The San Antonio Spurs made us sweat it out a little bit Monday, but got the job done in the end. Still, just 2-3 ATS since the restart and taking it slow a little bit until the playoffs. A couple of fairly early starts today, so we’ll get right to it.
Brooklyn vs. Milwaukee: The Bucks are -17.5 at DraftKings and it’s hard to take Milwaukee in what is essentially a meaningless game for them here. The Bucks are 8-4 ATS after a loss and could have a bit of a letdown after playing Boston and Houston. The Nets can catch Orlando for the No. 7 seed, although beating a team so you don’t have to face them in the playoffs doesn’t yield a lot of incentive. I have the Bucks winning but not covering.
Dallas vs. Sacramento: The Mavs are favored by 6.5 with a total of 235.5 and the price seems a little cheap, although the two numbers that have Dallas covering have them winning by 7 and 7.5. I have the Kings with the other. The numbers are leaning towards the under in this one and I’ll give the under a shot in this one.
Phoenix vs. Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are favored by 8.5 with a total of 230.5 and I have them winning by 7 twice and by 13 on the other set of numbers I ran. I have totals ranging between 227 and 229 on the game.
Orlando vs. Indiana: The Magic opened as 2-point favorites and the number is down to 1.5, while the total has moved from 223 to 225.5. I do have the Pacers winning by 1,2 and 3 points, although that isn’t factoring in the injury to Sabonis. The season-long numbers have become worthless when trying to measure the Magic from a totals standpoint, while the most recent numbers are calling for 223 and 231 points.
Boston vs. Miami: The Celtics opened as 3-point favorites and the number has climbed to 3.5, while I have the Heat covering with all three numbers. Two of the methods do pick the Celtics to win, by 3 and by 1 point, while the other has the Heat winning by a pair. Going to take a shot on the Heat +3.5 in this one.
Houston vs. Portland: The Rockets have come down a little bit in this one, having opened 5 and now sitting at 4.5. The Blazers catch Houston coming off a big win over Milwaukee and are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, while the Rockets are playing for seeding. But there’s no difference between finishing No. 4 or No. 5 this season, so not sure of the effort we’ll see from Houston here. I have Houston by 5 and by 6, along with one method that calls it even, while projected totals range from 239 to 242.
NBA numbers a little late coming out today, with several injuries up in the air, so we’ll switch and use the number from Draft Kings, as we try to get going in the right direction here. The overall projections haven’t been as bad as the 1-3 record, which has been a case of choosing the wrong game a couple of days. While that happens throughout the season, it’s a little more noticeable at the start when you don’t have many games to make up your record.
Toronto vs. Miami: An early start in this one, the Raptors have moved up to 3.5-point favorites and are getting more than two-thirds of the wagers in the game. I have the Raptors by 3, 4 and 5 points, so not much of a difference there. The total is now 220 after opening at 221 and the three numbers I ran are all on the under, although one of them is at 219 points. The Raptors could have a bit of a letdown after beating the Lakers, but Toronto is 4-3 after a straight-up win as a dog. They are 2-5 in totals in those games, so would probably lean to the under if I really had to play this one.
Indiana vs. Washington: The Pacers are 7.5 and the total is 227.5, which is pretty much right at the opening number, and I have the Pacers but not covering. I have this landing under the number with two of the three sets of numbers, but the Wizards are 6-3 in totals with no rest and the Pacers are 6-2 after scoring at least 120 points.
Denver vs. Oklahoma City: The Thunder are 5.5 with a total of 218 and I have Denver covering with two of the three numbers and the game landing on the under with two of the three methods.
Memphis vs. New Orleans: I have the Grizzlies covering this one, which is now up to 4.5 after opening at New Orleans -3. Memphis is getting 60% of the wagers in the game, so some sharp money on the Pelicans.
San Antonio vs. Philadelphia: The 76ers are favored by and the total is 226.5. I have the Spurs covering with all three numbers, so going to take a stab with the Spurs +7 here. San Antonio is just 10-18 ATS after a win, but after dropping their first nine in that spot to start the season, have covered seven of their last 11. The most recent numbers lean to the over.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz: The Lakers are 6 and the total is 216 and I have each team covering once, along with a 6-point projection. The total is the same, with one over, one under and one right at 216.
