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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: 19-27 | Units: -8.67 | ROI: -19.65%
As previously mentioned, the fall from grace for Utah is real. The Jazz might have covered against the Suns on Saturday night, but this team is now 2-7 SU/3-6 ATS in its last nine games with a 121.0 defensive rating in non-garbage time which is the second worst defensive rating in the league over that stretch. Utah is failing to turn teams over, and the 30.8% offensive rebounding rate allowed to opponents is the third worst rate in those nine games. That level of play raises the floor of any opponent they face at this point, and that would include Chicago which comes in 20th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (111.4).
Utah has made it a priority to run opponents off the 3-point line and force them into contested shots at the rim or mid-range attempts. It is why they have allowed opponents to take 35.1% of their attempts at the rim and 34.0% of their shots from mid-range. The problem here is that Chicago wants to do just that. The Bulls take the fourth most mid-range shots of any team in the league and they shoot 42.9% from that area of the floor. Their rim rate is also 12th in the NBA at 34.5% so walking into those attempts is something Chicago would love to do. On top of that, the Bulls have been surprisingly effective in transition, averaging 1.227 points per play in transition off live rebounds, an area of the floor which the Jazz rank 22nd in defensively (129.2).
Chicago has been fine defensively this season, but the one thing that it can rely on is its ability to rebound. Utah wants to crash the offensive glass and score on second chance opportunities. They rank fourth in offensive rebounding rate (30.7%) and seventh in second chance points per game (16.0). However, the Bulls are the sixth best defensive rebounding team in the league (75.4%) and limit opponents to just 11.3 second chance points per game. Chicago has not been in the best form recently, coming into this game 3-7 SU/4-6 ATS in its last 10 games, but I believe the matchups work well in their favor and I am looking to playing against Utah as it reverts back to form until the market makes a real adjustment.
Play: Bulls ML (+110)
Best Bet Recap
Bulls ML (+110)
As we discussed in yesterday’s report, the inconsistencies of Atlanta’s play is maddening. The Heat held the Hawks to 0.98 points per possession on Sunday, and Atlanta fell to 4-6 SU/3-7 ATS in their last 10 games. Over the course of those 10 games the Hawks have a -4.2 net rating, and their offense is managing just 107.8 points per 100 possessions. There has been no reason to rush to support the Hawks, and tonight there is a chance we get Joel Embiid back on the floor for Philadelphia. The 76ers big man was reportedly set to miss at least two games with a foot injury, but four games later he has yet to return. Now that Philadelphia is back home from a three-game road trip it would make sense for him to make his return should he be healthy. With his potential return looming, as well as the Hawks’ recent struggles, it would be hard to get involved early today.
The last two games for Minnesota have been downright embarrassing. They were blown out in the third quarter against Charlotte on Friday, and yesterday Golden State blasted them 47-27 in the first quarter, something they never recovered from. Teams are testing the size of this team by running as often as possible, and over the last four games they are allowing 1.676 points per play in transition off live rebounds. That will likely get tested again tonight against Washington, a team which begins 32.6% of their possessions off a live rebound with a transition play. Having said that, the recent results have not been there for the Wizards, who enter this game 2-4 SU/1-5 ATS in their last six games. The side has not budged here, but the market has pushed this total down to 226.5 at some shops.
Boston is now 12-1 SU/9-4 ATS in its last 13 games with a +11.5 net rating in non-garbage time. The Celtics’ offense has carried them during this run, putting up 124.3 points per 100 possessions with Jayson Tatum leading the way with 30.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during this run. However, Tatum did not play yesterday and the offense did not miss a beat in the win over the Wizards. Tatum’s availability is in question once more tonight, but even if he misses the game it’s clear Boston can execute the game plan it wants regardless of his presence. Having said that, there is one thing that sticks out during this run and that is Boston’s defense. The Celtics have allowed 112.8 points per 100 possessions during this 13-game stretch, a below average defensive rating which is something that still plagues this team. It would give me pause in laying such a big number, even with the dominance of this offense.
This seems like a large number for a team which plays inconsistent defense on the second leg of a back-to-back, and the market has responded the way you would expect, as this is down to 10.5 consensus. There is also the risk of players like Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant resting tonight, so I would be in no rush to get involved early here. It’s also the second leg of a back-to-back for Orlando which is beat up. Mo Bamba left yesterday’s game with a back injury, Terrence Ross only played eight minutes due to illness, Jalen Suggs was out with an ankle injury and Wendell Carter Jr. has missed the last four games himself. It really is just a messy game with much better options on the board available.
Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert have been dealing with injury and missed Cleveland’s win over Detroit on Sunday, so waiting for the injury report from the Cavaliers will be essential here. Meanwhile, the Raptors could be the healthiest they have been in a while with the return of Pascal Siakam looming, as well as Scottie Barnes who has been out the last two games. Should Dalano Banton also come back this team is suddenly working with depth that has eluded them for the last few weeks. It is likely why we’ve seen this number climb from the open to -2.5 at some shops. The betting market has been using three points for homecourt this season, so this current number would say that Cleveland still rates as the slightly better team, something that is not true considering the potential absence of Allen.
Oklahoma City has hit a lull once again, falling to 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games. Over the course of the last eight games the Thunder have allowed 118.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time and an opponent offensive rebounding rate of 30.9%, two things that can play into the hands of the Pelicans tonight. New Orleans took one on the chin Friday against Memphis, but overall the team is playing a more consistent brand of basketball with a 5-2 SU and ATS record over the last seven games. This is a matchup that I believe works in favor of the Pelicans, but the injury report is keeping me away for now. Brandon Ingram is doubtful with a toe injury and Larry Nance Jr. is questionable. Ingram’s absence coupled with McCollum’s injury really cuts into the stable of shot creators this team has. The side has been floating around the opening number, but the total has been bet up to 233.5 which makes sense for two quick, transition-based offenses.
This is a perfect example of a “market adjustment” that I’m always writing about in these reports. Yesterday, Indiana was here in Los Angeles taking on the Clippers, and after closing as a small road favorite they dropped the game by 14 points. Today, they opened as 5-point underdogs to the Lakers. Is this version of the Lakers actually six points better than the Clippers without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard? No, the market just adjusted its rating of the Pacers after clearly overvaluing them yesterday. There has been some correction, as this line is down to -4 in some spots, but this is a great example of how the market can adjust its rating of a team on a night-to-night basis.
As far as the game itself is concerned, bettors might want some clarity on the status of Anthony Davis before getting involved early. He’s been listed as questionable with a calf injury, and should he miss this game those who want to back Los Angeles will be able to grab a better number. The Lakers are taking advantage of a soft portion of their schedule, and enter this game 5-1 SU/4-1-1 ATS in their last six. However, Davis has been a massive part of that run, averaging 33.4 points and 17.6 rebounds on 64.4% shooting. He missed the last win over San Antonio, but even with LeBron James back I would want him active here against Indiana.