NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 1/19


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 Wednesday, January 19th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Brooklyn Nets (-2, 229.5) at Washington Wizards

The lack of depth in the frontcourt was apparent for Brooklyn in its loss to Cleveland on Monday, and that issue will likely be the center of attention here again tonight. Rookies Day’Ron Sharpe and Kessler Edwards started that game up front for the Nets and the result was a 20-of-24 shooting night at the rim for Cleveland with a 33.3% offensive rebounding rate in halfcourt situations. This is not to say all of the struggles in that game fall on those two, but with Nic Claxton out yet again this frontcourt rotation is going to be in shambles. That matters against a team like Washington that is not only strong up front, but also generates most of its offense inside. The Wizards take a third of their shot attempts at the rim and they lead the league in rim shooting (70.8%). Against a frontcourt pairing that allows opponents to shoot 70.6% from that area of the floor it seems like this could be a troublesome matchup. Especially once you consider the poor on-ball defenders at the point of attack in James Harden and Kyrie Irving. I do not know if the situation is dire enough for Brooklyn to be catching points on the road, but I do agree with this total getting bumped up to 231.5 at the shops that have the number up.

Orlando Magic @ Philadelphia 76ers (-11.5, 213)

Philadelphia comes into this contest off the loss to Washington on Monday in which its defense put forth a lackadaisical effort. The Wizards shot 17-of-22 at the rim, drew seven shooting fouls on those attempts and averaged 1.035 point per play in the halfcourt. That is somewhat surprising given how good the 76ers are in halfcourt defense this season, but those are not likely to be issues against Orlando. The Magic have little presence inside, ranking 18th in frequency of attempts inside four feet (31.5%) and 24th in rim shooting (61.9%). Orlando generates what little offense it gets from the perimeter by taking 38.6% of its attempts from deep, but the team shoots just 32.6% from that area of the floor which leads to some poor offensive showings. It’s a tough matchup for the road team here given how well the 76ers can defend the perimeter. They rank ninth in opponent 3-point shooting (34.6%) and lead the league in frequency of tightly contest 3-point attempts (6.5%). There is not much hope that Orlando will be able to score efficiently here, and on the other end we have one of the slowest paced teams in the NBA. It seems like the perfect recipe for a low-scoring affair.

Play: UNDER 213.5

Charlotte Hornets @ Boston Celtics (-6, 220.5)

Both teams enter this contest on a 5-1 SU run in their last six games, but it is Charlotte who has delivered at the window with a 5-1 ATS record over this stretch. While the wins have been there for the Celtics they are just 3-3 ATS with failed covers as a favorite against both Indiana and Chicago. Interestingly, the driving force for both teams during these respective runs has been defense. Boston has allowed just 105.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time to its six opponents while Charlotte leads the league in defensive efficiency at 102.9 over this small sample size. Three of the Hornets’ opponents during this run rank 19th or lower in offensive efficiency this season, so it’s fair to call into question the defensive output we’ve seen from them lately. However, it’s not like Boston is lighting the world on fire on that end of the floor. It enters this contest 22nd in offensive efficiency (109.7), and in three of these six games the team has been held to fewer than 1.072 points per possession. The overnight line was clearly too high for two teams that are very closely matched, and it would not be surprising to see this continue to head in Charlotte’s direction. The Celtics are too inconsistent on offense, and those inconsistencies are represented to an extent in the team’s 12-15 ATS record as a favorite.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Miami Heat (-9, 215.5)

As the injury report shrinks for Miami the win column continues to grow. Since Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup on Dec. 26 the Heat are 8-3 SU/6-5 ATS, but they come into this contest on a 5-2 SU/6-1 ATS run. The team also got Bam Adebayo back on the floor on Monday, meaning the only member of this starting five missing today will be Kyle Lowry. In the 11 games with Butler on the floor Miami has outscored opponents by 7.4 points every 100 possessions and their offensive rating of 117.9 in non-garbage time minutes is third-best in the league. Adebayo has not been a positive on the offensive end of the floor this season, but when he is playing the Heat allow 6.7 fewer points every 100 possessions so it is likely we see this team improve defensively as he gets more time under his belt. Portland is getting healthier too though. CJ McCollum returned on Monday when the Trail Blazers won and covered against the Magic, and the team has quietly put together a 4-1 SU and ATS run over the last five games. Three of those four wins have come over teams ranked 20th or lower in net rating, so this meeting with Miami is a massive step up in competition. 

