NBA Betting Tips: Expert NBA Analysis

Josh Lloyd from Basketball Monster will be providing expert NBA betting tips for the entire 2019/20 season.

Utilising projections from Basketball Monster, Josh will provide free NBA picks for the big NBA Games on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic

Did you know the Orlando Magic have the NBA’s best offence since the All-Star Break? It’s better than what the Mavericks have done all season, and that is the greatest offence of all-time. I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Now, they host the beleaguered Chicago Bulls and only one of those teams have playoffs to prepare for and it’s not the road team.

Chicago will still be without Zach LaVine in the second game of the Coby White starting era, while the Magic will be without Evan Fournier, who is being ably replaced by Bulls legends DJ Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams.

The Magic are favoured by 7.5 points here and I do think they can cover that number, but the low game total is also interesting. It doesn’t appear the odds have shifted much to take into account the Magic’s surge as the Magic have passed the 217.5 total in every game since the break. The Bulls haven’t been quite as prolific, but I do think this game goes over that number, especially with White running the Bulls offence.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 217.5

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers

Another matchup in the race for the eighth seed, as the incumbent Grizzlies go into Portland to try and cement their spot while knocking off a contender. The Grizzlies lost their last game by five to the Magic, while Blazers destroyed the Suns.

The Grizzlies games have rarely been closer than five points over the last week or so, and they now head on the road to the Pacific Northwest in a do or die battle. The game will be competitive, but Grizzlies games have been a real mixed bag and I think they may come undone on the road.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Portland -5

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

The last time these two teams met, the Rockets confused the Lakers with their small ball and ended up winning by ten points in Staples Center. But, of late, the Rockets are slumping. Their only win in their last five games was a lacklustre victory over the Timberwolves, while the Lakers had a letdown against the Nets after knocking off the Clippers and Bucks.

The Lakers have been strong rebounding from defeats this season, and given how the Rockets have been struggling, they should be able to get the victory here. But, can they cover the 6.5-point spread? Prior to the loss against the Nets, the Lakers had won four straight by at least nine points, so I do think they can get the win here and cover that spread.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Lakers -6.5

Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets

The Rockets are struggling at the moment, losing their last four games which have included defeats to the Knicks, Hornets, and Magic. They come into this game against the Wolves as a massive 12.5-point favourite, which seems outrageous. The Wolves have lost their last two by double digits, including a loss to the Magic as well.

Minnesota will be without Karl-Anthony Towns again, while Houston will be waiting to see if Eric Gordon is available to play after missing last game due to knee soreness.

I am more interested in the game total for this one, with Minnesota games being shootouts of late. In fact, two of their last four games have gone over 250 points. The Rockets have a potentially supercharged offence, number two in the NBA, and I can see this game being a shootout.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 245

Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers

There won’t be any new coach bump for the Nets as they travel out to take on the Lakers. They’ve already had that game and got the win under Jacque Vaughn. Now, they take on the team with the best form in the league, the Lakers.

The Lakers just beat the Pelicans, Sixers, Bucks, and Clippers in their last four games, a challenging four-game stretch and they come into this game 12 point favourites.

At home, the Lakers are tough and they should easily handle the Nets here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Lakers -12

Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies

It looked like the Grizzlies’ hopes of the playoffs were over when Jaren Jackson Jr. and then Brandon Clarke went down. However, Memphis has won four of their last five with all wins by at least 17 and their one loss against the Mavericks by 25. So, close games have not been the flavour of the month.

The Magic are coming in on the back of a huge win on the road against the Rockets, but that isn’t enough to make them favourites here. The Grizzlies are two-point favourites at home and I think that whichever team you think will win, they should exceed that margin.

I like the Grizzlies to win outright, so taking them with those two points looks like the right move. Plus Memphis could also be welcoming back Jackson and Justise Winslow, if not Wednesday, then later this week.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Grizzlies -2

LA Clippers at Houston Rockets

The Rockets have been great, most of the time, since trading away Clint Capela. Last game, however, things were ugly as they lost to the hapless New York Knicks. Now, the Clippers, who are fully healthy, come to town.

The Rockets are 2-1 against the Clippers this season, but given the differences in the teams since they last met in mid-December, it’s hard to put much credence into those results. With the Clippers healthy, except for Montrezl Harrell who sprained his ankle last game, although he claims he will play, I think they are a decent chance of beating the Rockets straight up

Betting Strategy

BACK – Clippers

Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings

The Sixers are still banged up. No Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons or Josh Richardson and are on their third game of a four-game California road trip, after losing the first two to the Lakers and Clippers.

The Kings, on the other hand, are somehow one of the league’s hottest teams. They have won six of their last seven, which includes a win over the Clippers, but the rest of those wins have been against bad teams that teams they were expected to handle. The Sixers are bad on the road, but can the Kings cover the 4.5-point spread?

