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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: 37-44 | Units: -8.56 | ROI: -10.82%
The absence of Kevin Durant obviously puts a damper on the magnitude of this affair, but this is still a fantastic contest. Boston has won four straight, but since Dec. 10 the team is 9-7 SU/5-10-1 ATS with a +1.8 net rating in non-garbage time. Clearly the Celtics are not playing at the same level they were at the beginning of the season, but the market continues to rate them like they are. The change for Boston has been its offense, which is averaging just 114.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during this stretch.
This will be the first time we see Brooklyn since losing Durant to injury, and there is no denying they are a worse team without him. On the season, the Nets are outscored by 3.4 points per 100 possessions and their offensive rating of 108.1 ranks in the 11th percentile of lineups. However, their defense is still above average, limiting opponents to 111.5 points per 100 possessions. Nic Claxton is going to be on the floor, so this defense should maintain its level of play that we have seen since Nov. 1 and that leads me to look at his game Under the total.
Play: UNDER 228
Best Bet Recap
Celtics/Nets UN (228)
Joel Embiid is no longer on the injury report for Philadelphia after returning on Tuesday against Detroit. Embiid is a mismatch for any team in the NBA, but that is magnified in this matchup against a Thunder team that is severely undersized up front. Having said that, there will be questions as to what Embiid’s workload will be like after only playing 25 minutes in his return. Oklahoma City’s lack of size can also be used as an advantage, as they run as much as any team in the NBA. The Thunder are ninth in frequency of possessions off live rebounds that start with a transition play (30.7%) and the 76ers rank 23rd in opponent points added per 100 possessions in those situations (1.5). In other words, teams can run on Philadelphia and Oklahoma City will try to do just that.
Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry will not play for Miami, but the Heat do draw the Bucks on the second leg of a back-to-back which opens the door for Milwaukee to potentially sit some of their own. Regardless, this is a meeting of two of the best defensive teams in the league, and they each get to defend an inconsistent unit. Until the injury report is out for the Bucks its hard to handicap this early. Will Jrue Holiday or Giannis Antetokounmpo sit? If they do those line altering moves bettors do not want to be behind.
This total opened up 2.5 points higher than when these two teams met on Tuesday, and it makes sense on the surface when these two combined for 252 points. However, despite that massive score it is important to realize that the game was actually an extremely slow affair that had 95 total possessions. If the pace remains the same, but efficiency drops this would be a much lower scoring game, but with a higher preflop total. If bettors expect both teams to average better than 1.269 points per possession this could be another Over, but there are signs that the market is overvaluing the result of the first game.