Betting the NBA on a daily basis can be difficult right now. First off, you have a very volatile market due to the unpredictable nature of late-breaking injuries, especially with key players resting at the last minute and blowing up a spread. Combine that with the fact teams are now quietly tanking for a higher draft and it makes handicapping games that much harder.
With many nightly spreads being highly erratic and tough to cap, bettors might rather turn to totals right now, specifically high total overs. So far this season, overs are 480-477 (50.2%). Due to paying the juice, you would be down roughly 21 units playing every over. The key is isolating higher total overs. When the total is 229.5 or less, the over is 365-370 (49.5%). But when the total is 230 or more, the over 115-107 (51.8%). If the total is 235 or higher, the over is 52-36 (59.1%). If the total is 240 or more, the over 15-11 (57.7%).
If the total is 230 or more in a non-division game, the over is 103-88 (54%). Non-conference overs 230 or more are 61-42 (59.2%). The lack of familiarity benefits the offense as the defense has a tougher time matching up and defending against an opponent they aren't used to playing.
If both teams are tired (playing on a back-to-back or only two days off), the over is 87-70 (55.4%). When betting an over, also look for short spreads (5 or less). The shorter spread benefits overs because this means it's likely to be a closer back-and-forth game and you might even get overtime. Also, isolate when two of the worst defensive efficiency teams go head-to-head. Bad defense play is great for an over.
Moral of the story: when you see a high total, don't automatically assume "it's so high that it has to go under." High total overs have actually done quite well this season, especially if you can add in non-conference matchups, short spreads, tired legs and some bad defensive teams.
Today a new week begins with 10 MLB games, 8 NBA games and a whopping14 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Monday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss a trio of MLB games today receiving notable sharp action...
7:05 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Brewers (17-11) at Philadelphia Phillies (13-15)
These NL non-division foes are trending in completely opposite directions. The Brewers just took three of four at home against the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Phillies just dropped two of three at home against the divisional rival Mets. In tonight's series opener, Milwaukee starts righty Adrian Houser (2-2, 3.65 ERA) and the Phillies hand the ball to righty Vince Velasquez (0-0, 6.57 ERA). This line opened with the Phillies listed as a slight -110 home favorite and the Brewers an even money (+ 100) dog. The public sees this as a no-brainer to back Milwaukee, as they have a superior record and have played better as of late. However, despite this lopsided action to Milwaukee, we've seen the Phillies become more of a favorite (-110 to -115). This signals some wiseguy action buying low on Philadelphia at home. The Phillies will lean on their bats in this one. Philadelphia is hitting .232, which ranks 17th in MLB. The Brewers are hitting .217, which ranks 27th. Keep an eye on the forecast in this one. We could be looking at low 70s with 10 MPH winds blowing out to dead-center. The total is 9.
7:40 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Dodgers (17-12) at Chicago Cubs (12-16)
Both of these storied franchises have struggled as of late, going an identical 3-7 over their last ten games. The Dodgers just dropped three of four against the Brewers while the Cubs lost two of three against the Reds. In tonight's series opener, Los Angeles hands the ball to young ace Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.16 ERA) and the Cubs counter with veteran righty Kyle Hendricks (1-3, 7.54 ERA). This line opened with the Dodgers listed as hefty -170 road favorites and the Cubs a + 155 home dog. Wiseguys have rushed to the window to lay the chalk with the Dodgers, steaming Los Angeles up from -170 to -200. Teams coming off a win receiving 15 cents of steam or more in their favor are 40-29 (58%) this season. The Dodgers are 17-11 as a favorite this year. The Cubs are 6-9 as a dog. The Dodgers are 11-7 against righties. The Cubs are 6-15 against righties. Los Angeles is + 45 in run differential, best in the NL. Chicago is -14.
9:40 p.m. ET: Toronto Blue Jays (14-12) at Oakland Athletics (17-12)
The Blue Jays have quietly been one of the hottest teams in baseball recently, going 7-2 over their last nine games. Meanwhile, the Athletics have struggled a bit since their long 13-game win streak end, going 3-5 over their last eight games. In tonight's series opener the Jays start lefty Steven Matz (4-1, 4.00 ERA) and the Athletics counter with righty Frankie Montas (2-2, 6.20 ERA). This line opened at a virtual pick'em with both sides listed at -105. The public is all over the red-hot Jays, yet we've seen this line move toward the Athletics (-105 to -120). This signals some sharp reverse line movement on Oakland, with pros fading the trendy dog Jays. Home teams in non-division games with 10-cents or more steam in their direction are 39-25 (61%) this season. The A's have done well against lefties this season, posting a 7-3 record.