I do think that with Philadelphia struggling, Sacramento can take advantage and get not only the win, but cover that spread.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Sacramento -4.5

Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors

The Raptors could welcome back Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet, but the big injury news is the return of Steph Curry for the Warriors. The spread is large, with the Raptors favoured by 10.5 points. That’s because they are really good and generally take care of business.

But, with Steph playing, I can see his presence alone, along with perhaps Draymond Green returning, being enough to get the Warriors within double digits at home. I imagine the atmosphere at the Chase Center will be electric for Curry’s first game back in months and with the Raptors banged up and on the road, an upset could be on the cards.

I’m not going to say I think the Warriors will win, but I do think they can cover.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Golden State +10.5

Sacramento Kings at Washington Wizards

The Kings are trying to push toward the NBA playoffs, while the Wizards’ distant hopes at the postseason appear to be fading, despite Bradley Beal’s prolonged run of excellence. The Kings have won five of their last six, but the last two wins have been by only three over a banged-up Memphis, and six over a similarly banged-up Pistons team.

Washington has won two of their last three, including a 14-point road win against the NBA’s worst team, the Warriors. It’s still impressive to win on the road and I think Washington can keep it close enough against the Kings in Sacramento.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Washington +5.5

Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans are rolling toward the eighth seed, despite a narrow loss to the Lakers on Monday and now they take on a struggling Wolves squad without Karl-Anthony Towns that has lost seven of their last eight games, of which six losses were by over ten points. That makes the Pelicans -11.5 an interesting number, but my eye gets drawn more to the game total.

The game total is sent at 247.5, which is an astronomical number. No Pels game has gone over that number since the break, and only one game went over that in the entirety of February. The Wolves, though, have gone over that number five times in February, explaining why it is so high.

Still, with guys like Jue Holiday, Derrick Favors, and Lonzo Ball in New Orleans, the Wolves could get slowed down enough to allow that number to stay low enough, so I’ll take under 247.5

Betting Strategy

BACK – Under 247.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers

Can Shake Milton do it again? The second-year guard has been excellent for the Sixers with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid out and that was almost enough last time in LA, when Philadelphia lost to the Clippers by only six on Monday. We know the Sixers’ road record is rough, so the Lakers should get the win, but a double-digit spread seems high.

Last game, the Lakers were without Anthony Davis against the Pelicans, but it doesn’t appear to be a long term concern. I think the Lakers will win, but the Sixers can keep it close enough and under double digits.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Philadelphia +11.5

Sacramento Kings at OKC

De’Aaron Fox hurt his groin again the Warriors on Wednesday but was able to return to the game, but my faith in him being at 100% for Friday’s game against the Thunder is low. Pair that with Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley already being out and Buddy Hield being weirdly misused by Luke Walton, and the Kings should come in as underdogs.

And they do, with the Thunder favoured by 6.5 points, but is that too much? These teams have split their two meetings, with the Thunder winning the last game by 20 and the Kings getting the first by a solitary point. With how the Thunder have been playing, I think they can cover that 6.5 point number

Betting Strategy

BACK – Thunder -6.5

Portland Trailblazers at Indiana Pacers

The Blazers won’t have the services of Damian Lillard here, while Indiana has recently lost Jeremy Lamb, while Victor Oladipo’s status is unknown with a back issue. It’s tough to get a read on the Pacers, who just throttled the Hornets, but lost to the Raptors by almost 50 the game before. They also won two straight before losing to the Raptors but lost six in a row prior to that.

I do feel confident that Indiana will win, but a 9.5 point spread feels like a lot. Portland isn’t as bad as Charlotte, nor as they as good (obviously), as Toronto and with how CJ McCollum is playing filling in for Lillard, they should be able to keep it competitive for long enough to get within nine points.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Blazers +9.5

LA Lakers at Golden State Warriors

The second-best team in the NBA takes on the worst. The results should be a foregone conclusion, but if we harken back a few years when the designations were reversed, the Lakers used to give the Warriors trouble, weirdly.

Now, that, of course, means nothing here and the Lakers will win, but can they cover the 13.5 point spread. Well, given the form they are in, and the Warriors are still Steph-less, this could get out of hand early, and when that happens, Steve Kerr drops the minutes of guys like Draymond Green and waves the white flag early.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Lakers -13.5

Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets

I don’t really have any doubt that the Nuggets will win this game, but they have had a disturbing trend of playing down to their opponents, so when I see them favoured by a large margin, my alarm bells go off.

Detroit’s starting lineup is abysmal, but they have been rescued by their bench led by Christian Wood and Brandon Knight lately.

The Nuggets also have a strong bench led by Monte Morris and Jerami Grant, but with how lethargic the Nuggets can be in ‘easy’ games, I think Detroit has enough in them to keep it close and sneak within the 12.5 points margin.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Pistons +12.5

Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors

Look, it’s not like the Kings have been great this season, but they have been considerably better than their Northern Californian neighbours, the Warriors, who have a league-worst 12-45 record.

The Warriors are also listing both Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green as questionable on their injury report, which of course also includes Steph Curry as out with his fractured wrist.