We had the worst of the line in the Lakers game, but it didn’t make a difference, as we picked up the first win since the restart to move to 1-2. Six games on the slate for Sunday.
Washington vs. Brooklyn: The Nets are -2.5 and the total on this one is 235.5 at William Hill. Both my season-to-date and last 10 game efficiency ratings are calling for 232 points, so not much of an edge with the total. I have Brooklyn winning by 3.5 with the season numbers and the Wizards by 1.5 with the most recent numbers. This one could climb, as three-quarters of the wagers are coming in on the favorite.
Portland vs. Boston: The Celtics are 4.5 and the total has climbed three points to 230.5 and both of my efficiency ratings are calling for this one to land under the total. The Celtics have been an over team after a loss, while Portland has had a tendency to go over after a win, but have to think the Celtics play better defense and will take a shot on the under 230.5 in this one.
San Antonio vs. Memphis: Memphis is favored by 4 and the total here is 234.5. I have Memphis winning by 1 and 1.5, so the numbers lean to the Spurs a little bit, but San Antonio is just 9-18 ATS after a win this year. The numbers lean to the under, with Memphis playing a little better defense over the last 10 games, although it didn’t show against Portland.
Sacramento vs. Orlando: The Magic are favored by 2.5 with a total of 227.5 and a huge disparity in this one based on the season numbers compared to the most recent. With the season numbers, the Magic are projected to win 106-105, while the numbers from the last 10 games show a 120-117 Orlando win.
Milwaukee vs. Houston: The Bucks are favored by 4.5 and the total here is up to 241.5, which has actually come down slightly from a high of 242. I have the Bucks winning by 8 with the season-to-date numbers but just by 3 with the most recent figures. Both numbers call for this one to land under the total. Good game to watch but a little tough from a betting standpoint.
Dallas vs. Phoenix: The Mavs are favored by 6 with a total of 236.5, while I have Dallas winning by 6.5 and by 3 with the most recent numbers. The Mavs are 19-8 ATS after a loss and Phoenix is 10-16 ATS after a win. Both sets of numbers have this one landing on the under.
The dreaded overtime underdog loss with Memphis yesterday, as we limp out of the gate with an 0-2 record since the NBA restart. Just one of those games where we probably had the right side, but wrong result. Today, we have a five-game slate and we’ll use the lines from William Hill sportsbook.
Miami vs. Denver: The Nuggets are favored by 1 and the total is 211 in this one. This one should be pretty close and it’s reflected in the line. In the four sets of numbers I ran, two of them are calling this one even, while the numbers from the last 10 games before the shutout have Miami winning by a point and by 2.4. The most recent numbers are leaning towards the over, while the season-long numbers are split on the total.
Utah vs. Oklahoma City: The Thunder are -1.5 and the total in this one is 216.5 and this is another game where the Jazz get the nod by a point in the season-to-date numbers, while the Thunder are projected to win by 2 and 3.5 in the most recent numbers. This is the first game for the Thunder since the restart, so the Jazz could have a slight advantage there. The numbers are pretty much split on the total.
New Orleans vs. LA Clippers: Both teams are coming off tough losses and the Clippers are favored by 5 with a total of 228.5. New Orleans has covered 11 of its last 14 games following a loss, while Los Angeles is 17-3 straight-up and 15-5 ATS after a setback, so definitely contrasting trends there. I have the Clippers winning between 6 and 7.5 points and three of the numbers are calling for an over, with the most recent 10 games leaning to the under.
Philadelphia vs. Indiana: The 76ers are favored by 5.5 and the total here is 216.5. The big story in this one is Victor Oladipo and if he will play for the Pacers. Indiana will already be without Sabonis so even though Oladipo isn’t haven’t his best season, he would be a welcome addition for the team. I have this one essentially even, so would have the 76ers -3 to account for the injury to the big man. The Saturday morning injury report is now showing Brogdon questionable with a sore neck, so going to stay away from this one in a spot I was looking at the Pacers.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors: Decent game here, where the Lakers are -3.5 and the total is now at 217. I have the Lakers winning, but the Raptors covering, although the Lakers are 28-21 ATS after a win. Toronto won in Los Angeles earlier this season and Los Angeles is 5-2 ATS playing a team it lost to earlier. Going to take a stab on the under 217 in this one, primarily due to the efficiency ratings of the last 10 games.