*Minnesota Timberwolves @ Atlanta Hawks (-2, 233)

When the Minnesota Timberwolves are at full strength they are a different animal. Minnesota closed their win over New York on an 8-0 run to improve to 11-7 SU/12-6 ATS over the last 18 games. The core of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards are + 15.3 when on the floor together, and their “death lineup” with those three, Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt is a staggering + 31.2 per 100 possessions. One would assume the Timberwolves are a dominant, unstoppable force with numbers like that, but their production suffers when any one of Towns, Edwards or Russell leave the floor. It’s why a team like Atlanta is perfectly capable of winning a game like this. Despite all the issues the Hawks have on defense this offense is still able to score with the best of the teams in the NBA. They put up 1.2 points per possession on Monday against the Bucks and have averaged at least 1.187 per possession over the last three contests. Having said that, I find it hard to see this any higher then -2 and the market agrees. It’s down to -1.5 at most shops which would tell us the Timberwolves are the higher rated team, and that is the case when it comes to my numbers.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-2, 215) @ Chicago Bulls

If you were wondering when the betting market would adjust its perception of Chicago look no further than this game here. The Bulls are in tough slump right now, heading into this contest on a 3-7 ATS slide in its last 10 games. The team has also lost its last four contests, and since Nov. 29 they are 27th in defensive efficiency (116.1). Obviously, one must adjust when the results are that poor, but this seems like an overcorrection. Cleveland has won five straight and is 7-2 SU/4-4-1 ATS in the month of January, but is this version of the Cavaliers really five points better on a neutral than the Bulls right now? Alex Caruso comes back tonight, albeit on a minutes restriction, and Chicago still has DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Coby White available. The initial move here was toward Cleveland, but the betting market is starting to head in Chicago’s direction. The Cavaliers are playing their fourth game in six nights, three of which have come on the road, so the situation is not as favorable either. I would expect this number closes on the opening line of -2 or even lower.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Milwaukee Bucks (-4.5, 225.5)

Milwaukee’s slump continued Monday when it blew a fourth quarter lead in Atlanta to fall to 2-6 SU and ATS in its last eight games. Defense was the issue for the Bucks in their most recent loss, but over the course of this entire slide it has been an offense which has managed just 108.2 points per 100 possessions that has been the team’s downfall. Even Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play has been subpar recently, as the Greek Freak has shot just 37.8% from the floor over the last two contests. However, Milwaukee could be getting Jrue Holiday back today and the Memphis Grizzlies seem to be dealing with a COVID outbreak. Desmond Bane, Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson were added to health and safety protocols yesterday, and Dillon Brooks remains out with an ankle sprain. The Grizzlies have dealt with this adversity before, so it’s not surprising to see that this number peaked at 6.5 before some buyback came in on the road team. Memphis leads the league in defensive efficiency since the end of November, and their defensive philosophies borrow heavily from Mike Budenholzer as Taylor Jenkins is a former assistant. It would not be surprising to see a tight affair between these two clubs tonight.

Toronto Raptors @ Dallas Mavericks (-3.5, 206.5)

Like with any other team, improved health has led to better results for the Dallas Mavericks. Since Luka Doncic returned the Mavericks are 8-1 SU/6-3 ATS with a + 12.9 net rating in non-garbage time minutes, and they have done it with defense. Opponents have averaged just 99.4 points per 100 possessions in those nine contests which is by far the best defensive rating in the league over that stretch. It is worth pointing out that seven of the Mavericks’ opponents during this run are ranked 14th or lower in offensive efficiency, but the team deserves credit for not allowing subpar offensive opponents to operate efficiently. However, Dallas has not been as solid on offense since Doncic returned (112.3 offensive rating) which makes this meeting with Toronto an intriguing one. Since the end of November the Raptors have the sixth-best defensive rating in the league (108.7) and the third-best defensive turnover rate (16.1%). It is why this total opened as low as it did. The two teams also rank 23rd or lower in pace, which means this contest could be a slog from opening tip. It also means that Gary Trent Jr.’s status is extremely important for the Raptors. He’s missed the last five games with an ankle injury, and should he be available his offense could be enough to tip the scales in favor of the underdog.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ San Antonio Spurs (-6, 220.5)