The Kings will be without Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III as well, but that shouldn’t be enough to prevent them from winning. Now, the question is whether they can beat the spread, which sits at 5.5 points. The last time the Warriors got closer than six points in a game was, weirdly enough, a five-point loss to the Lakers on February 9th.

I think the Kings, who are pushing for the playoffs will cover the points here

Betting Strategy

BACK – Kings -5.5

OKC at Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have injuries up and down their roster. The Thunder, outside of Terrance Ferguson’s iffy back, are healthy. That the Thunder win this game isn’t much of a question. I am more interested in the game total, which looks surprisingly low.

Currently coming in at 215.5, the lowest total of the day. Four of the last five Thunder games have gone over that number and ten of the Bulls last eleven have exceeded 216.

Chicago can’t defend, but Zach LaVine and Coby White aren’t going to be shy about putting up shots, while Dennis Schröder, Danilo Gallinari, Chris Paul, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander aren’t exactly offensively limited.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 215.5

Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks

The first game after the break can often be a little rusty in terms of the quality of basketball played, but that applies equally to both teams, so seeing Miami favoured by only six points over Atlanta, who will be without Clint Capela, seems off.

The Hawks are 15-41 this season, including 9-17 at home, while Miami’s road record isn’t all that sparkling, when you dig into it, winning 13 of their 29 road contests. So, maybe the six-point margin is a good one. The Heat are also 12-16-1 against the spread on the road, while the Hawks are 15-10-1 at home, further points indicating that taking Atlanta with the points may be the go-to.

Miami is likely to be without Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro again, and given the potentially sloppy nature, especially with Miami integrating two new pieces in Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, I’ll take the Hawks +6.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Atlanta +6

Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls

Across the All-Star break, where the festivities were held in Chicago at the United Center, the Bulls were the laughing stock of the NBA, with #FireGarPax chants ringing out through games and protest signs being held up to voice displeasure over how the team has been run since… well, since Michael Jordan left.

Following up from that, the Bulls will still be without Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., and could possibly be without Kris Dunn for the rest of the year, while Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison will miss Friday’s game.

That leaves Chicago with no small forwards at all, unless you count Ryan Arcidiacono, which you shouldn’t. Charlotte’s Miles Bridges was playing well before the break and parlayed that into the Rising Stars MVP award and the Hornets’ team is relatively injury-free, so it is a surprise to see them enter this game as five-point underdogs.

These teams have split a couple of one-point contests this season, with the Hornets winning the third game by 10 points, so not only do I think they can cover the five points but that they can win outright

Betting Strategy

BACK – Charlotte at $2.75

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

The Rockets’ small ball lineup has been successful, and now they add a couple of wings who can hold up at centre in Jeff Green and DeMarre Carroll, plus a refreshed James Harden and Russell Westbrook to take on the worst team in the NBA. The Warriors will still be without Steph Curry, they will have a half-interested Draymond Green, plus Andrew Wiggins, still getting used to the team and system.

So, the 10-point spread seems low, in this situation. To be fair, the Warriors did beat this Rockets team by 10 on Christmas Day, but this Rockets team feels vastly different to whatever happened back on December 25.

The Warriors just won’t have the defenders to be able to cover all of the shooting threats, even if Eric Gordon doesn’t play for Houston. It goes without saying they will win the game, but I think the Rockets can win by more than 10.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Houston -10

LA Clippers at Boston Celtics

Boston comes home after going down to the Rockets, while the Clippers need to bounceback after a loss to the Sixers on their East coast roadtrip. Patrick Beverley is once again out for LA, while Boston’s Jaylen Brown has been listed as probable after hurting his calf at the end of Wednesday’s game.

Clippers have had a good response to losses this season, yet they enter this game as road underdogs. The Celtics have wings they can throw at Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but will it be enough? I think the Clippers will win this outright.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Clippers straight-up $2.01

Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since Zion Williamson debuted, going 6-4 in those 10 games, and Zion just dropped a 30 burger on the Blazers. Can the Thunder, also one of the best surprise teams in the NBA get over them on the road?

The Thunder have lost two straight heading into this game, both at home and now needs this win to keep themselves in the playoff mix in the Western Conference. With a potent three-guard lineup of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul, and Dennis Schröder, facing off against a Pelicans team that may be without Brandon Ingram, I think the Thunder can pull off the upset.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Thunder $2.10

LA Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers

We know the Sixers are a different team at home versus on the road. In their last nine games, Philadelphia is 4-5. Four wins at home, five losses on the road. But, those home wins included a 17-point win over the Lakers, making this one a difficult one to pick. Josh Richardson isn’t fully back to speed after his hamstring, but they have had Furkan Korkmaz drop 30 points in consecutive wins.

As for the Clippers, they embarrassed the Cavs after getting embarrassed by the Wolves. New addition Marcus Morris hardly had to raise a sweat, but he will be tested more here. The Clippers will be without Patrick Beverley, but Kawhi Leonard returns after resting last game.

