NBA best bets and analysis for 12 games today
NBA Betting Splits | NBA Odds
(Record: 1-0 | Units: 1.05u | ROI: 105.00%)
(Listed lines are opening numbers)
Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (-7.5, 233.5)
The market absolutely adores the Indiana Pacers, but I am heading into this season with the thought that it is too much love. Indiana is going to be an incredible transition offensive team, but my concerns are still there for its defense. The Pacers were 26th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency last season - opponents averaged 118.7 points per 100 possessions - and 24th in halfcourt defensive efficiency. This team did not do much to improve on that end of the floor outside of drafting rookie Jarace Walker. A defense that is weak does not cover by margin, and it is why we saw the Pacers go 11-8 SU/8-10-1 ATS last season as a favorite.
Washington is obviously an extremely flawed team, but it has some high-end offensive talent in Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. Tyus Jones only adds to the flow of this offense at point guard, and they have some legitimate defensive pieces in Daniel Gafford and rookie Bilal Coulibaly. The Wizards may very well end up with the worst record in the NBA, but situations like this are worth testing out. The Pacers are the upstart darling of the Eastern Conference, and I believe it has led to them being overvalued.
Play: Wizards (+7) - Playable up to (+5.5)
Minnesota Timberwolves (-1, 224.5) at Toronto Raptors
The only thing that I know about the Minnesota Timberwolves is that they will be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The Timberwolves only allowed 102.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during the preseason, and last season they were the eighth-best defense in the NBA (113.7). Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert are great defenders at their position, and a big like Karl-Anthony Towns being used as a help defender makes life hell for the opposition. Lesser offensive opponents should have trouble finding success against this team, and that should be the reality for Toronto tonight.
The Raptors do not project to be a great offensive team. They did have the second-best non-garbage time offensive rating in the preseason (115.0), but once again that was due to an offense that relied heavily on creating opportunities through transition. They ranked 17th in halfcourt offensive efficiency (91.6) and even their overall offensive rating is made more impressive by its ranking. That figure would have been below average last season.
The expectation is that the Raptors will struggle on offense here, but I can’t make this all about them. The Timberwolves were the 23rd-best offense in the league last season, and when Towns and Gobert shared the floor they averaged just 107.5 points per 100 possessions. Those issues will likely continue this season, and it is why this game leads to a play on the under.
Play: UNDER 222.5 - Playable down to 221.5
New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies (-1.5, 226.5)
The handicap here is simple: Memphis is extremely thin right now. Steven Adams is lost for the season, Ja Morant is serving a suspension, Brandon Clarke is recovering from an Achilles injury and Santi Aldama is out with an ankle injury as well. This is not the same team that went 20-5 SU without Morant two seasons ago. Marcus Smart is the lead guard, their primary shot creator off the bench is Derrick Rose and they are undersized at center. It seems the market is overlooking how thin this roster is becoming.
New Orleans is not in perfect health either. Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III will miss this game, but we do get CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on the floor together, a feat that was accomplished for only 10 games last season. But, when those three played the Pelicans outscored opponents by 19.5 points per 100 possessions. The Pelicans also have an advantage up front with Jonas Valincunas and Larry Nance rotating at center. It’s simple, but give me the road team here which should be favored.
Play: Pelicans ML (-105) - Playable up to -120
Timberwolves/Raptors UN 222.5
Pelicans ML (-105)
Atlanta Hawks (-1.5, 233.5) at Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta is a team that I am extremely high on heading into the season, but this is a game I was priced out of pre-flop due to the movement. The current number is right where it should be by my projections, so any in-game opportunity on the Hawks will be what I am watching for tonight. Charlotte will obviously be without Miles Bridges tonight, and their depth will be thin as Frank Ntilikina and Cody Martin are both out with injury. The market pushed this total up three points from the opening number, and is showing no signs of slowing down. However, we did a similar total last night in San Francisco and that game went well under the total. Be wary of betting such large numbers over early in the season when teams are still working off the rust.
