Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!
All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page. Stay up to date on injury news with our injury report page as well.
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 33-42 | Units: -10.20 | ROI: -13.95%
Joel Embiid remains sidelined with soreness in his left foot, but Philadelphia showed on Wednesday it is still perfectly capable of winning without him. The 76ers put up 1.252 points per possession and four players scored 19 or more points in the 129-126 win in overtime over the Pacers. Having said that, they also gave up 1.20 points per possession and without Embiid on the floor they are a much lesser defensive team. Philadelphia gives up 6.0 more points per 100 possessions without Embiid on the floor, and they are much smaller. Against Indiana they started three guards with PJ Tucker at center, and Montrezl Harrell does not do much to add size and rebounding.
That lack of size will allow Nikola Vucevic to contribute more on the offensive glass, and both DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine will have some lesser defenders to go after on defense. The same can be said for James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, especially if Alex Caruso cannot play tonight. This leads to the total and playing it over. Without Embiid the 76ers are slightly quicker, worse defensively and guard oriented. This should lead to higher scoring affairs, something I do not believe has been accounted for enough in this number.
Play: OVER 228
Best Bet Recap
Bulls/76ers OVER (228)
Indiana extended its ATS run to five straight with the overtime loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night, and the team comes into this game 7-1 ATS in its last eight games. The injury report matters here, because Jerami Grant is questionable to play for Portland with a quad contusion. Grant is not a stout defender by any means, but he improves the Trail Blazers’ offensive rating by 7.2 points per 100 possessions when on the floor and would be a big loss if he cannot go. There has not been real movement on the side, but this total has been bet up by the market by 3.5 points which isn’t a surprise with these two defenses.
Toronto fell to 5-13 SU/6-12 ATS when it lost and failed to cover against Milwaukee on Wednesday night. The Raptors have been poor on both ends of the floor, but their offense has managed just 113.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during this slide and their defense has been nowhere near the expected level of effectiveness. Their small size has allowed opponents to grab 27.4% of their missed attempts, and that is exactly what New York does best. The market is moving ever so slightly in the Raptors’ direction this morning, but it did the same thing against the Bucks and they never came close to covering that number.
Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson will remain sidelined for this game against Brooklyn which is a disappointment. In the possessions without either on the floor the Pelicans have averaged just 111.8 points per 100 possessions, an offensive rating which ranks in the 34th percentile of qualified lineups. Will they be able to score effectively against Brooklyn which is allowing 110.6 points per 100 possessions since firing Steve Nash? The Nets might seem like the obvious side here, but it’s clear the market is getting somewhat high on its rating of the team. Brooklyn was in Charlotte on New Year’s Eve and closed as 6.5-point favorites. Is New Orleans, even without Ingram and Williamson, only 1.5 points better than that team?
Khris Middleton will still be out, but he is the only injury of note for Milwaukee heading into this game with Charlotte. The Hornets will likely be without Gordon Hayward for a second consecutive game tonight which will obviously do no favors for their abysmal offense. With both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday on the floor it’s hard to see a path to success for the Hornets, but that doesn’t mean I’m rushing to back the Bucks here either. Milwaukee might have covered three of four, but it is 3-5 ATS in its last eight games due to some inconsistent performances. In games with large spreads like this it is more beneficial to look in-game for a cheaper number on the big favorite rather than to go to battle preflop.
Devin Vassell is out indefinitely after undergoing a procedure on his knee, and that is obviously a massive blow for San Antonio to lose its second leading scorer. Meanwhile, Detroit is starting to find some consistent success and comes into this game 3-3 SU and ATS in its last six contests. One of the driving forces behind that consistency is the new starting frontcourt for the Pistons of Isiah Stewart and Jalen Duren. With those two on the floor Detroit is grabbing 30.5% of its missed shot attempts and averaging 24.2 putback points per 100 missed shot attempts. They are also much better on the defensive glass, something that was a massive issue for them. There is not much separating these two from a power rating standpoint, so I would not expect much movement on the side, but it is surprising to see this total as high as 236 consensus.
Donovan Mitchell is going to rest tonight and Darius Garland, who has not played since Dec. 29, is questionable to play. This is why this number is as high as it is for Denver, which is coming off an absolute demolition of the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. If neither Mitchell or Garland are on the floor this is going to be bad for the Cavaliers, which struggle to create offense without either running the offense. With this being a back-to-back we can expect that Jamal Murray will miss the game as well. This is a contest with injuries all over that can alter the line, and it is easy to disregard from a preflop standpoint.
Los Angeles is always a mystery when it comes to player availability on back-to-backs, so until this injury report is released it is impossible to get a read. Kawhi Leonard will most certainly sit this game out, and Paul George could as well considering he was dealing with a hamstring injury heading into the game with Denver last night. Minnesota has won and covered its last two games, but if Leonard is the only key absence on the report today I would expect some movement toward the Clippers here.
The betting market has really come around on the Miami Heat as the team has become healthier. After closing as 4.5-point underdogs against both Denver and Utah at the start of this road trip they closed, catching a point against the Clippers and as an 8.5-point favorite against the LeBron James-less Lakers on Wednesday night. Now, they are up to -2 here in Phoenix against the struggling Suns which are 7-11 ATS in their last 18 games.