We had the best of the number in the Utah total on Thursday, but it didn’t make any difference, as we dropped our first NBA play on a night where the sportsbooks did pretty well, with the two favorites not covering. There are still a lot of unknown factors regarding the NBA and it’s too early to read too much into the first two games.
Brooklyn vs. Orlando: The Magic are favored by 7 with a total of 212 at William Hill and the Magic were an over machine before the shutdown, but it remains to be seen how they come out in this one. Everybody knows about the issues the Nets are having, with Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Kyrie Irving out. Season numbers have this total right at 212, although the most recent games have it at 230, but it’s hard to get involved with the Nets out of the gate.
Memphis vs. Portland: The Blazers are to 3-point favorites and the total is 224. Neither team is fully healthy, with Portland missing Trevor Hood and Rodney Ariza and the Grizzlies without Justice Winslow and a few players questionable for this one. I have Memphis covering this one with both sets of efficiency numbers and will go ahead and take the Grizzlies +3 in this one.
Phoenix vs. Washington: The Suns are favored by 7, which is a little too high, as too much is being made into Bradley Beal’s absence for the Wizards. He can score, but doesn’t do a whole lot of anything else. I have Phoenix by 5 with full-season numbers and 3.5 looking at the most recent numbers, so nothing really worthwhile here. Those projections do account for Beal not playing.
Boston vs. Milwaukee: The game of the day sees Milwaukee favored by 5 with a total of 218.5 and I have the Bucks winning by 5 and 3.5, with one over projection and one under. The most recent scores are calling for the under, as the Bucks turned up the defense before the shutdown.
Sacramento vs. San Antonio: The Kings are favored by 3.5 with a total of 220.5 in another game where I both teams covering the spread. Both efficiency ratings have this one sneaking over the total, but not by enough to make this one a play.
Houston vs. Dallas: Another solid game here, where the Mavs are favored by 1 and the total is 229. I have the Mavs winning by two, while total projections of 236 and 226 with the most recent numbers, as Dallas is another team that started playing better on the defensive side of things before the shutdown.
Ready or not, the NBA will kick-off with a pair of games on Thursday. What exactly is going to take place in these final eight games is a bit of an unknown, although from a scheduling standpoint it’s not necessarily bad for basketball bettors, with five to seven games staggered throughout the day on most days. There are a fair number of early games on the schedule.
The lines have been up for the first few days on the schedule for over a week now, so I’m not sure how much line movement we’ll see before tip-off.
Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans: The Jazz opened as 1.5-point favorites when this one came out and now the Pelicans are favored by 2.5 points at William Hill and the total has moved from 218.5 to 222. Zion Williamson’s status is still unknown but he has cleared quarantine and practiced with the team.
I have widely different projections on this one depending on the numbers that are used. If you use season-to-date numbers, I have the Jazz winning by 4 with a total of 229, while numbers from the last 10 games show the Pelicans winning by 5.5 and a total of 228. One reason for the disparity in numbers is the emergence of Williamson, but another reason is the decline of Utah defensively. For the season, the Jazz have a defensive efficiency rating that is 1.1 points better than the league average, but the Jazz are 3.3 worse than average in their last 10 games. While Zion is known as an offensive star, the Pelicans showed a bigger increase in defense over the last 10 games.
Not a big play by any means, but will take the over 222, as all four methods I look at are calling for this one to land on the over.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers are now favored by 3.5 in this one and the total has dropped a couple of points to 216.5. The Clippers are likely going to be without Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, while Anthony Davis is questionable with an eye injury for this one. All four of my methods have the Clippers getting the cover, although three of them do predict the Lakers to get the outright win and three of the four are calling for this one to land on the over. The efficiency ratings for the past 10 games is the lone method that calls for the under, but is probably the one to pay the most attention to.
I know it’s opening day and everybody wants to get involved, but there are plenty of question marks to begin with, let alone wondering about the status of individual players. Will just stick with the one play, knowing that there are six games on the slate for Friday, when we can probably find something a little more enticing.