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: 63-70 | Units: -11.30 | ROI: -8.75%
There are no best bets as of this morning.
Chicago is on my short list of plays to make, but Trae Young’s status makes this unplayable at the moment. If Young plays and this number gets to 1.5 or better in favor of the Bulls I will be on Chicago tonight.
NBA Games & Odds
On Sunday, there were six teams favored by double-digits, and not only did only two of the favored teams cover, but two lost outright. It was a cautionary tale for bettors who are trying to make an easy buck fading some of these downtrodden teams. Having said that, the Pistons might be the only team worthy of such a downgrade. Detroit is 1-20 SU/10-11 ATS in its last 21 games with the worst offensive rating in non-garbage time (109.0) in the league. The market has moved to 12.5 consensus as of this morning, and it's hard to disagree given how poor the Pistons are. Do keep in mind, Bam Adebayo is questionable to play tonight, and the Heat are all but locked into the seventh seed in the East. If he misses this game the number will come back down.
Orlando is absolutely rolling at this point of the season, and it would seem the market is buying in. The Magic are 6-3 SU/8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games with the third best defensive rating in non-garbage time (108.8). Orlando has a great young core and is not interested in improving its draft position at all, and it has made them a great bet down the stretch as the market seems to be moving away from these eliminated teams. As previously mentioned though, with this number now 4.5 consensus it would seem the market has caught on. Remember, the Cavaliers can clinch at least the fourth seed with a win tonight, so there is still plenty of motivation for them to come out and put forth a full effort. Despite the recent efforts from the Magic this might be a sell-high spot on the youngsters.
Milwaukee’s magic number to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference is three, so those who were questioning motivation have their answer. The Bucks need this win, but they will do it without Khris Middleton who will sit on the front end of back-to-back tonight. It’s a big number for Milwaukee as well, as it seems the market is factoring in its motivation to win, as well as Washington’s lack of motivation. The Wizards will once again be without Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis and Monte Morris, and the team is 4-12 SU/6-10 ATS in its last 16 games. However, it has covered four of five because the market has been so low on them in the last few games. Not shockingly, the market is up to 13.5 consensus here which is higher than what I made it.
We’re seeing some contradictory line movement this morning with this game. Minnesota is now favored by two despite Karl-Anthony Towns being labeled as questionable, but the total is dropping with the consensus being 225 as of my writing of this piece. These moves are contradictory because the line is moving as if Towns is playing, but the total is dropping as if he is not going to be available. The play to make here relies on what Towns’ eventual status will be. If he plays, this total will move back toward the open and bettors should try to jump on it before the swing, but if he misses this game then grabbing Brooklyn before the number bounces back is the play.
Boston can clinch a top two seed in the Eastern Conference with a win tonight, but they will likely do it short-handed. Robert Williams will miss this game, as it is the first of a back-to-back for the Celtics, and Jaylen Brown is questionable with lower back pain. This is likely why this number is up to 2.5 at a few shops. Brown’s status will shape this number, and that is how it should be approached. The 76ers have plenty of motivation here as well, as a win for them clinches them at least the third seed in the Eastern Conference, and the team is 0-3 SU and ATS against the Celtics this season.
This is one of the most important games on the board tonight. Atlanta owns the season series through three games so a win would lock in the head-to-head tiebreaker. A win for Chicago matters not only because it would tie the season series, but it would give the Bulls a step up in the tie-breaker as they have the better conference record. With that in mind, we can look at this matchup, but there is a massive name on the injury report that dirties the water.
Trae Young is dealing with a non-COVID illness that has him listed as questionable, and as a result this number has reached 3.5 in some spots. Even if Young plays I believe that 3.5 is the right number here. Chicago is 12-7 SU/11-8 ATS in its last 19 games with the fifth best net rating in non-garbage time (+5.9). More importantly, they have limited opponents to 113.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. At this point the Bulls rate as the better team, even with Young on the floor, but this opening number suggests that is not the case. Young playing will swing this number back toward the Hawks, and if that drops this number to 1.5 it is short number for the Bulls at home in what is a faux playoff game.
Lauri Markkanen is questionable to play and has been in and out of the lineup with more frequency lately, so there is a very good chance he sits this game out with Utah sitting 1.5 games back from the final seed in the Western Conference play-in tournament. The market has already priced this game as if Markkanen will not play, but if he does end up on the floor that -9 that is currently the consensus line will head back toward the Jazz. LeBron James is questionable tonight as well, and because this is the first of a back-to-back with a massive game against the Clippers coming up tomorrow there is certainly more of a chance he misses this game against Utah.
The market move in this game has me thinking bettors are overvaluing motivation once again. New Orleans can clinch at least a play-in berth tonight with a win, so it is a very important game for the home team. However, Sacramento is coming off of a loss to San Antonio at home, and it still needs a win to clinch the third seed in the Western Conference. This number has been bet up to -4 consensus, and while I understand Malik Monk, who is questionable, is an extremely valuable player for the Kings, I do not believe his potential absence makes the Pelicans a higher rated team. Furthermore, this number would likely close even higher should Monk be ruled out.