NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, March 18th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

March 18, 2023 09:26 AM


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

Best Bets

Record: 58-65 | Units: -9.92 | ROI: -8.26%

It would seem that we are seeing a rash of big names dealing with bumps and bruises, and that has led to a lot of noise early in the day when handicapping the NBA. However, being patient is beneficial to bettors.

Take last night’s card as a great example. I had my buy price on New Orleans, and the number never reached that point. The Pelicans went on to lose outright to the Rockets, so the practice of not betting the number outside of my price range worked out. As did patiently waiting for news on Kyrie Irving, who returned and led Dallas to a big win over Los Angeles.

Unfortunately today is another day in which we have to show some patience. There are multiple teams on back-to-backs tonight, so we do not have information on their personnel’s availability. We can assume, but you know what they say about assuming. 

NBA Games & Odds

Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers (-8.5, 227)

Los Angeles was circled as a best bet in this spot against Orlando, but with this being the frontend of a back-to-back for the Clippers, the team has decided to sit Kawhi Leonard. Los Angeles is still an above average team without Leonard on the floor, but not one worth laying large numbers with. In the possessions with Paul George on the floor without Leonard the Clippers only have a +0.2 net rating, and they have allowed 1.201 points per possession. Without either Leonard or George on the floor the Clippers have a -6.6 net rating since the trade deadline, so those bench minutes for George tonight are going to be when Los Angeles is at its weakest. Perhaps playing them in-game after those stints for better numbers is the way to go, but no Leonard means no bet here.

*Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5, 234) at Indiana Pacers

Indiana has proven to be a thorn in the side of Philadelphia this season, but it is not likely that trend continues tonight. Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte are all out tonight for Indiana, and those are massive absences. Specifically when it comes to Haliburton, as the Pacers’ net rating goes from -0.3 to -6.1 when he is off the court. However, before anyone can rush in to bet Philadelphia the injury report needs to be released. This is the second leg of a back-to-back for the 76ers, and rest is always a possibility in these scenarios. James Harden, Joel Embiis and Tyrese Maxey all played fewer than 31 minutes in the win over Charlotte last night, but it is always better to confirm in these scenarios.

*Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors (-6, 227.5)

This is a tough situation for Minnesota tonight. The Timberwolves are coming in on no rest after a double-overtime loss in Chicago last night, and in the first quarter of that game they lost Anthony Edwards to an ankle injury. We can certainly expect Edwards to miss the game, but there could be plenty of absences due to rest in this game as well. Rudy Gobert is always carrying a questionable tag into games, and key players like Kyle Anderson and Mike Conley played 51 and 46 minutes respectively. All of these factors add up to this number for Toronto, which is very high on its surface.

Sacramento Kings (-2.5, 236) at *Washington Wizards

It’s the second leg of a back-to-back for Washington, and the name to keep track of for this game is Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma returned from a one-game absence last night, but that missed game was due to a sore knee which could cause the team to rest him tonight. Meanwhile, Kevin Huerter popped up on the injury report for Sacramento and that would be a big absence if he cannot play. Huerter improves the Kings’ offensive rating by 5.5 points every 100 possessions on the floor, and his two-man game with Domantas Sabonis is one of the best weapons this offense has. Sacramento is nearing the peak of its market rating to begin with, so the potential absence of Huerter could make this a sell-high spot for the Kings.

Miami Heat (-2, 218) at *Chicago Bulls

Chicago finds itself in a somewhat similar situation as Minnesota does today. The Bulls were on the winning end of that double-overtime affair last night, and they run it back tonight against the Heat. Chicago is playing at home, so the impact of no rest is not as dramatic for them, but they still have guys like DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine coming off 52- and 47-minute outings the night before. Do either of them find themselves with a night off tonight? My guess would be that both will be available for a massive game in the Eastern Conference. 

Chicago is barely holding on to the 10th seed and Miami is just 1.5 games behind Brooklyn for the sixth seed. Both teams need this game, and should everyone be available this would be an interesting spot for the Bulls. The Heat have been wildly overvalued by the betting market, and enter this game 25-44-2 ATS on the season. The market regularly moves in Miami’s direction as well, and this game is no different with 3.5 starting to appear at multiple shops. Once we get clarity on the Bulls’ injury report this will be a play on Chicago barring any absences.

*Golden State Warriors at *Memphis Grizzlies (-5, 236.5)

This opening number seemed to indicate that Golden State would be resting some personnel on the second leg of a back-to-back. However, the line was brought down to 1.5 this morning and that is the right move here. Yes, the Warriors are now 0-10 SU and ATS in their last 10 road games, and for the season they are a league worst 7-28 SU/9-26 ATS away from home, but that opening number was incorrect. It would seem that Golden State is not resting their personnel tonight, and Draymond Green should be back after serving a one-game suspension last night for his 16th technical foul on the season. This is also a less than beneficial situation for Memphis, which was pushed to overtime by San Antonio last night in another failed cover on the road.

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