NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 10/20

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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 Recap for Tuesday, Oct. 19th

It was a solid opening night for the NBA, and the betting market nailed both contests. Milwaukee was supported at the window in the 24 hours leading up to tip-off after a major move made them a 1.5-point underdog on Monday. The Bucks peaked at -2 before ultimately closing -1.5 and the cruised to a 127-104 win and cover. Bettors were all over this total as well, dropping it a full seven points and the game still went under the closing total of 233.5 at most shops.

In the nightcap, the Warriors used a strong fourth quarter in which they scored 38 points to outlast the Lakers 121-114 for an outright win and cover as a 3.5-point underdog. Los Angeles peaked at -5 in the week prior, so the line move won out here as well. The total move was incorrect here, going from 230.5 to 226 but going over the close by 9 points.

Market Report for Wednesday, Oct. 20th

Today we get our first full slate of games, with 11 contests set to tip-off this evening. There are plenty of injury notes and line moves to cover, so let’s get started.

*Lines listed are opening numbers

Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets (-2, 225.5)

Injuries are plaguing the Indiana Pacers early this season, as there are seven players on their latest injury report. Malcolm Brogdon will be available, but Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb are questionable and Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren and Kelan Martin have already been ruled out. Charlotte is a team that has a lot of indicators of regression this season, but they have better health and the “playoff revenge” angle in their favor that so many handicappers love to play early in the year. The time to play against Charlotte is coming, but this spot is not it.  

Chicago Bulls (-3, 220.5) at Detroit Pistons

Chicago is now -5 across the board and that is due to support at the window and the absence of rookie Cade Cunningham who was ruled out yesterday. Chicago seems to be a strong public side here and will likely be moving forward until things go south. Keep in mind, it is not a clean bill of health for the Bulls today as Coby White will not play as he continues to recover from an offseason procedure on his shoulder. I do not have a play here, but I would stress to exercise caution with an offseason darling like Chicago. This is a team with little bench scoring without White and defense that should rank in the bottom half of the NBA this season. Not a great combination for a publicly supported road favorite, even if it is the Pistons. The total has dropped 1-2 points depending on your shop, mostly due to the absence of White and Cunningham.

Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors (-2.5, 219)

Toronto will be without Pascal Siakam until mid-November as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but there is still plenty to like about the team in the post-Kyle Lowry era. They project to be an elite transition team, both offensively and defensively, as well as a high-quality defensive team overall. There will be questions about a halfcourt offense that finished 20th in offensive efficiency last season, but that is big picture analysis. Tonight, the situation for Toronto fascinates me. This will be the first game the Raptors have not played in front of their home crowd for 600 days, as the pandemic forced them to play home games in Tampa this past season. Toronto has always had a strong homecourt, but the first game back in a true homecourt setting after that much time is a unique setting. Washington has injury concerns as well. Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and Cassius Winston will all be sidelined today.

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks (-1, 216)

We saw the market move to Knicks -2 when the injury report was released with Jaylen Brown listed as ‘questionable’ to play as he works toward reconditioning after testing positive for COVID. Celtics coach Ime Udoka has expressed positivity when it comes to Brown’s availability tonight, so would expect the market to move back toward Knicks -1 when it is confirmed he is active. New York’s frontcourt is in flux heading into this meeting with Boston, so keep that in mind. Nerlens Noel is doubtful to play and it is unknown what the role or status of Mitchell Robinson, who has not played since breaking his foot in March, will be. Taj Gibson is the most likely candidate to start at center for New York at The Garden. Bettors can gamble a bit here and grab + 2 with the Celtics this morning, as this will move back toward Boston if Brown is announced as active. Despite the questions around Brown the total has jumped to 218.5 at most spots. Noel missing this game and Robinson playing just one game in the preseason figures to make this Knicks defense slightly worse, and thus it is worth a slight adjustment to a higher total.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies (-8.5, 217.5)

We’ve seen a point adjustment here from the open of Memphis -8.5 to -7.5 and that is mostly due to the absence of Dillon Brooks who is recovering from a broken hand. Brooks has emerged as an important piece for this Memphis team, and in the possessions without him last season the Grizzlies posted a -4.7 net rating. He is worth the adjustment on the line, but against a lowly opponent his absence might not be felt as much. Cleveland’s offense struggled in the preseason, averaging less than a point per possession, and the noise around Collin Sexton’s failed contract negotiations continues to persist. Rookie Evan Mobley was a force for Cleveland defensively in the preseason, averaging 1.6 blocks and 7.6 rebounds, and his presence, along with a struggling offense and absence of a key offensive player in Memphis, is why this game is the second-lowest totals on the board today.

