NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 12/8

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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 8th

We get 13 games on the card tonight in the Association, and there are some fascinating contests.

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

**Lines are opening numbers

*New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers (-4, 212.5)

Tom Thibodeau continues to tinker with his starting lineup, and last night the latest change was starting Nerlens Noel over Mitchell Robinson at center. One could say the move worked as the Knicks won and covered 121-109 but hitting 17-of-37 3-point attempts is probably what made the difference last night. Tonight, they’re in Indiana facing a team that has some bad juju around it. Shams Charania reported the other day that the Pacers are open to selling prior to the trade deadline, TJ McConnell had undergo wrist surgery and Justin Holiday is still sidelined. However, the betting market is on the home team’s side here, driving this up to -5 at a few shops early this morning. Indiana is the slightly better team, but without homecourt this line is telling bettors they are about three points better on a neutral court. There is not much separating these two clubs, and if this number continues to climb it will be hard to stay off New York.

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers (-1.5, 208.5)

Chicago will be extremely short-handed tonight. DeMar DeRozan and Coby White are in COVID protocol and Alex Caruso is doubtful to play with a hamstring injury. These factors are why Cleveland not only opened as a 1.5-point favorite but is now -3 at most shops. This is just the third game this season in which the Cavaliers have been favored, and frankly they deserve to be. Cleveland is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games and leads the league in cover rate at 78.3%. They have done so with a defense that is allowing 105.9 points per 100 possessions overall and 88.7 points per 100 plays in halfcourt situations. It makes sense that they would be favored with that defense over a team missing one of its best offensive players. With DeRozan off the court the Bulls are outscored by 3.5 points per 100 possessions and their offensive rating of 107.7 ranks in the 38th percentile of qualified lineups. If Chicago, which is 5-1 ATS in its last six games, were to fall this would be the game. However, there is no value in this line anymore with it as high as it is. This is a big role reversal for a team that deserved respect. It will be fascinating to see if the Cavs can deliver.

Washington Wizards (-5.5, 208.5) at Detroit Pistons

Washington is 4-8 SU/3-8-1 ATS over its last 12 games, has been outscored by 7.3 points every 100 possessions, and is 24th in offensive efficiency and 27th in defensive efficiency over that span. Should this team be laying points on the road to anybody at this point? Detroit had a poor fourth quarter against Oklahoma City the other night, but is till 9-6 ATS in its last 15 games and as long as Cade Cunningham is playing they are live. With Cunningham on the floor the Pistons’ net rating improves by 6.7 points every 100 possessions, and they are clearly better with him out there. The injury report has some good news for Detroit as well. Cory Joseph is back from a knee injury, and he has been an extremely solid player for the Pistons this season, improving their net rating by 5.7 points every 100 possessions on the floor. There seems to be one shop that is sitting at Washington -6 but everywhere else is at 5.5 right now. This is just too high for a team of Washington’s calibur, so I will be rolling with the ugly ‘dog here tonight.

Play: Pistons (+ 5.5)

Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5, 217.5) at Charlotte Hornets

These two will meet for the second consecutive time after a shootout on Monday ended up in a 127-124 win in overtime for Philadelphia. The talk of the town after that first meeting was the high-scoring nature of the contest despite a low total of 215.5 at close, but I would stress not to assume what happened before will happen again. Both teams were extremely efficient, combining to average 1.222 points per possession in a game that had just over 100 possessions for each team despite an extra period. Those who are running to bet this Over the total are hoping for another extremely efficient outing from both teams yet again, and one of them is extremely thin. LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Ish Smith, Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee are all in COVID protocol and will miss this game. Oddsmakers opened this total two points higher than the first meeting, but the market drove this down to 215.5 and I agree with the move. If Charlotte has another hot night at the rim and in transition so be it, but it is hard to expect that with two starters and two key reserves sidelined.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors (-7, 209)

It is not a coincidence that Oklahoma City got multiple players back in the fold on Monday and came away with a win over Detroit. Today, their injury report is clean yet again and they face a Raptors team that is still missing OG Anunoby and Khem Birch. The Raptors have won and covered their last two games, but this is still a team that went 5-10 SU and ATS in November with the worst defensive rating in the league (114.0). The Thunder figure to be a poor matchup for that struggling defense as well. Oklahoma City takes 34.7% of its attempts at the rim and 38.8% of its attempts from the perimeter. While they do shoot efficiently from either area of the floor, those are two categories that Toronto has struggled to defend. The Raptors are 25th in opponent rim shooting (66.7%) and 24th in opponent 3-point shooting (36.6%). When whole the Thunder are a much better team, and they are whole tonight. Let’s go back to the well once more.

Play: Thunder (+ 7)

Milwaukee Bucks (-5.5, 214.5) at Miami Heat

No Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo, among others, for Miami tonight and it seems this will be quite the challenge. Milwaukee comes in 10-1 SU/6-5 ATS in its last 11 games with a + 11.5 net rating that is second-best in the NBA over that span. The Heat will have to tighten up things defensively without Butler, but that is easier said than done. Since he suffered the back injury and has been out of the lineup Miami is allowing 119.5 points per 100 possessions, 74.5% at the rim and 38.3% from the perimeter. Those are areas in which Milwaukee thrives, and for those reasons the Bucks are up to -6.5 on the road. Bettors are getting little value in the favorite here, but you are a braver man (Or woman) than I if you’re backing the underdog here.

