NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 1/5

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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 Tuesday, January 4th

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5, 210.5) at Orlando Magic

Philadelphia is starting to find its groove and enters tonight on a 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS run over which they have a + 10.4 net rating. Their defense remains one of the best in the NBA at 107.1 points per 100 possessions allowed, but their 117.5 offensive rating over this span is the biggest difference. One would think that a team like Orlando is going to have some trouble in this meeting despite a 5-3 ATS record over the last eight games. The Magic have still been outscored by 6.1 points every 100 possessions during this eight-game spurt, and their offensive rating of 104.3 is atrocious. Orlando is also dealing with multiple injuries still as well, as Cole Anthony and Moritz Wagner are questionable to play and Jalen Suggs is still out. The initial market move is toward the 76ers here, which is not a surprise given the run the team is on and the public nature of the team. However, this is still a team that has not handled the role of a favorite well. Philadelphia is 12-6 SU/7-11 ATS when laying points this season showing its overvalued nature by the market.

Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets (-9.5, 227.5)

Last time we saw Charlotte its poor defense was on display in giving up 40 points and 1.48 points per possession to Washington in a loss. Over the last two games the Hornets have allowed 257 points and as a result they have dropped both games SU and ATS. This team is now laying 10 points at home against Detroit. The Pistons do have 10 players out due to COVID or injury, so it is understandable that this team’s power rating would be extremely low, but the key role players are still active. Saddiq Bey, Cade Cunningham and Hamidou Diallo are still active and those three started last time out when Detroit upset Milwaukee. Bey continues to deliver and enters tonight averaging 25.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his last nine games. With those three on the floor they have a -1.2 net rating and they allow only 104.8 points per 100 possessions. Charlotte’s defensive issues make it nearly impossible for me to lay a number like this, especially against an underrated defensive team like the Pistons. It means Detroit is going to make the list for me today.

Play: Pistons (+ 10.5)

Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards (-6.5, 222)

The train is officially off the tracks in Houston. Over the last 11 games the Rockets are 1-10 SU and ATS with a -14.6 net rating, and in their most recent loss the team was without Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood due to a team enforced suspension. Porter Jr. left the arena in a blowout loss to Denver, and Wood refused to enter the same game after getting into it with an assistant coach. It’s clear the culture is deteriorating in that locker room, and it has made a bad team even worse. Washington has seven guys out in COVID protocol, but they are on a 6-1 ATS run over the last seven games despite the personnel issues. Bettors should be wary of jumping on the train though, as the Wizards have barely been getting by. They have a + 0.7 net rating over this run, and they closed as an underdog in four of those contests. This is clearly a massive role change for the Wizards, and when you have a defense giving up 114.7 points per 100 possessions it seems like a challenge to cover a number like this. 

*San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics (-8.5, 222)

After getting drilled in Toronto last night the Spurs are 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS in their last four games, and their offense has dropped off a cliff. In December the team put up 115.5 points per 100 possessions, but their offensive rating is just 100.9 over this losing streak. This slump coincides with the team losing Dejounte Murray to COVID protocol, and the numbers back that up. Without Murray on the floor this season the Spurs have a -5.7 net rating and average just 106.4 points per 100 possessions. That was on display last night when they averaged just 0.981 points per possession against the Raptors. Having said that, the Celtics are not exactly a team in good form. They have failed to cover three of four games, and while it seems Jayson Tatum will be back on the floor tonight, that is not always a good thing immediately. Boston was -10 last time out against Orlando. Is this version of San Antonio only two points better than that team?

Golden State Warriors (-4.5, 209.5) at Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic has been back for two games, and both of those have resulted in victories for the Dallas Mavericks. It’s not surprising to see the Mavericks perform better with Doncic on the floor, but his efficiency is still a work in progress. In the two games he’s totaled 35 points, but on a combined 13-of-32 shooting from the floor and 3-of-12 from deep. He’s played the role of facilitator well though with 25 assists since returning to action, but Dallas has still only put up 105.3 points per 100 possessions. That will get even tougher with Golden State coming to town. The Warriors are essentially at full strength, with Andre Iguodala the only regular role player on the injury report. Golden State is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games, but they’ve outscored opponents by just 3.9 points per 100 possessions. However, the market continues to price them as an extremely elite team and as a result they are just 5-5 ATS over those 10 games and 7-9 ATS since their loss to Phoenix at the end of November. That does not seem to matter to the betting market. Bettors drove the number up against Miami last time out and its happening again tonight as the Warriors are up to -6.5 in a few shops. Neither of these teams are worth wagering on at this point right now, but if one were to get my support it would be the home underdog taking on the overvalued favorite.

