s meeting with Sacramento, but the win over Minnesota last time out snapped the team’ 3-0 ATS run. The offense for the Lakers has been much better over this small run, putting up 119.8 points per 100 possessions and as a result they have a + 9.7 net rating. Much of that likely comes from facing lesser opponents like Memphis, Portland and Minnesota which is what Sacramento is. The Kings have their own 3-1 SU and ATS run going right now, but that is in spite of a defense giving up 111.1 points per 100 possessions and a -2.1 net rating. Of the two successful runs between these two teams it seems that the Lakers is the most legitimate which is why the market has this number this high. Los Angeles is also a healthy as they’ve been all season long. Only Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn are the impactful names on the injury report, giving LeBron James and Russell Westbrook a nearly full complement of weapons around them. The initial opener seems high for a team like the Lakers given how inconsistent the team has been, but it would not surprise me to see the Lakers take care of business tonight.

Best Bets Summary

Spurs/Raptors OV 222.5

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