NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 12/15

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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 Wednesday, December 15th

It is Wednesday my dudes. That means we get a massive slate of NBA action!

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Atlanta Hawks (-7.5, 225) at Orlando Magic

Atlanta comes in 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven games, a slide that coincides with the loss of Bogdan Bogdanovic to an ankle injury. His absence is a factor in this recent stretch of poor play, but the biggest culprit has been a defense that has allowed 114.8 points per 100 possessions during this seven-game stretch. That has led to the Hawks posting a -1.0 net rating despite having the seventh-best offense in the league over that span. Things will likely turn around against Orlando tonight, but even the worst offensive opponents can look better against a bad defense. The Magic have dropped 12 of 13 games, but they are 7-6-1 ATS in those contests despite a -12.3 net rating. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some support for Orlando here and have this number close slightly lower than its open. Given what we have seen from the Hawks on defense this season it is hard to swallow these many points on the road, even with an opponent like the Magic.

Houston Rockets at Cleveland Cavaliers (-8.5, 221)

When you rip off a 21-4-2 ATS run its pretty clear the betting market needs to adjust its rating of you, and that is exactly what we are getting here with the Cavaliers. After being favored just twice in the first 25 games of the season this contest marks the fifth consecutive game in which Cleveland is laying points. The time is coming to bet against the Cavaliers due to market inflation, but that time is not today. Houston might be 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 games, but their injury report is lengthy tonight. Eric Gordon, Jalen Green, Danuel House and Kevin Porter Jr. are all out and Christian Wood is questionable to play. On the other side, rookie sensation Evan Mobley is questionable to play with hip soreness. Cleveland’s opponent will be included in the best bets of this column soon, but there are better and healthier opponents to take that shot with than the short-handed Rockets tonight. 

Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers (-5.5, 207)

Injuries are the story of this contest as well with both teams submitting some important names on their early report. Miami will still not have Jimmy Butler back from his tailbone injury and Tyler Herro is questionable to play. On the other end, both Seth Curry and Joel Embiid are questionable as well. Handicapping this contest is all about information which is something we do not have at this moment. Miami has been struggling on offense lately, which coincides with the rash of injuries the team has suffered, and that could be a problem if Embiid plays. With him on the floor Philadelphia is allowing just 105.3 points per 100 possessions while outscoring opponents by 6.2 points. If Embiid plays the market will likely bump this up to -6 but there are just so many unknowns hovering around this game it is easy to scratch off and move on.

Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks (-1, 216)

Dallas has won and covered its last two games despite not having Luka Doncic on the floor and they must do the same tonight, as Doncic is set to miss his third consecutive contest. The Mavericks blew out the Thunder and Hornets on consecutive nights, both teams short-handed due to injury and COVID, and tonight they could get another ailing opponent. Los Angeles has Anthony Davis listed as questionable with a knee injury, and both Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk are in COVID protocol. LeBron James is expected to play tonight and he is playing some incredible basketball. James is averaging 29.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game on 52.0% shooting from the floor in his last eight, and as a result Los Angeles is 5-3 SU and ATS in those games. Dallas has seemingly figured things out without Doncic, but I do not buy it. They were dealt favorable hands in their last two opponents, but with James and Russell Westbrook active, along with the potential of Davis playing, the Lakers seem to be in a favorable spot tonight.

Play: Lakers (PK)

New Orleans Pelicans (-1.5, 212) at Oklahoma City Thunder

Luguentz Dort will not be available tonight due to an ankle sprain, but the rest of the young core for Oklahoma City remains intact. However, the betting market has deemed that the lone absence of Dort is enough to make the Pelicans road favorites of 3.5 points. If Dort is indeed the lone absence of impact, then this line is quite odd. When Dort is off the floor the Thunder’s net rating improves to -4.4 and their offensive rating goes from 99.0 to 102.3 per 100 possessions. Their offense is even better (109.5) when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on the floor, which he is expected to be. New Orleans is not on any great run, coming into tonight on a 2-4 SU and ATS slide in which it has been outscored by 4.7 points per 100 possessions. As we know, homecourt is worth two points this season, so are the Pelicans better than this team by 5.5 points on a neutral without Dort? I would say no. Let’s grab a couple points with the home underdog here.