The one-point spread in favour of the Clippers is interesting given the Sixers are 24-2 at home; the best home record in the league. But, with the way things are travelling in Philly at the moment, I’ll take the Clippers to cover that margin.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Clippers -1

Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets

Since the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they had a stirring win over the Lakers, a beatdown at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, and a heartbreaking buzzer-beating defeat to Bojan Bogdanović and the Utah Jazz. It’s fair to say there is no definitive conclusion to come from the Pocket Rockets yet.

Boston is close to fully healthy, with only backup centre Robert Williams III likely to miss and they have won seven straight, despite games missed from Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Daniel Theis – their entire starting five.

The Rockets are 2.5-point favourites in this matchup of two top-tier teams, but I think Boston, with all of their fantastic wins, can give the Rockets’ wing-heavy lineup a run for their money, plus the ability to throw Brown and Marcus Smart onto Russell Westbrook and James Harden will help Boston’s chances.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Boston +2.5

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards

The Bulls are trash. They are a middle of the pack defensive team, who can’t do anything offensively and they currently sit one spot behind the Wizards in the Eastern Conference standings. So, for two teams who have been bad this season, the postseason is in play.

The Wizards allow the most points in the entire NBA and have gone over the game total of 230 in six of their last nine games. The Bulls, on the other hand, are under that number three of their last nine. So, what will win out, bad defence, or bad offence?

I think the Bulls have a better chance of having an offensive outburst than the Wizards do of becoming a lockdown squad so that 230 total looks like the over is in play.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 230

New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are banged up. They will be without Kris Dunn, Otto Porter, Wendell Carter, Daniel Gafford, and Denzel Valentine for this clash. For the Pelicans, Zion Williamson had been listed as questionable due to a toe injury but has since been upgraded to available.

The Pelicans need the win to stay in the Western Conference playoff hunt after losing their last two games to the Rockets and Bucks, while Chicago, it seems, has zero ability to beat any good team and have lost their last two games by a combined 42 points to Brooklyn and Toronto.

The Pelicans come in as 3.5-point favourites on the road and given the Bulls talent drain due to injuries and having the worst coach in the NBA, I think New Orleans will win. Will they cover? The Bulls are only 11-15 ATS at home, while the Pels are 11-11-2 ATS on the road, and given Chicago’s meltdowns of late, I think the Pelicans can win by more than 3.5 points

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Orleans -3.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks

The Sixers seems to be disarray and can’t win games on the road. Now they take on the NBA’s best team, the Bucks, in Milwaukee. The Sixers have lost all three games on this road trip, one to the lowly Hawks and then blowouts against the Celtics and Heat. There is talk of locker room turmoil as well.

However, the last time these teams met the Sixers dismantled the Bucks on Christmas. The game total sits at 227.5 and the Christmas game went over that mark, totalling 230 points in a 12-point Philly victory.

But, the Sixers are under 227 in four of their last six games, while the Bucks are 4-2 over 227 in those same six games. The Bucks have scored over 115 in five straight games, so I will take the total to go over in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 225.5

San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers

The Spurs just got waxed by the Lakers on Wednesday after going through the dreaded Los Angeles back to back, while things weren’t much better for Portland who lost to half a Nuggets squad by 28 points.

Prior to that loss, the Blazers were on fire, on the back of Damian Lillard averaging about 50 points a game, but if Dame doesn’t fire, it’s hard to get excited for Portland’s prospects, especially with them installed as three-point favourites.

These teams have split the two games this season, with one game a five-point margin and the other just three and I think a close game is on the cards as well. Given my confidence in Portland is low, I think San Antonio can keep it close enough, and perhaps even win, so I’ll take them with the points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – San Antonio +3

Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards

Yes, the Hornets play at the slowest pace in the NBA and have the 25th best offence in the league and therefore the lines have been set due to that fact. Thus, the game total is set surprisingly low after the Wizards gave up 80 points to the Bucks in only 20 minutes Wednesday.

Washington will still be without Rui Hachimura and Jordan McRae, while Charlotte should be at full health, assuming Devonte’ Graham isn’t impacted by the illness that almost kept him out of Wednesday’s game.

I will take the over 227.5 game total.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 227.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks

Joel Embiid is back and the Sixers travel to take on the Hawks, who will be without their nominal starting centre Bruno Fernando. Philadelphia will also be missing Josh Richardson, but he has been ably replaced by a combination of Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz.

The problem here is the Sixers are only 9-15 on the road and 9-15 against the spread on the road as well, while the Hawks are 14-9 against the spread at home.

The Sixers are a tough team to peg, but given their road struggles, I’ll take the Hawks +7.5.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Atlanta +7.5

Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

Denver is still going to be without Mason Plumlee, Jamal Murray, and Paul Millsap yet they are still favourites over the Jazz by 1.5 points. That’s curious to me.

The back to back factor for Utah is coming into play, but it may also be influenced by the beatdown they took at the hands of a Rockets team that was without Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Clint Capela. Prior to that, the Jazz were one of the hottest teams in the league.