Philadelphia 76ers (-2, 227.5) at New Orleans Pelicans

The betting market is a funny thing. All offseason the Philadelphia 76ers have been preparing to start the season without Ben Simmons, and despite his return to team activities it was unknown what his status would be for today. Philadelphia reached as high as -4.5 against Minnesota, but news of the Simmons suspension has pushed this as low as -2.5 as of this morning. Is the absence of a player who was never confirmed to be available worth two points to the betting line? I would argue no. I bet Philadelphia about two weeks ago at -2 and would recommend grabbing the -2.5 at Circa before it disappears. Zion Williamson is not available for New Orleans, a team that was outscored by 5.2 points every 100 possessions without him last season.

Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves (-4.5, 228)

I am high on Minnesota this season and believe them to be undervalued by the betting market, and that is supported by the number being driven up from -4.5 to -5.5 where it sits at almost every shop. The Timberwolves have some injury questions with their depth, as both Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell are questionable to play, but with the core of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards available this will be a potent offense. Chris Finch improved this team’s offensive efficiency by 6.5 points when he took over last seasonn and they ended the campaign on a 7-5 ATS stretch. The Timberwolves showed real improvement and that figures to carry over into this season, where they will be a bet on team early. Houston’s poor depth could be worse today if Danuel House, who is questionable to play, misses the game. Hard to recommend a play that has moved a point already, but with the volatility in NBA scoring losing a point is not the worst thing in the world. It is Timberwolves or pass here.

Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs (-5.5, 214)

Orlando is my lowest power rated team in the league right now, and the market agrees as they are a 5.5-point underdog to a Spurs team with a win total of 29.5. Their roster is thin, and injury riddled, as five players are set to miss this contest. Markelle Fultz, Michael Carter-Williams and Jonathan Isaac are not surprises to be sidelined, but Chuma Okeke’s absence gives Orlando a massive void at power forward. Expect the Magic to be one of the worst offensive teams in the league, and this Spurs team has some talent. San Antonio finished 8th in net rating this preseason and has all the pieces to be an average team in this league. In the grand scheme of things, that might not be worth much, but against the likes of a beat-up Orlando team it means a lot.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz (-12, 220.5)

These two clubs are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Utah is one of the highest power rated teams in the league with a veteran core and championship aspirations. Oklahoma is the youngest team in the league on average, and one of the lowest power rated teams. Utah will not haave Rudy Gay available today, but their core starting lineup that outscored opponents by 11.1 points every 100 possessions last season is healthy. Utah can cover this number and it is why the market has yet to budge off the opening line of Jazz -12 at most shops. Oklahoma City should improve as the season goes on, but the youth proliferating this roster could lead to some ugly results early this season.

Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers (-5, 232.5)

Sacramento transitioned to a guard dominant lineup in the preseason, and the results were positive as the Kings finished 4-0 SU and ATS. Marvin Bagley has been removed from the starting lineup, and Sacramento has a truly high ceiling as an offensive team this season. Their ability to attack the rim and score in the paint could be a problem for a Portland team that finished 29th in defensive efficiency and 15th in rim defense. The Trail Blazers’ key personnel remain unchanged from last season, so bettors could yet again see a team that can score with the best but struggle to defend, which makes Sacramento an intriguing underdog that I will be supporting tonight. It should also not be a surprise to see this total climb by the time we get to tip-off tonight.

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns (-6, 224)

Denver is one of the most intriguing teams this season given the strength of their starting five, even without Jamal Murray, but weak bench. Their projected starting lineup averaged 132.1 points per 100 possessions on offense, but that was over the course of a 112 possessions sample size. Those numbers will obviously regress as the sample size grows, but there is still a very elite offense on the floor here. However, this bench is thin with Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers serving as the primary backcourt options behind Monte Morris and Will Barton. Phoenix is going to begin this season as one of the highest power rated teams in the league, and this number has yet to budge from the open. The Nuggets have playoff revenge in their corner, but can a situational handicap outweigh the shortcomings of this bench?

Best Bets Summary

Philadelphia -2.5

Sacramento + 5

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