Play: Thunder (+ 3.5)

Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks (-2, 217)

Injuries and COVID have ravaged this matchup as well, making it a prime in-game betting opportunity. Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play as he is in COVID protocol and Khris Middleton is questionable with a knee injury. No Antetokounmpo is a problem for Milwaukee. When he is off the floor the Bucks are outscored by 7.2 points every 100 possessions and their defense is torched for 1.134 points per possession. Those numbers get even worse if you remove Middleton from the equation, which is why this line is where it is at. Indiana comes into tonight 3-1 SU/3-0-1 ATS in its last four games and 7-4-1 ATS in its last 12 games overall. Justin Holiday is the only injury of note for the Pacers tonight, so it is no surprise that they find themselves as road favorites tonight. Careful when betting into these lines with injury news baked in. Everything has been accounted for and more often than not bettors are not getting value in betting against teams that are dealing with personnel losses.

Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs (-3, 227)

LaMelo Ball is still not with Charlotte, Ish Smith is still in COVID protocol and Mason Plumlee is questionable to play. Ball is obviously the most impactful loss for a Hornets team that had its 5-0 ATS run snapped in Dallas two nights ago. Charlotte has been an incredible cover team recently, posting a 12-4-1 ATS record over the previous 17 games coming into tonight. However, Ball is a very big absence despite the success this team has had without him. With Ball on the floor the Hornets outscore opponents by 3.8 points every 100 possessions, but they are outscored 5.9 points without him. Against a San Antonio team that is 6-3 SU/7-2 ATS in its last nine games with the seventh-best defensive rating in the league (107.2) his absence could be felt. It is no surprise to see the Spurs up to -3.5 here but I would not expect much more movement from this number today. 

Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (-4, 218.5)

The Nuggets have seemingly found some consistency lately with a 3-1 SU and ATS record in its last four games. That could be a problem for the Timberwolves which have hit the skids since the calendar turned to December. Minnesota is 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS this month and its win in Portland snapped a five-game losing streak. Their once “elite” defense has been thumped, giving up 117.0 points every 100 possessions and 40.6% from beyond the arc. Denver could potentially take advantage of that weakness, as their offense is putting up 116.0 points per 100 possessions during this winning run and Nikola Jokic is dominating. Over his last six games he is averaging 28.8 points, 13.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game and Minnesota has no real matchup for him on defense. D’Angelo Russell is questionable to play tonight as well which is why this number is up to 4.5 at most shops.

Washington Wizards at Sacramento Kings (-1, 226.5)

Sacramento’s most recent blowout loss seemed to be a back breaker for the team that is now 0-3 SU and ATS in its last three games with a defense that is giving up 119.3 points per 100 possessions. Richaun Holmes is doubtful to play as well, which would make this his fourth consecutive missed game due to injury. His absence coinciding with a losing streak and poor defense is no coincidence, as he improves their net rating by 2.9 points when on the floor and their defense gives up just 110.7 points per 100 possessions. However, that does not mean the Kings are an automatic bet-against. Over the last month Washington one of the poorest teams in the league. They are 26th in net rating over that span (-7.4) with a 3-11-1 ATS record, and to make matters potentially worse Kyle Kuzma is questionable to play tonight. The betting market has gone toward the road team here, but I would not be rushing to bet a sliding team in the road of a road favorite.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz (-9, 216)

After a rough end to the month of November the Clippers have seemingly righted the ship in December. Los Angeles enters tonight on a four-game winning streak and a 5-1 SU/3-3 ATS record over its last six. The opponents have not been the most challenging, and tonight they meet a Western Conference contender that is playing great basketball. Utah is on a three-game cover streak and is 7-0 SU/5-2 ATS in its last seven. It does seem like a much better situation for the home team given the injury report. Paul George and Nicolas Batum are questionable and Serge Ibaka will not play. The Clippers are a great defensive team that has allowed just 105.5 points per 100 possessions during this winning streak, but I still have questions about this offense despite a small surge in December. The betting market is up to 9.5 at every shop which is understandable given the injury report for the road team. There is a temptation for me to take the points, but I want to know that George will be available.

Best Bets Summary

Lakers (PK)

Thunder (+ 3.5)

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