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
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 24-29 | Units: -5.93 | ROI: -11.60%
Here we are once more with a Boston Celtics game in the ‘Best Bets’ category of the article, and once more I will be taking my shot at the unstoppable force that is the Celtics. However, this one is more about the opponent than it is about going against Boston. Toronto has been playing very well at home this season, coming into this game 9-2 SU/8-3 ATS at Scotiabank Arena with a +6.7 net rating in non-garbage time. They are also mostly healthy, with Pascal Siakam back in the lineup for the last four games and their starting lineup essentially whole once again. Their roster of wings can match with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on defense, and their skill in transition both offensively and defensively should work well here. This also is not the best scheduling situation for Boston. They spent nearly two weeks at home, and are in Toronto tonight with no rest after playing a tight game with Brooklyn on Sunday.
Play: Raptors ML (+105)
Best Bet Recap
Raptors ML (+105)
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are questionable to play tonight, and unless both play, and play without massive restrictions, it's hard to want to go to bat with Los Angeles. Since losing both to injury the Clippers have the fifth worst defensive rating in the NBA (120.4) and the team is 2-3 SU and ATS with a -12.3 net rating in non-garbage time. It seems likely both return tonight, and the market has responded as such with this number now 2.5 consensus. Charlotte is still without LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Cody Martin and Dennis Smith Jr. as well, so this is a game worth scratching off until clarity on the injury report comes through.
Grayson Allen is questionable to play with injury and Brook Lopez is likely getting a night off tonight, so Milwaukee will not be whole once again when it takes the floor in Orlando. Khris Middleton will be back on the floor, so the Bucks will at least have their three core players tonight, and against the Magic that might just be enough. Orlando has lost eight straight and is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games. Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke and Jalen Suggs all continue to miss time, and Mo Bamba carries his usual questionable designation into this game as well. Until some of these bodies start to mend and return for the Magic it is going to be an opponent or pass, but there has not been much movement here on the side or total, likely due to the questionable status of Lopez.
Everything seems to be on thin ice in Atlanta. It has been reported that Trae Young missed the win over Denver on Friday because he refused to play as opposed to the shoulder injury he was listed with. He is expected to return tonight, but the issues off the court could be a big reason why this team has been as inconsistent as it has this season. The team has won and covered its last two, but now John Collins is out for the next two weeks as well. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS in its last five games, and it comes into this game with the third best cover rate on the road (8-4 ATS, 66.7%). The key here will be Atlanta’s ability to defend in transition. They only allow 1.133 points per play in transition off live rebounds, the sixth best defensive rating in that category this season, and 1.197 overall. If they can bottle up Oklahoma City’s transition attack, something the numbers suggest they can, then this should be a matchup that works in their favor. However, given the non-basketball issues this team is dealing with and the inconsistencies it has shown I would rather not invest my hard-earned dollars into their success.
Miami’s injury report is wild once again, but the most important name is Jimmy Butler. Butler returned from a seven-game absence on Friday night in Boston to help lead the Heat to a win. However, he has popped up on the report again with knee soreness and is questionable to play in this game. If he cannot go this number extends to Memphis even more than the market consensus of 1.5 this morning. The Grizzlies do come in on the second leg of a back-to-back so there is certainly a chance that a player like Jaren Jackson Jr. finds himself with the night off, so monitor the injury reports. There is no need to get involved early here considering the potential of big names not being available.
Dallas wiped the floor with New York on Saturday to improve to 2-1 SU and ATS in its last three games, but this is the second time in four games it will have to host a Western Conference contender. The question in this game is going to be how Phoenix defend’s Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. Since losing Chris Paul to injury the Suns are 19th in defensive efficiency, allowing 113.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. Doncic loves to exploit mismatches or work out of the post while Dallas runs its many shooters off the ball. This will be a massive test for a defense which has trouble with many offenses in the 13 games without its point guard. The betting market has not budged on side or total here, and I understand why. This figures to be a volatile, back-and-forth affair with plenty of in-game opportunities. Add in the lack of an injury report for one of the teams and you get the freeze we see this morning. Personally, I had a lean to the Over, but the non-Doncic minutes have the potential to drag the scoring pace down and that scares me off the play.