Denver has been quite up and down, losing to Memphis last game, but beating the Nuggets the one before that. I still think the Jazz can win this one on the road and the altitude in Denver shouldn’t be too much of an issue for a Utah team that is used to it.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Utah

New Orleans Pelicans at Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland is coming off a big win over the Pistons, but not to be outdone, New Orleans’ last time out was a big win over the Celtics, to notch the first W of Zion Williamson’s career. So, with Cleveland on a back-to-back, you’d have to expect New Orleans to be the favourite, and they rightfully are.

But, is there value in an eight-point line? I’m not really sure there is, but the game total is what is intriguing. Four of the Pelicans’ last six games have gone over 233, while two of Cleveland’s last six have gone above that total. There is also a chance Kevin Love sits for Cleveland, as he has sat one half of one of the last two back-to-backs.

Given the pace of the Pels and the poor defence of the Cavs, I’m taking the over of 233.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 233

Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks

This could get really ugly and the 16-point spread in favour of the Bucks is a huge one. No-one is thinking the Wizards will win, and I’m not even confident they keep it to less than 16 points, but they are approaching close to full health, with only Rui Hachimura, Moe Wagner, and John Wall sidelined. This is the Bucks’ first game back since returning from Paris.

The Wizards have the NBA’s worst defence and the Bucks have the third-best offence, number one defence, and play at the fastest pace in the league. The combination of the high octane offences on both sides and the high pace has caused the game total line to be set at 240, but that is obviously huge.

With the spread being as large as it is and the Bucks defence being the best in the business, I think the fact that the Bucks starters will likely play sparingly will keep the total down, making the under the right move

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 240

Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs have lost Dwight Powell for the season, but it hasn’t really stopped them from rolling, having just beaten the Thunder by 10 Tuesday. The Suns have gone backwards since a hot start to the season and I just don’t see who they have that can stop Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis.

Dallas has a lot of big wins under their belt this season so a seven-point spread at home seems low. It’s probably that way as they are on a back to back, but I feel good about Dallas being able to cover that number.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas -7

Washington Wizards  at Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s the matchup of the worst defence in the NBA against the second-worst defence in the NBA. Points should be plentiful. But, given the struggles of Cleveland’s offence specifically, getting to the large total on offer may be tough.

Currently, it sits at 232 points and Cavs games have gone over that number just once in 11 games in 2020. The Wizards, who have the 11th best offence in the league, have only passed 232 in three out of 10 games in 2020.

Someone has to win, and the Cavs will want to avenge their 20 point defeat to the Knicks last time, while Washington hasn’t tasted victory since beating the Hawks on January 11, the game total offers the most value.

I’ll take the under 232 points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 232

LA Lakers at Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving is likely to return for Brooklyn in a matchup against his former teammate, LeBron James, while Anthony Davis is just recently returned from his own gluteal issue.

Brooklyn is desperate for a win, having lost their last four games by at least six points, while the Lakers come in on a back to back after taking on the Knicks on Wednesday.

With how big the Lakers are up front and the Nets being susceptible to big performances from opposing big men and could also be without DeAndre Jordan in this game, the Lakers rightfully enter the game as favourites.

The spread isn’t that large, only sitting at 5.5 points, and I think the Lakers can cover that.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Lakers -5.5

Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trailblazers

Dallas has to try and rebound from the loss of Dwight Powell, out for the season with a torn Achilles, an injury the Blazers know all about, given they are without Rodney Hood for the same reason. Portland could also be without CJ McCollum for the third straight game, missing the last two due to an ankle injury.

Dallas has been considerably better than Portland this season and lost last weekend in Dallas by eight points. That Dallas team had no Kristaps Porziņģis either, while the Blazers last win was against D’Angelo Russell and the Santa Cruz Warriors, in overtime, requiring 61 points from Damian Lillard.

So it surprised me to see Dallas favoured by only one point. I’ll take the Mavs -1.0

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Mavs -1

LA Clippers at Dallas Mavericks

We know that Paul George is out. What we don’t know is if Kristaps Porziņģis is going to suit up for Dallas for the first time since December 30.

The Mavericks, without KP, have won their last four, but the last three of those were against the Warriors, Kings, and Blazers, hardly a murderer’s row. The Clippers similarly haven’t hard the hardest run, winning their last three against the Cavs, Magic, and then a three-point squeaker against the Pelicans last time out.

Mavs are 13-10 at home this season, while LA is 11-9 on the road and I’m a little surprised to see the Mavs installed as favourites here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Clippers to win at $2.01

Phoenix Suns at New York Knicks

After a bump immediately after firing David Fizdale, the Knicks have fallen back off, losing six of their last seven, including three by 20 or more points.

The Suns haven’t exactly been rolling after a hot start, but their immediate past looks a little rosier, winning their two straight before a disheartening loss to the Hawks.

To make things harder, the Suns will be without Kelly Oubre, but will welcome back Ricky Rubio, and an argument can be made that having Rubio is more important to their success than Oubre, while Marcus Morris is questionable with his neck issue.

