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.
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*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 56-63 | Units: -9.74 | ROI: -8.39%
Kevin Durant is out for at least the next two weeks, but do not sleep on Phoenix going forward. Their starting lineup of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig and Deandre Ayton is +9.3 per 100 possessions, and is still perfectly capable of performing at a high level. It is also capable of taking advantage of the Kings’ porous defense. In the second half of their win against New York they allowed 1.185 points per possession, and allowed the Knicks to get back into a game in which they trailed by 16 points. That defense is why many are doubting Sacramento’s legitimacy as a title contender, and it is why I am betting against them tonight.
Bet: Suns (-3.5)
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Jalen Brunson will not play tonight due to the sore foot he has been dealing with, but the betting market does not seem to mind. This number is down a full point despite Brunson’s absence this afternoon, which is something we do not usually see the market do. It does seem the market is down on the Clippers, as we saw money come in against them on Wednesday, so perhaps this is that sentiment playing out once more. At the beginning of February these two teams met in New York and Los Angeles closed as a 2.5-point favorite in a game they eventually won in overtime. This line today represents about a three point adjustment from that meeting, and that is without the Knickerbockers’ best player on the floor.
Jimmy Butler has been dealing with knee soreness throughout the season, and it has caused him to miss plenty of time. Playing a road game on no rest is usually the best spot for a player to take a night off, and there is certainly a chance we see this here. The total has been bet up to 220.5 consensus here, and it’s easy to see why. Orlando has evolved into an offense that thrives in transition. Since the beginning of January they have the sixth highest frequency of possessions beginning with a transition play (16.6%) and the fourth highest off live rebounds (32.9%). Meanwhile, Miami will not run frequently off rebounds, but they will run off forced turnovers. The Heat average 18.3 points off turnovers per game, and the Magic happen to turn the ball over on 15.1% of their offensive possessions. If the injury report does not include Butler we can expect another slight bump in the total, likely closing it around 221.5 consensus.
Boston’s offense is in a small rut, and that has led to a 2-4 SU and ATS slump in its last six games. The Celtics are extremely reliant on their shooting to carry their offense, so when that shooting cools down the offense does as well. Over these six games Boston is shooting just 34.4% from beyond the arc, and as a result they are averaging just 109.4 points per 100 possessions. That makes it extremely difficult to find the spot in which the team bounces back, as shooting slumps tend to be random when they break. During this current six-game slide the Celtics are still playing good defense, allowing only 110.0 points per 100 possessions, so should they find their stroke they could easily cover this number against Atlanta which is playing on no rest after beating Washington last night.
As mentioned in the column on Thursday, the betting market seems to be at an all-time low on Houston, and that angle paid off as the Rockets covered a big number in overtime against Indiana. Fading these “tanking” teams is not as easy as most would think, and the Rockets are evidence of that with a 3-1 ATS record in their last four games. This game is another good example of the betting market perhaps undervaluing Houston. Chicago is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games. Its offense has averaged only 110.3 points per 100 possessions, and as a result it has a +0.6 net rating. Yet, the betting market is betting into this number and driving it up to 7.5 consensus. The message here is the same as the message on Thursday: You’re not getting the value you think when betting against the “tanking” teams.
Kyrie Irving is questionable to play with foot soreness officially, but he missed practice the other day due to personal reasons and it seems unlikely that he will take the floor tonight. Luka Doncic has already been ruled out, so it would seem that Dallas is going to be searching far and wide for any sort of offense today against Memphis. The Grizzlies lead the league in non-garbage time defensive rating at home (105.9), and they will be able to lock down a Mavericks team missing its top two offensive pieces should Irving miss this game. The total is up to 224.5 but monitor Irving’s status today. If he does not play, then this is a bet on the Under.