Oklahoma City continues to prove that it has been underrated by the betting market, but the bettors refuse to listen. The Thunder fell 104-102 in Dallas on Monday to improve to 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine contests. Oklahoma City is tied with Cleveland for the best cover rate in the league (66.7%), but the market has moved against them yet again today. San Antonio is up to -7.5 on the board right now, and it’s a move that seems somewhat perplexing given the way the Thunder have played lately. It’s even more perplexing given the recent play of the Spurs. San Antonio comes into this contest 2-10 SU/4-8 ATS over its last 12 games with the third-worst net rating in the league (-9.2) over that span. In fact, the Thunder are 4.1 points better than the Spurs in net rating in the same stretch! Players like Keldon Johnson and Derrick White have missed games during this slide, but have been back in the lineup for some time now. It seems like an oddly strong push of support for the home team given the seemingly opposite directions the two squads are heading. 

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz (-13, 235)

Last time out Utah blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against Stanley Johnson and the Lakers, and during that loss Donovan Mitchell suffered a concussion. Mitchell, along with Hassan Whiteside who remains in COVID protocol, will not be available tonight against Houston. That has not deterred the betting market from bumping this number up a half-point which shouldn’t be surprising given how poorly the Rockets are rated. Houston has won two of three, but those victories came against Sacramento and San Antonio. Over the longer haul the Rockets enter this contest 3-12 SU and ATS in the last 15 games played. The defense has been atrocious, posting a defensive rating under 115.4 just three times since Dec. 9, so even without Mitchell in the fold the Jazz should handle this matchup with relative ease. Having said that, the betting market tends to overvalue Utah and its homecourt advantage. This season the Jazz are 14-8 SU but 8-14 ATS in Salt Lake City and they have not covered there since Dec. 15 against the Clippers.

*Detroit Pistons @ Sacramento Kings (-5.5, 220.5)

As mentioned in yesterday’s column, the results have been wild for the Detroit Pistons. The team fell to 5-5 SU and ATS in the month of January in the loss to Golden State last night, and those five losses have come by an average of 29.6 points. How in the world does one handicap a team like that on a nightly basis? Obviously this contest with Sacramento figures to be much tighter, but which Pistons team is showing up tonight is a mystery. The Kings are 3-7 SU/4-6 ATS in the last 10 games with a 113.9 defensive rating that has been a massive problem, but the Pistons are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA and have put up just 103.3 points per 100 possessions on offense this month. Road games (3-19 SU/9-13 ATS) and second legs of back-to-backs (2-5 SU/3-4 ATS) have been extremely poor situations for Detroit, so it makes sense the betting market is up to -7 at every shop on the board. There figures to be some buyback on the home team at this price, but it won’t be any of my money.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets (-5.5, 213)

This is a massive revenge spot for the Denver Nuggets, and its likely one of the reasons the market is so heavy on the home team tonight. The last time these two squads met the Nuggets blew a 25-point lead to lose outright as a favorite in Los Angeles. Revenge is a great motivator, but being worth this much is questionable. The Clippers do have some redeeming qualities, namely the ability to defend at a relatively high level despite a dearth of offensive personnel. They held the Nuggets to under a point per possession in their win over a week ago, and four of their last seven opponents have been held to a 108.6 offensive rating or lower. Los Angeles could also get Luke Kennard back tonight which is a massive addition for this offense. The Clippers are + 2.6 points per 100 possessions with Kennard on the floor and their offensive rating improves to 109.3 in those minutes. That is actually a below average rating, but for this team it’s a massive upgrade. This number getting up to 8.5 at some shops seems pretty extreme and I would expect that is the peak for this line.

Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5, 222.5)

Since Dec. 15 the Indiana Pacers are the third-worst defensive team in the league, allowing opponents to average 117.9 points every 100 possessions. Over that same stretch they have a -6.4 net rating and their offense has been an inefficient mess. The team is 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS in its last four games and allowed the anemic Clippers offense to put up 139 points in regulation. Specifically, it has been the team’s rim and transition defense that has been a problem, which are two areas of the floor which the Lakers can take advantage. With LeBron James on the floor Los Angeles takes nearly 40% of its attempts at the rim and they rank in 85th percentile of lineups in transition frequency on offense. It seems that this is a matchup that very much works in favor of the Lakers who might have Carmelo Anthony back on the floor tonight.

Play: Lakers (-4.5)

Best Bets Summary

Magic/76ers UN (213.5)

Lakers (-4.5)

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