I like the Suns to win on the road, but I also think they can cover this small spread of 3.5 points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Suns +3.5

Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans

Utah is one of the hottest teams on the NBA, and while the Pelicans were rolling before Derrick Favors’ injury, this is a tough ask.

New Orleans will still be without Jrue Holiday, although they will be welcoming back Favors and Brandon Ingram, while everyone waits for Zion Williamson to come back.

Mike Conley will sit once again for Utah, but it hasn’t really mattered for this team, who have won 10 straight and their last four all by double digits, including two straight road games.

The spread sits at 4.5 points in favour of Utah and I think they can beat that number.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Jazz -4.5

Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

The Celtics injury situation clouds this one a little, but they could go into a matchup with the NBA’s best team without both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Amazingly, the Bucks have won three straight by at least 21 points, although this quality of opponent is a little different to their last three. The last loss the Bucks have had in Milwaukee was against the Mavericks on December 16.

The spread is large, sitting at 8.5 points, but with the Celtics faltering, and banged up, and Milwaukee the best in the business, I think they can cover that number.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bucks -8.5

Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies

Russell Westbrook is out for Houston, resting on the first game of a back-to-back, but that doesn’t mean Houston is automatically going to lose. The Rockets are 3-2 in the five games Westbrook has sat this season and in fact, beat Memphis by seven earlier this season without Russ.

Now, this is a Grizzlies team that is playing better than it was back in November, so Houston being 4.5 point favourites on the road is definitely interesting. The Rockets haven’t had a game under a four-point margin since a two-point victory over Sacramento back on December 16, so if we are thinking that Houston will win, taking them with the spread seems like the move to make.

It also helps that Memphis has had Jae Crowder, Kyle Anderson, and Brandon Clarke all show up on the injury report as questionable.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rockets -4.5

New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks

This has the potential to get really ugly. The Bucks are the best team in the NBA and are 8-1 in their last nine games, with four wins over 20 points. The Knicks have lost by more than 20 in two of their last four games, although their last contest was a surprise win over the Heat by three points. We already know Marcus Morris is out for New York, so that hurts their chances here.

The spread is aggressive, set at 16.5 points, but with how dominant Milwaukee has been, I think they can beat that number

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bucks -16.5

Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors

Dallas have been a little wobbly of late without Kristaps Porziņģis, but there is a chance KP returns for this game. Regardless of KP’s status, Golden State is bad and Dallas should be able to get it done in the Bay Area. The last time Dallas went to the Chase Center, the Mavs came out with a 20 point victory.

Golden State has D’Angelo Russell back now, but that didn’t help last game as they lost by 20 to the Grizzlies and they haven’t tasted victory since a nine-point win over the Suns on December 27, nine games ago.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas -9.0

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons

We just saw these two teams play each other Wednesday, and even with 30 points from Kevin Love, the Cavs went down by two points at home. Now, they are back in Detroit.

Both teams are injured, with Detroit still without Blake Griffin, Markieff Morris, and Reggie Jackson, while Cleveland has no Larry Nance or Dante Exum. Despite winning by just two last game, Detroit is favoured by seven points, which seems a lot, but I am more interested in the game total of 220.

Last game, the two teams combined for 228 points, but considering Cleveland shot four percentage points above the season average and scored almost ten extra points, I think the under is worth looking at. Especially if that 220 starts to rise.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 220

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

Boston was just humiliated by San Antonio on their home court Thursday and they are too good of a team to just give in after that performance.

They get a 24 hour period to prove me right, as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers Friday in a back to back. Now, normally, taking the Sixers at home is a no brainer, but they will be without Joel Embiid, and the Sixers haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders themselves.

Prior to a win against the Thunder, Philadelphia had lost four straight games and Boston should be motivated to turn around their performance against the Embiid-less Sixers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Celtics straight up at $2.10 or more

Portland Trailblazers at Minnesota Timberwolves

My expectation is that Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t suit up again for Minnesota. That is going to make it hard for the Wolves to get the win, or even get close to the three-point spread set up against a Blazers team that just knocked off Toronto on the road.

Now, I am not for a second confusing Portland with a good team, but I do think they can beat Minnesota by the three points needed to cover this spread.

Minnesota will struggle to cover Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum should be fully recovered from his illness now and is looking to bounceback from a poor shooting night up north.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Blazers -3

Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers

The Pistons are going to be without Blake Griffin, Markieff Morris, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard for this matchup against Cleveland. That’s tough. They’ve only won one game in their last five games, and that was against the Warriors. But, last game, they were solid against the Lakers, going down by only seven points, starting rookie Sekou Doumbouya. So, the matchup against Cleveland should be good for them.

As for the Cavs, they are dealing with the Kevin Love drama. He ‘rested’ last game, and the Cavs also were without Tristan Thompson. The Cavs have lost their last two games at home by 15 points apiece, and while Detroit isn’t good, neither is Minnesota, who won last game by those 15 points.

