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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: 24-30 | Units: -6.93 | ROI: -13.29%
Chris Paul could make his return from injury tonight, and it could not come at a more perfect time. The Suns are 9-5 SU/8-4 ATS in the games since Paul injured his heel, but their defense has allowed 114.7 points per 100 possessions in those 13 games, the 20th best defensive rating in the league over that stretch. For context, Phoenix allowed only 106.8 in the first 10 games of the season with Paul, and his return should improve their play on that end of the floor. That will be needed against this Boston offense which leads the league in efficiency (121.4).
This isn’t the best spot for the Celtics either, as this will be their third road game in four nights after a lengthy six-game homestand that took place over the course of 10 days. Boston showed signs of a slow start in Toronto on Monday night, but had a dominant third quarter on the way to yet another victory. It could catch up with them here against Phoenix which is 12-2 SU/9-5 ATS at home this season.
On the surface this matchup seemingly works well for the Suns too. They take the third most mid-range attempts of any team in the league (36.1% of attempts) and the Celtics have allowed the most mid-range attempts of any defense in the league (38.8%). Boston has been below average in its halfcourt defense as well, giving up 97.8 points per 100 plays on the season and it faces an offense which averages 98.9 on the season and 100.5 since losing Paul to injury. Considering the matchup and the potential of Paul’s return dropping this number I’ll side with Phoenix tonight.
Play: Suns ML (+105)
One of the oddest trends of the season so far is the Brooklyn Nets coming into this game as the second best Under team in the league. Thus far 64.0% of the Nets’ games have gone Under the total, which is counter to what the collective believed would be the case for this team this season. Part of what has led to this shocking run is their defense which is actually fourth in the league since Steve Nash’s firing at the beginning of November, allowing just 108.9 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. Despite that, this seems to be a game worth betting Over tonight.
First, Brooklyn’s defense could be in for some regression. If you look at their effective field goal percentage allowed of 49.8% it would blow you away, as it is the best in the league since the beginning of November. However, Cleaning The Glass’ location effective field goal percentage has the Nets at 54.9% which would be 21st in the league over that stretch, a sign of regression to come. There’s also the matter of their opponent tonight and its strengths.
Charlotte might not be the most gifted offensive team in the league, but it ranks seventh in offensive rebounding rate (29.1%) and Brooklyn is last in defensive rebounding rate (68.8%). There should be plenty of second chance scoring opportunities for the Hornets. They also force turnovers on 14.3% of opponent possessions and are third in points added per 100 possessions through transition offense off steals (+2.2), two areas which the Nets have struggled with. There should be plenty of opportunities for both teams tonight, so give me Over the second lowest total the Nets have had on a game in the last three weeks.
Play: Over 221.5
Best Bet Recap
Hornets/Nets OV (221.5)
Suns ML (+105)
Marcus Morris, Norm Powell and John Wall will all sit for the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, but Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will be on the floor once again. Leonard looked comfortable in his return from injury on Monday, scoring the final four points for the Clippers in a win over the Hornets. The betting market has not moved much on the side, but this total has dropped to 215.5 consensus this morning. Los Angeles did allow 1.184 points per possession to Charlotte on Monday, but this team should get better defensively the more Leonard and George play, and against one of the most turnover prone teams in the league in Orlando they could flex their muscles tonight. Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke and Jalen Suggs all remain out for the Magic tonight.
Everybody might be excited about the narrative behind Trae Young playing at Madison Square Garden, but there is little to be excited about for Atlanta. Its most recent loss to Oklahoma City dropped the team to 6-8 SU/5-9 ATS in its last 14 games. Their offense continues to flounder, averaging just 109.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during this slump and their shooting has been abysmal. It is certainly possible facing the Knicks, which have been just as inconsistent in its 3-6 SU/3-5-1 ATS slide it is currently on, raises the floor of the Hawks’ offense but they managed just 1.046 points per possession against the Thunder on Monday. The betting market has not moved the total on this game, but we’ve seen a slight move toward Atlanta which is now catching 1.5 consensus.
Los Angeles lost Anthony Davis to illness during its loss to Cleveland last night and had its successful run ruined by the Cavaliers. The Lakers now travel to Toronto to play the Raptors on with no rest and it would seem that Davis is not going to be available tonight with this number now as high as it is on the market. If Los Angeles does have Davis and LeBron James this matchup is very interesting. Toronto has had trouble keeping opponents out of the restricted area this season. They allow opponents to take 36.9% of their attempts within four feet and they allow 69.8% shooting at the rim. The Lakers take 40.5% of their shots in the restricted area and shoot 68.5% on those attempts, the eighth best shooting percentage in that area of the floor in the league.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins are all getting the night off in Utah, so this number has swung from the opening line of Warriors -2 to Jazz -7.5 which is the consensus line as of this morning. Mike Conley will reportedly return tonight which helps a team that is 4-9 SU/5-8 ATS in its last 13 games, but remember that he will be on a minute restriction tonight. The reason Utah has been struggling is because it cannot defend a soul on this planet. The Jazz have allowed 118.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over this 13 game slump, the third-worst defensive rating in the league, and that would give me pause in laying such a number.