Brooklyn Nets (-6.5, 218.5) at *Indiana Pacers

As discussed in yesterday’s column, the Indiana Pacers are just up against it. Their backcourt has been ravaged by COVID and injury and the result has been a poor stretch of play over which the team is 3-6 ATS. Last night, the Pacers put up just 1.056 points per possession and went 9-of-38 from deep in their loss to the Knicks. It does not seem that things are going to get much better when they host the Nets tonight with Kyrie Irving now in the fold. Something to watch with this version of Brooklyn will be the defense. Brooklyn has quietly put together a decent defensive season, ranking ninth in non-garbage time defensive efficiency at 108.5 points per 100 possessions allowed. However, Irving is a subpar defender that has never improved his team’s defensive rating in his NBA career. Last season, the Nets gave up 115.3 points per 100 possessions in his time on the floor, a defensive rating that would be last this season. It will be interesting to see if these totals start go over when Brooklyn hits the road from now on. The market seems to be thinking the same thing as this number is up eight points from the open.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves (-8.5, 210.5)

Oklahoma City is relatively healthy, but the two names that will not play tonight are impactful. Luguentz Dort and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will not play tonight due to injury and COVID protocol respectively which means the Thunder will be down two starters as Minnesota gets two back. Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are questionable to play as they make their way back from COVID protocol, but it seems likely both will see the floor. The betting market has come off the opener in favor of the Thunder, but it will head back to Minnesota once those two are officially announced as active. The Timberwolves have been doing a decent job of treading water despite absences of their key duo, and enter tonight 5-1 ATS in the last six contests. However, as I always preach, the return of stars after extended absences is usually overvalued by the market and it tends to create some value on the other end. Oklahoma City is still a decent team that is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, along with others, are obviously still available which means the Thunder will be a tempting side should this number get back to 8.5 or higher.

*Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5, 224.5)

Toronto is rolling right now. The team is 6-3 SU/8-1 ATS in its last nine games, and their starting lineup has been back on the floor for three straight contests. In those three games the Raptors put up 120.1 points per 100 possessions and posted a + 14.4 net rating. However, all three of those games have come at home where the empty arena has possibly given Toronto a friendly scoring environment. I would caution against overvaluing what we’ve seen during this three-game stretch. Milwaukee is coming off the loss to Detroit as a 16-point favorite which snapped a 6-0 SU/5-1 ATS run, and that result, along with the Raptors success, is causing the market to whittle this number down to 7.5 at most shops. COVID does seem to be making its way through this Bucks roster too. Five players are either out or questionable due to COVID protocol, and the impactful players like Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo have already been ruled out. Milwaukee arguably has the best starting lineup in the league, but the bench is a massive question and with so much depth out it is understandable if bettors find themselves on the underdog tonight.

Atlanta Hawks at *Sacramento Kings (-1, 229.5)

As the Hawks continue to deal with COVID issues they have become an Over machine since Trae Young returned. The team has allowed 130.4 points per 100 possessions the last four games, and it should not come as a surprise that they are 1-3 SU and ATS in those contests with a perfect 4-0 to the Over. It would seem obvious that a poor defensive team like Sacramento is an opponent that would extend this streak, but the total has not really budged from the open. The Kings are showing a bit more consistency lately with a 3-2 SU and ATS record in the last five affairs, but they’ve allowed 119.2 points per 100 possessions the last three contests and the Lakers burned them for 1.26 per possession last night. The total is high, but we have two teams that are playing some of the worst defense inn the league facing one another here tonight. It is worth seeing if this trend continues tonight.

Play: OVER 229.5​

Best Bets Summary

Pistons (+ 10.5)

Hawks/Kings OV (229.5)

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