NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 3/23

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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, March 23rd

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Philadelphia 76ers (-6, 228.5) at Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James carries his usual designation of questionable into tonight against Philadelphia, but nothing we have seen since the All-Star break would lead you to believe he is missing this game. The 76ers are coming off a fantastic win over the Heat without their dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden, but things have gone sideways for the two superstars recently. Since the 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS start after the acquisition of Harden, Philadelphia is 4-3 SU/2-4-1 ATS in the last seven contests with those two on the floor. The non-Embiid minutes have been an absolute nightmare for Doc Rivers and the 76ers. The team is -6.9 per 100 possessions in those minutes and the defense is allowing 125.4 points per 100 possessions when Harden runs the show without him. Despite that the market loves this team, but there are clearly flaws with the depth and it has led to opportunities to bet against them. The market has moved toward Philadelphia yet again here, but I would disagree with this. James and the Lakers could very much take advantage of this team when Embiid is sitting. Philadelphia allows opponents to take 38.6% of their attempts at the rim while shooting 72.7% in that area of the floor. The Lakers want to run and they want to get to the restricted area of the floor. Don’t be surprised if this numbers comes back to the home team and if the Lakers cover.

Play: Lakers (+ 7.5)

Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies (-1.5, 236.5)

Ja Morant will miss a second game with his knee injury and Brooklyn will have Kyrie Irving back on the floor. These two factors add up to the Nets flipping to the road favorite role against one of the highest power rated teams in the league. Brooklyn has been a team worth backing on the road with Irving on the floor, as the team has a 5-3 SU/7-0-1 ATS record in the eight road games since Kevin Durant returned from injury. Having said that, it is worth pointing out that Memphis is statistically better when Morant is off the floor which might surprise some reading this column. With him on the floor the Grizzlies outscore their opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions, but with him off the floor that net rating improves to + 7.7 due to a defense that limits opponents to 105.5 points per 100 possessions. There is a reason why Memphis 14-2 SU in the 16 games Morant has missed this season. I believe Brooklyn to be the side here, but do not severely downgrade the home team just because Morant is not active.

Play: Nets (-1.5)

Best Games

Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics (-6, 223)

Boston is back home after a four-game trip to the west coast which it swept while going 3-1 ATS. They host Utah which was dealt a loss in Brooklyn by Kevin Durant. The betting market has come in on the Jazz here and I can understand why just given how much the market respects the Jazz but this team is not fully healthy. Bojan Bogdanovic continues to miss time which hurts their depth, and when he is off the floor Utah is outscored by 4.5 points per 100 possessions even with Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert on. Bettors love to play against the team coming back home from a road trip, but blindly betting that blatantly ignores the flaws we have seen from the Jazz recently when they are not whole. With Marcus Smart and Robert Williams both expected to play it would be Celtics or pass for me here.

Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5, 236)

The Timberwolves had their 10-1 SU and ATS run ruined by a loss in Dallas on Monday night, and now they find themselves as home underdogs to the red-hot Phoenix Suns. Phoenix has clearly figured out how to play without Chris Paul, entering this game on a 5-0 SU/4-1 ATS run. Cameron Johnson is still out with a thigh contusion, but the Suns have been brilliant on offense during this winning streak, averaging 129.1 points per 100 possessions. That would be the worry for Minnesota, which has a hyper-aggressive style of defense that has success in forcing turnovers, but can be susceptible to giving up open 3-point attempts against teams that can move the ball and limit mistakes. Karl-Anthony Towns is questionable to play yet again tonight as well, which would be a boon for Deandre Ayton and the Suns. If Towns is deemed active I would expect this to get back to PK or Timberwolves -1 by the time it closes.

*Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat (-8, 218)

The first two games without Stephen Curry could not have gone worse for Golden State. The Warriors are 0-2 SU and ATS in those contests, and the worst result was last night in losing outright to the Orlando Magic. Golden State was held to 0.937 points per possession and turned the ball over on 18.9% of its offensive possessions last night. Now, they have to face a Heat team coming off its own embarrassing loss, a 113-106 setback to a Philadelphia team that did not have James Harden or Joel Embiid. The initial move here was toward Golden State, but one look at the injury report and you can understand why. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin are questionable to play tonight. Should Butler or Herro, or both, miss this game that would be worth a dramatic drop in the number. Until the injury report is clear for both teams – Warriors do not have to submit a report until much later being on the second leg of a back-to-back – it is nearly impossible to have an opinion preflop. 

The Others

*New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets (-6, 226)

Technically this game is a very important one for New York. If the Knicks still fancy themselves a spot in the play-in tournament then they need to win games against the opponents in front of them. However, Julius Randle missed yesterday’s loss to Atlanta and he is questionable at best to play here against Charlotte. The Hornets still have plenty to play for themselves, entering today just a game behind the Nets for the eighth seed and a spot in the top bracket of the play-in tournament. Charlotte had its ATS run ruined by New Orleans the other day, but this team is still 7-2 SU/6-3 ATS in March with the second-best offensive rating (123.3). The Hornets also have an edge in the season series, going 2-0 SU and ATS in the first two meetings with a + 9.5 net rating.

Sacramento Kings at Indiana Pacers (-4, 238.5)

This game is relatively easy to scratch off the consideration card. Not only are these just poor teams, but the injury reports for each club is lengthy. Sacramento will not have either Richaun Holmes or Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox is considered doubtful with a hand injury. Indiana has Chris Duarte, Tyrese Haliburton and Isaiah Jackson as questionable to play. Neither team comes into this contest in particularly great form either. The move toward the Pacers is understandable given the importance of the players who will not be available tonight, but do you really want to swallow 6.5 points with them?

*Orlando Magic (-2, 217.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder

For the first time this season the Orlando Magic are road favorites, and for somewhat good reason. Oklahoma City is doing what it does best and tanking away the rest of the regular season. The Thunder are on an 0-10 SU slide and are 3-17 SU in their last 20 games. As usual, the injury report for Oklahoma City is littered with big names, some of whom – like Lu Dort – are done for the remainder of the season. Tonight, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is questionable due to an ankle injury. However, losing these games outright has not stopped the Thunder from covering numbers. They enter this game on a 5-1 ATS run and are 12-7-1 ATS in their last 20 games despite just three outright wins over that stretch. 

Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks (-14, 223)

Luka Doncic will not play tonight due to a sore right ankle and this line has plummeted to -10 at most shops and even then I would only consider the underdog here. Dallas fell to 0-4 ATS in its last four games when it failed to cover in their win over Minnesota on Monday, and in March the team is 4-7 ATS. Their defensive play has dropped off to average, allowing 114.9 points per 100 possessions this month and against a fast team like Houston that will likely be tested. The Rockets have averaged 1.155 points per possession in three of their last four games and Christian Wood is playing some tremendous basketball with 24+  point performances in five of the last eight games.

San Antonio Spurs (-6.5, 233) at Portland Trail Blazers

Josh Hart will not play tonight for Portland, the latest addition to an injury report that has nine players listed. The Trail Blazers would actually be a tempting proposition tonight in this spot against the Spurs had Hart been able to play, but given how reliant they are on him at this point its no wonder the number is -10 at every shop. San Antonio snapped a 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS skid with a wild win over Golden State on Sunday, but this is hardly a team worth laying double-digits on the road with, even against Portland. Lonnie Walker and Doug McDermott will not play tonight either, which means the Spurs are not even at full strength but power rated to the moon against a lowly opponent.

Best Bets Summary

Nets (-1.5)

Lakers (+ 7.5)

Season Record: 74-61-2

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