NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 5/4

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

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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, May 4

*Lines are opening numbers

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat (-9, 206.5)

Game 2: Heat lead 1-0

After the results of Game 1 on Monday it is not shocking to see the market adjust the number for this game today, but it does seem somewhat strong. The Heat might have won and covered the game, but there was plenty that Miami needs to work on for the rematch today.

It was the Heat who trailed at halftime of Game 1 in part because of a disjointed offense that clearly missed its starting point guard. Miami averaged just 1.02 points per possession in that half of basketball and turned the ball over on 20.4% of its first half possessions. For the game they averaged just 0.872 points per play in half-court settings and used their transition offense – 1.636 points per play overall, 1.429 per play off live rebounds – to pull away in the second half. Miami has been an average half-court team in the postseason and that will likely continue as long as Kyle Lowry misses time, which is the case today, as he was already ruled out. If the Heat continue to struggle in that facet of their offense, it leaves the door open for an underdog like Philadelphia to stay inside what is a big number.

The 76ers have plenty to figure out as well. Doc Rivers seems set on using DeAndre Jordan at center which is a problem for Philadelphia’s defense. They were outscored by 22 points in his 17 minutes on the floor while posting a 159.4 defensive rating in that short amount of time. If he continues to get time on the floor then the 76ers are going to be up against it. However, if Rivers sees the error of his ways and leans into his smaller lineups then there is hope for Philadelphia. The 76ers also just need to shoot better. Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey and Danny Green were a combined 4-of-15 from beyond the arc and James Harden went 2-of-7, the only Philadelphia player to hit multiple 3-point attempts. Shooters went 0-for-10 from deep off Harden passes which ties the worst mark in the postseason over the last eight years, according to ESPN Stats and Info. According to the NBA tracking data the 76ers went 1-for-12 on wide-open 3-point attempts on Monday. Those attempts should be there once more against a Heat defense that was last in open 3-point attempts allowed in the regular season.

As far as the number is concerned, it is still too high for my taste and the market seems to agree. The line opened -9 but is now as low as -7.5 at Circa which is a good indicator of where the sharper action is. Philadelphia has its flaws, but this number is an overreaction from one result, and I am willing to take another stab at the underdog here. The total is intriguing as well. The first game played to 94 possessions and went well under the total of 208.5 which was the closing number at most shops. The adjusted total opened at 206.5 but was bet up to 207.5 which dominates the board right now. Both teams shot well below their expected effective field goal percentage in Game 1 according to Cleaning The Glass. Miami had an actual effective field goal percentage of 49.4% but a 56.1% expected, and Philadelphia posted an abysmal 44.4% despite a 55.0% expected. All of those factors together have me leaning to the Over here.

Play: 76ers (+ 8.5)

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-6, 216)

Game 2: Suns lead 1-0

It is a somewhat troubling sign that Phoenix had its way with the Dallas defense in Game 1 on Monday, and even more troubling when you realize how they did it. The Mavericks were an analytically sound defensive team this season, limiting opponent attempts both at the rim and beyond the arc. This resulted in a high rate of mid-range attempts for opponents, and that is exactly what transpired in the first game of this series, as Phoenix went 21-of-43 on overall mid-range attempts while hitting 11-of-16 long mid-range shots (attempts outside of 14 feet)! Chris Paul and Devin Booker are elite scorers from that area of the floor, so it’s likely that there is no real correction there other than those two having an off-shooting night. If that is the case, then the onus lies squarely on the role players not named Luka Doncic to perform at a higher level.

Doncic was everything we expected him to be and more with 45 points on 15-of-30 shooting from the floor with 12 rebounds and 8 assists. He hunted mismatches as he usually does, going at Paul regularly in the second half when it was clear that the Suns were willing to switch him onto Doncic. There were times when Phoenix would send another defender in those situations, but the Mavericks failed to capitalize when Doncic would swing the ball out. Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Reggie Bullock went a combined 11-of-31 from the floor and 4-of-12 from beyond the arc. Still, Dallas did a brilliant job along the perimeter and generated 23 wide-open 3-point attempts in the loss and they should be able to do that once more with Doncic demanding as much attention as he does.

In the column on Monday the Mavericks were one of the two plays because I believed the gap between the two teams was smaller than the market was indicating. I still believe that to be the case, but the Suns’ ability to exploit the Mavericks’ defense really turned me off. For this game I am going to sit on the sideline and see how this plays out. With futures on both teams as well I feel like I can sit back and see how this series plays out. The total here is interesting much like the first game today. There has been a slight adjustment up 216 at most shops, but the first game was a very slow 94 possessions as well. A dip in efficiency from these two teams could bring it under the total, but both have the ability to replicate an efficient offensive game so there will be no play from me.

Best Bet Summary

76ers (+ 8.5)

Season Record: 92-74-2

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