Hello and welcome back to another incredibly fantastic edition of my NBA betting article! The slate today offers plenty of close spreads within a couple of points as well as a couple that are perceived to get out of hand. We get to see the Lakers vs. Warriors and the Rockets vs. Jazz, both of which should be a view into the Western Conference playoffs, so it’s an exciting day to be a basketball fan for sure. Let’s dig in:
Magic: 3-point favorites vs. Nets
NETS (-109)The public perception of the Nets hasn’t shifted yet this year, which is interesting considering this is a legitimate playoff contender in the East with an all-star guard in D’Angelo Russell. The Magic are -3 favorites as of now with both teams on equal rest, but the level these teams are playing at right now couldn’t be any different. The Nets are 4-2 in their past six games including competitive games against the Celtics and the Spurs while the Magic are 2-4 losing badly against the Thunder and hardly beating the damaged Pacers. The Nets have the 11th best net rating in the league over the past 10 games at 3.4 and the Magic are sitting in the bottom half at -1.1. Most importantly, the Nets have won four of the past six meetings with the Magic, including both games this year. Take advantage of a misplaced spread and take the Nets however way you want it with the ML offering +120 as of now.
Related Bet: Jarrett Allen — 10.5 points
OVER (-132)Allen isn’t necessarily someone that fill up the points category in games. His minutes are generally unstable and he is more of a rim protector than a scoring big man and it shows in his averages. Over his past 10 games he has only broken double digits in points three times, but it hasn’t been a difference in his volume, it’s a difference in his efficiency. The Magic offer up the fifth-most points to centers in the league at 28.7 per 48.5 minutes per game in total and the last time these teams faced off Allen only shot 33% for six points on the day. We can expect some positive regression on his end especially since he has been shooting well, and so long as he plays his regular 20-25 minutes he should be safe to hit this prop.
James Harden: 37.5 Points
OVER (-115)Is this prop egregious? It absolutely is. Do I care about how unlikely it is for 99% of players to hit this mark with any sort of confidence? No, because James Harden is having the greatest offensive season of all-time (outside the silliness of Wilt Chamberlain) and with Chris Paul out for the contest, it’ll be all on the Beard to produce. His record streak of 25 games with 30-plus points is moving forward with a matchup against a Jazz team that has allowed 33.4 points per 50 minutes to opposing point guards over the past 10 games (fourth most) and allows an overall efficiency boost to the opposing point of 7.2 (seventh most). Especially considering his ability to get to the line, his driving to the paint will be a key part of his game against a team that struggles badly on switches and leaves Rudy Gobert out to dry in the paint. It’s a massive prop, but easily attainable for a generational talent.
Heat: 2.5-point favorites vs. Pacers
HEAT (-112)Now I don’t think that the Heat are a good team, and I generally don’t think its good practice to take a mediocre team as a favorite against another mediocre (or good) team, even at home and rested. However, the Pacers have been brutal since Oladipo went down with a season-ending injury and it’s hard to think that they show up in this one. Over the past three games, the Pacers have the third worst defensive rating at 116.5, which, okay, they have played the Warriors and that’s going to hurt your defensive ratings pretty bad. The bigger issue is their 29th rated offensive rating of 97.6, which is just a tad better than the lowly Knicks (96.2), which is caused by an effective field goal percentage of just 47%. All of this leads to the Pacers having the worst net rating in the league at -18.9 over the past three games. This is a case where I think that a middling favorite is undervalued based on a short sample, but without a leader the Pacers are lost and it’s hard to think they get better tonight.
PARLAY OF THE DAY:
James Harden — 37.5 points; Spurs — 10.5-point favorites vs. Pelicans; Warriors — 11-point favorites vs. Lakers
James Harden Over, Pelicans Spread, Lakers Spread (+579)This parlay has a large focus on individual performances. We already went over the Harden prop and why him hitting that incredible point total is entirely plausible considering matchup and volume. The Lakers being +11 underdogs against the cheat code that is the Warriors is a pretty fair line, but I would rather bet on LeBron James asserting dominance over the game and at least catching a cover, even if the rest of the team is bad. Even in his return with a near triple double and 40 minutes played, the Lakers could only manage a 1.7 net rating as a team against the Clippers, so this one is all on LeBron to keep up. The last part of the parlay is hoping for a Pelicans cover against the Spurs. Obviously, the Pelicans are a bad team with their current roster, but they’ve actually been playing really well. They have lost by a margin of less than 10 points in three of their four previous games (the exception being against the Spurs) and over their past five games their net rating is at -3.4 (Spurs at 4.1) which doesn’t spell out a team that deserves to be double-digit dogs even on the road. Lastly, the Pelicans have covered the spread in each of their past 10 games following a home loss, which is a powerful trend moving into tonight. This parlay is nearly 6x value and although it is a definite longshot, it’s entirely plausible with the individuals involved.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.