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, and make sure to subscribe the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!
All game lines via the VSiN NBA Odds page.
It was a great night for home teams on Tuesday, as they went 4-0 SU and ATS, taking the lead back from road teams for the season. The median result for teams at home is up to 2.0 which speaks to what we have hit on here in this column. This is going to bounce around early in the year, but water will find its level and I’m confident we will have another year where 1.5 is the homecourt advantage number.
The night game in Phoenix was off to a fantastic and fun start, but in the second half Klay Thompson got ejected because the referees got a bit thin-skinned. It was a ridiculous night for the officials which ruined an awesome regular season game between two potential title contenders.
It is a perfect reason to bust out this gem though!
Market Report for Wednesday, October 26th
* Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 5-4 | Units: + 0.55 | ROI: + 6.11
Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz (-6, 232.5)
Two nights ago, the betting market believed that Utah should be favored in Houston by two points and the Jazz went on to lose outright, taking their first loss of the season. The Rockets consistently attacked the paint on Monday night, going 16-of-24 within four feet of the basket while drawing seven shooting fouls on those attempts, and they were great in halfcourt settings with an average of 1.011 points per play. The biggest factor was Houston’s rebounding. Utah has built its success on strong rebounding on the offensive end. They currently lead the league in offensive rebounding rate (36.3%) and putback plays per 100 misses (27.8) while averaging 19.5 second chance points per game. The Rockets only had one fewer offensive rebound than the Jazz in their win on Monday, and they limited them to 15 second chance points. Replicating that success on the glass will be at the top of the list for Houston tonight.
A look at the number tells us that the market is not budging in its rating for Utah despite the loss to Houston on Monday. The Jazz closed -2 in that contest, and if we’re using the 1.5 points for homecourt then that would translate to Jazz -3.5 on a neutral and -5 at home. Factor in the market loving the immediate revenge angle and you get the extra point baked into this line. Even as I type this there are spots popping -7 on the board. On Monday we correctly assumed that the market was incorrect in its rating of Utah and why not go back on that angle tonight? Utah might be better than initially thought when the season began, but to say through four games that this team is 3.5 points better than a team it rated almost identically to in the preseason is too strong. Jalen Green, Kevin Porter and Jabari Smith all proved to be a bit much for the Jazz defense, and Utah is getting minimal offensive production from its own backcourt. Give me Houston once more tonight.
Play: Rockets (+ 7)
Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers (-1, 222.5)
Miami’s offense has been tough to watch early in the season. The team is averaging just 106.7 points per 100 possessions, the bench is averaging just 28.8 points per game and they are shooting 33.6% from beyond the arc. The first game of a west coast trip against an undefeated team might not seem like the best time to come in and try to buy low on the Heat, but that is what I am going to do tonight. Miami had the unfortunate task of playing Boston and Toronto for three of its first four games of the season. Those are two long and athletic teams with dynamic wings that can play on both ends of the floor and rebound relatively well. That is not going to be what they face tonight in Portland. The Trail Blazers are a backcourt oriented team, with Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons driving the bus when it comes to offensive production. Miami has the pieces defensively to handle those two, as well as any team can.
On top of that, the Trail Blazers started to show their true colors on defense in their win over Denver, allowing 1.186 points per possession in the win the other night. That was overshadowed by an incredibly efficient performance from Portland’s offense, namely Simons and Lillard who combined for 58 points on 20-of-32 shooting from the floor. Miami is better than what it has shown, albeit worse than last season. I made them the small favorite here and have been looking to play against the Blazers so we will do it tonight.
Play: Heat (+ 1)
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets (-6, 227.5)
Russell Westbrook is doubtful to play tonight with a hamstring injury which could be a small blessing for Los Angeles. Not to say that all the issues that this team is dealing with fall on Westbrook’s shoulders, but the numbers do not lie. When he is off the floor and LeBron James is on the floor their net rating is -2.9 compared to -5.8 when they play together. In a minuscule sample size the Lakers are + 13.2 when James and Anthony Davis play together without Westbrook on the floor. Without Westbrook on the floor opposing centers do not just get to sag off him and play the paint. They will now have to respect Davis on the perimeter, and the spacing becomes much better for the Lakers’ offense. They also get the benefit of facing a Nuggets team which has struggled on defense, allowing 123.1 points per 100 possessions through the first four games of the season.
Denver has not struggled on offense though, but if the Lakers have had a strength early in this season it has been on defense. They have allowed 105.4 points per 100 possessions, and 86.7 points per 100 plays in halfcourt settings. Without Westbrook that will not change, and the bonus in this matchup Los Angeles has been its pace. The Nuggets have struggled somewhat in transition defense, and the Lakers have the second highest rate of transition frequency (21.1%). They have not been very efficient in those possessions, but against a bad transition defense that floor should be raised.