Detroit are three-point favourites and I think they win by more than that

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Detroit -3

Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns

We aren’t going to get the classic Georgios Papagiannis vs Dragan Bender boxing matches we have in the past, but this game holds a lot of intrigue for the Western Conference playoff picture. The Suns have been starting the giant Aron Baynes-Deandre Ayton frontcourt, and it hasn’t been great, barely beating the Knicks and losing to the Grizzlies at home. The Suns did beat the Kings on December 28 by two points at home, but putting them as six-point favourites seems a little generous.

The Kings just beat this same Grizzlies team by five points at home, but they are coming off a back-to-back after taking on the Warriors on Tuesday and may be without Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanović. Still, with Phoenix’s current struggles, I think covering the six points is within the Kings’ reach.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sacramento +6

New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers

These New York Knicks are a little different to the version that was rudderless to begin this season, but taking on the Lakers is a tough ask. The Knicks have won three of their last five and the last time they lost by double digits was December 21 against the Bucks. They enter LA as 13.5-point underdogs to the Lakers.

The last time the Lakers won by over 13 points was back against the Wolves on December 8, where they were victors by 17 points. So, while it is a no brainer that the Lakers will win, a 13.5 point spread is tough to overcome, especially if they are without Avery Bradley, who sprained his ankle last game.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New York +13.5

Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers

These two teams met just two weeks ago with the Cavs coming away with a two-point win in Cleveland on December 19. That was a Hornets team without PJ Washington, whereas Cleveland was full strength, but now they don’t have Jordan Clarkson’s scoring to rely on.

Curiously, Cleveland has been installed as a two-point favourite and that stands out to me. Now, Cleveland has won four of the last six, starting with that Hornets victory, while Charlotte has lost six straight since then. I think Charlotte at plus two is the way to go.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Charlotte +2

Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat

These two top Eastern Conference teams have played once this season, with Miami knocking off Toronto by 11 in Toronto. That was Kyle Lowry’s first game back from injury, but otherwise, the Raptors were healthy. Now, they head to Miami without Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, and Marc Gasol. This matchup could be tough.

Justise Winslow is out for Miami and they will be looking to get back on the winner’s list after being embarrassed by a beat-up Wizards team last game by 18 points in one of the weirdest games of the season.

Miami is six-point favourites here and I think they can win and win by more than that.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Miami -6

Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls games this season are averaging 213 points per game this season, while Utah games are averaging 214 points per game. However, the game total is only 210.5. It seems curiously low.

Yes, Mike Conley is out, as is Otto Porter, but the Jazz have gone over 210.5 in nine of the last 10 games, while Chicago has gone over seven of the last nine. Rudy Gobert is a great defender, but that total is just a low number in today’s NBA. The Bulls also have a good defence, ranking 7th in the league.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 210.5

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

The Warriors, somehow, have won four of their last five games. The problem with that stat is the one loss was their last game, a 20 point beatdown by Dallas. The Spurs are 3-2 over that period, with all wins coming by at last 13 points.

The line is set to favour San Antonio by nine points at home, which feels a little high, but the game total is what is interesting to me. San Antonio has gone over the 220 total in five of their last seven games and they boast the 21st best defence in the NBA, while the Warriors defence is worse, coming in at 24th, although they have passed 220 just three times in the last seven

Betting Strategy

I’ll take the over here with the Warriors defence giving up midrangers to LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

 BACK – Over 220.0

Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers

The Pacers come into this game losing three of their last four games, including two defeats by over 20 points, yet are somehow narrow favourites over the Philadelphia 76ers. They will welcome back Malcolm Brogdon, their starting point guard, but he has only missed the last three games, where they went 1-2.

The 76ers have lost their last two games by a combined margin of two points on the Florida trip, but prior to that had won three straight games by double digits including a demolition of Milwaukee on Christmas Day. In their only matchup this season, in Philadelphia, the 76ers prevailed by three points.

Betting Strategy

Yes, they are on the road, but I like the Sixers to win straight up

 BACK – Sixers

Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets

Boston comes into Charlotte, with Kemba Walker, as 6.5 point favourites. Boston has played Charlotte twice already this season, one in Charlotte, one in Boston and won both games by over 20 points.

Am I missing something with this game? I don’t think so. I also like the over total, which sits at 208.5. Both teams average more point per game this season than that total, by a significant amount, so that’s in play as well, but it’s hard to go past Boston with the points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Celtics -6.5

Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons

The Wizards are incredibly banged up, but that didn’t stop them beating the Knicks last time out. There will be no Davis Bertāns, Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura, Moe Wagner, Jordan McRae, or Isaiah Thomas. But, these two teams did play each other recently, and Washington got the surprise victory. Detroit is without Luke Kennard and could be without Bruce Brown Jr., but Blake Griffin is likely to play.