Boston Celtics (-1.5, 223.5) at New York Knicks
It isn’t surprising that this number moved in favor of Boston, as this opened well before the Celtics acquired Jrue Holiday. This will be a fascinating game for many reasons, but at the top of the list of reasons will be the Knickerbockers’ continued regular season dominance. New York closed out last season on a 17-8 SU and ATS run, and they were one of the most profitable teams in the league at 51-39-3 ATS overall. The Knicks are the only known commodity in this game as well, as the Celtics revamped their roster in the offseason with Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. The morning movement is coming in on New York, but don’t be surprised to watch this toggle back and forth all day.
Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic (-3.5, 222.5)
The betting market has been on the Under here most of the morning, and 221.5 is the consensus as I type this preview. It’s not a shock given what we know about these teams. Orlando quietly finished last season 11th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (114.2), but 26th in offensive efficiency (111.8). Houston was one of the worst teams in both offense and defense last season. However, Ime Udoka and the additions of Dillon Brooks and Fred VanVleet should get this defense back to average. There was evidence of that in the preseason, where the Rockets allowed the second-fewest points per 100 possessions (95.9). This has the makings of a rock-fight, and the market is acting on that prediction.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-1.5, 221.5) at Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen is out with an ankle injury and Darius Garland is questionable due to a hamstring injury. It’s why we’ve seen a small line move toward Brooklyn, and why this total has dipped to a consensus of 220.5 on the screen. Cleveland is actually a team I was looking to open the season playing Over on consistently due to their vocal desire to shoot and run more often this season, but Garland playing is paramount to that angle. Without him this is a game that I can’t be involved in.
Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat (-10, 221.5)
Miami was one of the least profitable teams in the NBA last season (46-59-2 ATS), and as a favorite they covered just 36.1% of their games. This season they are without Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, but the market still has this team rated extremely high. This is also without two key members of their rotation this season: Josh Richardson and Haywood Highsmith. If there was one more side that could make my card tonight it would be the Pistons. Call me biased, but I believe the Heat are due for a much worse season than most.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-1, 228) at Chicago Bulls
This is also a bet that has not made the card yet, but potentially will if the market moves in the direction I want it to. Oklahoma City is everyone’s darling, but I believe the increase in power rating for the Thunder is too much, too soon. The Bulls were the fifth-best defensive team in the NBA last season (112.5), and they have the personnel to give the Thunder trouble. Nikola Vucevic placed in the 95th percentile of centers in defensive rebounding, and as a team that lives in the mid-range area of the floor they can negate the rim protection of Chet Holmgren. If this moneyline price can get to about +110 or better this will be a play tonight.
Sacramento Kings (-1, 241.5) at Utah Jazz
A meeting of my two biggest regression candidates this season, which means I want nothing to do with this game. The total was very high when it opened the other day, so the market has corrected this by pushing it down to 236 consensus. Sacramento is running it back this season, so bettors can properly project what they will do here, but Utah has a big new piece in John Collins. The last three seasons have seen Collins decline as a 3-point shooter, and in a high-volume shooting offense like this there is a danger in him ruining this team’s spacing. That could ultimately lead to a less efficient offense for the Jazz. Regardless, a game with a one-point spread but a total of 236 is not worth betting pre-flop, as you will get a better number at some point in-game.
Dallas Mavericks (-4.5, 226.5) at San Antonio Spurs
Luka Doncic is questionable to play due to a calf injury suffered in the preseason, and that is all that should be written about this game. If Doncic cannot play - he did practice on Monday - then this number will obviously change. It’s the usual song and dance for regular season betting in the NBA. Victor Wembanyama’s debut will make this one of the higher handled games today, especially in the player prop market. Perhaps there is some value in taking some Unders on Wembanyama, considering bettors’ affinity for him, but that is something I want to observe first.
Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers (-9.5, 229.5)
The move worth mentioning here is the total which is down three points from the opening number. Los Angeles showed some real improvement on defense in the preseason by limiting opponents to the third-fewest points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time (101.8), but preseason ball is a bit different. Taking on a team led by a rookie point guard will likely allow the Clippers to flex their muscles on defense, but they were also 22nd-ranked offense last season. Asking that team to win by margin before seeing them on offense is a tough pill to swallow.