*Brooklyn Nets (-6.5, 225) at Houston Rockets

Brooklyn covered the number by the hair on Kevin Durant’s goatee last night with a strong fourth quarter, but tonight they must corral the hottest team in the NBA. Houston walks into tonight on a 6-0 SU/5-1 ATS run, but this is a much different opponent. Their wins during this streak have come against the Pelicans, Magic, Thunder and Hornets. The Nets are still one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with players that Houston has no real defensive option for in Kevin Durant and James Harden. It is the second leg of a back-to-back, but Durant has been vocal in his desire to carry a heavy load for Brooklyn. He’s averaged 39.7 minutes per game since missing the game against Orlando on Nov. 19 and over that span he’s putting up 28.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game on 45.4% shooting. I would expect him out there, but always monitor those injury reports before making a move. Houston’s streak likely ends tonight, but given how poor the Nets have been ATS it is not beneficial to lay these many points.

Utah Jazz (-8.5, 219.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota has dropped three straight coming into tonight and is 1-3 ATS in its last four games. Their defense has failed them lately, allowing 115.4 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time while opponents have hit 40.6% of their attempts from deep. This might seem like some bad luck, but it could be a sign of things to come. According to the NBA tracking data, Minnesota is allowing the seventh-highest rate of wide-open 3-point attempts this season and over the course of these three games opponents have hit 49.0% of those attempts. That is not the type of defense you want to play against a Jazz team that leads the league 3-point attempt frequency and is sixth in 3-point shooting (37.6%). Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley are all questionable to play as well, making the Timberwolves pretty unattractive tonight.

*Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies (-5, 215.5)

The Mavericks had a poor shooting night against the Nets last night, going 1-of-13 from deep in the fourth quarter and losing a game in which they had led by as much as 17 points. Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. all played in that contest, so one would expect all three to be available tonight against Memphis. If that is the case, it is not the worst situation in the world for Dallas. Kyle Anderson is doubtful to play for the Grizzlies, Brandon Clarke is out and Ja Morant is still recovering from his knee sprain. However, we saw this open as high as Memphis -5 and it still sits at -4 in most spots. Homecourt has settled in at being worth two points, so this version of the Grizzlies is two points better than Dallas on a neutral and it’s a pick on the road? The answer is no. Dallas will be the play tonight but hold off until the official injury report in case Doncic pops up.

Play: Mavericks (+ 4)

Denver Nuggets (-3, 211.5) at New Orleans Pelicans

Nikola Jokic will play tonight, but the Nuggets’ loss to Chicago the other night left such a bad taste in my mouth that I will refrain from betting on them for a while. The loss dropped Denver to 2-8 SU and ATS over the last 10 games, and while Jokic’s absence is part of this stretch there is hardly anything to like about the Nuggets. They are entirely reliant on Jokic’s minutes and when he leave the floor they have a -19.1 net rating and show zero signs of life on both offense and defense. New Orleans has at least shown some fight recently, posting a 4-3 ATS record over the last seven games and grabbing victories over the Mavericks, Jazz and Clippers in the process. The betting market came off the -3 here and its -2.5 at every shop and I cannot blame a single person who wants to fade this Nuggets team.

Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings (-7, 220)

Sacramento has shown small signs of improvement recently and come into this meeting with Orlando 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games. They swept a home-and-home with the Clippers in the last two contests, but their defense still needs to improve. Despite that positive record the Kings have a -4.6 net rating due to a defense allowing 113.1 points per 100 possessions. A defense playing that poorly is dangerous to lay points with, and this team is still dealing some injury issues. Harrison Barnes has not played since Nov. 24 and is questionable tonight, as is Maurice Harkless. Barnes is the most important of the two, so make sure to have him on the floor if playing the favorite tonight. Orlando had a three-game cover streak snapped by Golden State the other night, but they can be much more competitive here. This number is still sitting on the open, but I would think it heads to the road team unless Barnes is activated.

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors (-14, 212.5)

It might shock some people that this number is as high as it is, but Portland is a mess. The team is 1-10 SU and ATS on the road this season, and that is with a full compliment of players. Tonight, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard are already ruled out. Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little and Ben McLemore are all questionable to play as well. The Trail Blazers are hardly a team worth backing at this point right now, but that does not mean I want to run and lay it with Golden State. Not that the Warriors are flawed, but this number is inflated due to the support the home team will get. Most of the time, when teams are facing cluster injuries like this, there is more value in betting on them as the market overreacts and piles on a number that has already factored in the absences.

*Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers (-3, 212.5)

After a tough loss for Boston on Tuesday night they must get up and face the Clippers tonight. The Celtics got burned for 1.217 points per possession in non-garbage time by the Lakers, put up 1.033 themselves and had their nice little 3-1 ATS run ruined. It seems like a brutal spot to then have to face one of the best defensive teams in the league with no rest, but this is hardly a perfect team in Los Angeles. The Clippers had to fight tooth and nail with a Trail Blazers team that did not have Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on Monday, and in that game only managed 1.03 points per possession. I have faith in Los Angeles’ ability to defend at a high level, but not to score. Jaylen Brown’s status is a question for Boston as well, and he could be back tonight. The market is doing its usual taxing of the Celtics for playing on no rest, but I would not be keen to lay points with the Clippers against a similarly rated team here.

Best Bets Summary

Pistons (+ 5.5)

Mavericks (+ 4)

Thunder (+ 7)

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