Play: Lakers (+ 6)
Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks (-4, 233.5)
All eyes should be on Ben Simmons tonight when Brooklyn hits the floor in Milwaukee. On paper, Simmons is the only physically capable defender of matching up with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but his return to basketball has been rough. He has fouled out in two of Brooklyn’s three games and statistically he’s been a massive negative on defense. Much of that is due to the Nets’ inability to defend as a team, but Simmons contributing nothing cannot happen, especially in a matchup like this.
Milwaukee’s offense has been average to start the season, putting up 111.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time in the two games its played, but much of that has been due to hole at small forward where three players are missing due to injury. The Bucks will likely find some success on that end of the floor tonight (See their win over Houston in which they put up 1.287 points per possession). This line has moved in the direction of Brooklyn, but only by a half point to -3.5 consensus. We’ve also seen this total just sit around the open of 233.5 at most shops. The line move is interesting, but not enough to jump on, as my buy price will be 2.5 here.
Philadelphia 76ers (-1, 215.5) at Toronto Raptors
Is everything fixed for Philadelphia after beating down Indiana on Monday night? The 76ers put up 1.322 points per possession in non-garbage time, the bench put up 35 points and they covered and won for the first time this season. Safe to say not everything is copacetic in the City of Brotherly Love after a win over one of the worst teams in the league, and tonight will be a great test for this team and Joel Embiid which has been dealing with some conditioning issues early.
Toronto has essentially been itself in the first four games of the season. It is allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions on defense, 33.6% from beyond the arc and has absolutely shut teams out of transition opportunities. Tonight they will likely throw a ton of doubles on Embiid, wearing him down and forcing others to get involved. The market has been stuck on -1 since open, and while my ratings would say there is value in that number for the 76ers I’m not going to jump on it. Philadelphia is clearly working out some issues and Embiid needs to be at full strength to really buy into my rating on them. Keep in mind that Scottie Barnes is questionable as well, so if he plays its likely Toronto goes off as a small favorite.
Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers (-8.5, 219)
The betting market seems to be somewhat high on Orlando this season, but the team is 1-3 ATS to start the season and its offense has averaged just 107.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes. Their size up front should be an advantage against most teams, but tonight they face Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen so that advantage is somewhat negated. Darius Garland is still sidelined with that eye injury he suffered in the opener, so this Cavaliers team has been extremely reliant on Donovan Mitchell to generate its offense. When he isn’t on the floor Cleveland is averaging just 98.5 points per 100 possessions which is gross.
Atlanta Hawks (-7, 228) at Detroit Pistons*
Detroit’s horrid defense reared its ugly head yet again on Tuesday night, allowing 1.224 points per possession in a 21-point loss to Washington. That is not something that I love to see as someone who has a win total wager on them to go Over, and its not great for a game against Atlanta. When Dejounte Murray and Trae Young are on the floor together the Hawks have an offensive rating of 118.8 but it is a very small sample size. Meanwhile, the solo minutes with those two on the floor have been a nightmare. With only Young the Hawks are -24.0 per 100 possessions and with only Murray they are -19.6 per 100 possessions. The team is missing Bogdan Bogdanovic and he it still out tonight.
Charlotte Hornets at New York Knicks (-7.5, 226.5)
Charlotte is dealing with a ton of injuries, but the market has not budged from the opening line here. LaMelo Ball is still out with his ankle injury and both Cody Martin and Terry Rozier are doubtful to play. That means three starters on the sidelines for the Hornets, but the consensus line is still sitting at -7.5 in favor of New York. This is a line identical to what the Knickerbockers were laying to both Orlando and Detroit, so do you rate this version of the Hornets the same as you do those two teams? If you don’t then there is value on one side or another here.
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves (-9, 231.5)
Karl-Anthony Towns is calling out Anthony Edwards for his diet, the Spurs and Jazz are going to Minnesota and winning outright and the Timberwolves are off to an inauspicious start to the season. There’s still 78 games left on the schedule, so pardon me if I do not jump ship in October. Minnesota’s bench is not going to have Kyle Anderson or Austin Rivers tonight, so that is a small problem for a team that has some depth. The Spurs have been a market darling early, but the real move here has been on the total which is up to 233 consensus.
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls (-8, 233.5)
Chicago’s offense woke up against Boston and put up 1.191 points per possession in a 120-102 win on Monday. Their defense, surprisingly, continues to deliver and has allowed just 110.5 points per 100 possessions through four games. I would bank on that regressing at some point, but tonight might not be the night to test that theory. Indiana has been competent on offense (115.3) but its defense has been atrocious which will likely keep it from covering here. It’s probably why this total is so high, but that’s just a guess.
Best Bet Recap
Rockets (+ 7)
Heat (+ 1)
Lakers (+ 6)