The Wizards have been one of the best offences and worst defences all season, so this total or just 231.0 points makes me want to hit the over. If Griffin can hit some shots for Detroit and Bradley Beal and Derrick go off opposite each other, this game should be able to exceed that numbers pretty comfortably.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 231.5

New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets

The Knicks just lost to a Wizards team playing Gary Payton II 34 minutes by six points at home, and now they have to play an actually good team in the Nets. After throttling the Hawks, the Knicks have once again lost three in a row, including two by double digits and then that loss to the Wizards’ G League squad + Bradley Beal.

The Nets, on the other hand, are winners of three of the last four, with only a weird loss to the SPurs mixed in and including a 20 point victory over the Sixers.

The fact that Brooklyn, led by Spencer Dinwiddie, is favoured only by six, at home, against the Knicks, stands out as great value. There is also a chance that the Knicks are without Marcus Morris who missed last game with Achilles soreness.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Nets -6.0

Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz

The Jazz swung the NBA’s first trade of the season, acquiring Jordan Clarkson on Tuesday. I assume he will be ready to go, giving them a scoring option off the bench, which is desperately needed with Mike Conley sidelined. As for Portland, they entered Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans winning four straight, but a disappointing eight-point loss at home to New Orleans throws makes this a must-win.

This is the first of four matchups between these two this season and both squads sport identical 6-5 records in December. But, playing in Utah is a tough ask, with the Jazz 11-3 at home this season and the Blazers 6-10 on the road.

Consequently, the Jazz are 5.5 point favourites and both teams have had their struggles with the spread this season, sitting at under 0.500 ATS so far. Ten of the Blazers last 11 games have been decided by more than six points and the last time they lost by under 5.5 points was back on November 8 against the Nets, where they lost by four.

So, given as though I think the Jazz will win, taking them to cover seems like the play as well

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Jazz -5.5

LA Clippers at LA Lakers

Opening night, the Clippers embarrassed the Lakers without Paul George. Now, PG is back and the Lakers could potentially be without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, with both guys nursing injuries.

Opening night was a ten-point win for the Clippers, but their last contest was a six-point loss to the Thunder. They are actually just 2-3 in their last five.

Yet, their form is better than the Lakers, who while being 2-3 in their five as well, they have lost three straight and could be without their two stars. If James and Davis are out, this one point spread could blow out to double digits.

Even if James and Davis play, I think the Clippers have the advantage unless of course, Patrick Beverley can’t go, and he missed the last game.

Still, Clippers for the win at their current price with the doubt over James and Davis, but if those guys get ruled out and the spread doesn’t exceed six points, then Clippers against the spread would also be in play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Clippers to Win

Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors

It’s not the Christmas the Toronto Raptors hoped for their first Christmas Day game. They will enter this matchup in Toronto without Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, and Marc Gasol, three players who were starting at the time of the injury.

It takes the air out of the game, to a degree, but it’s not like Boston is 100% healthy. Gordon Hayward has missed games recently with foot soreness and is questionable for Christmas and Marcus Smart is going to be out with his eye infection to end all eye infections.

The Celtics last two games have been wins by a combined 47 points, crushing the Hornets and Pistons and they come into this game favoured by two points.

The Raptors are hard to count out, as we saw in their 30 point comeback against Dallas on the weekend, but given the injury scenario, I like Boston in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Celtics -2

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers

The Bucks are the best team in the NBA. This is not a debate at this point. Even with their starting point guard out, in Eric Bledsoe. Yet somehow, they come in Philadelphia on Christmas Day as one-point underdogs.

They haven’t played each other this season but going on form, it’s impossible to mount a strong case for Philadelphia to be favourite in this game, but here we are.

This line could easily swing in the time before tip, but it doesn’t change the value in taking the Bucks straight up.

The Bucks net rating is all-time great, sitting at 12.8, and taking them for a win in a big game as they did against the Lakers last week, is what I’m into.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bucks to Win

Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are in disarray. They got smacked by the Knicks by 26 points and then their coach got the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’. They remain without their second-best player, they are a disaster on defence and there is dissension in the ranks with players not having enough leadership. Now, they get to take on the Jazz. Utah will be without Mike Conley, who pinged his hammy again, but they went 3-2 in the recent five-game absence with that same hamstring issue.

The Hawks don’t have anyone who can slow down Donovan Mitchell or provide a problem for Rudy Gobert and there is a real chance this gets ugly. The Jazz’s last six victories have been by at least eight points, so I have confidence in them covering the six-point spread.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Jazz -6.0

Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio can’t seem to stay away from close finishes and overtime game, playing in four straight, before coughing up a huge lead to go down to the Rockets by two Tuesday. Now, it’s the Nets who enter the game after an overtime game Wednesday, beating the forlorn Pelicans on the road.

The Nets will still be without Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving, but they have recently welcomed back Wilson Chandler from suspension, while San Antonio is healthy, but not without confusion and controversy. The Spurs benched DeMar DeRozan down the stretch of the last game, going with their two young point guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White in tandem, something Gregg Popovich has steered clear of to date.

The game total seems quite low here, considering both of these teams average more points per game than the total is set at, so I’ll take the over 219.0

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 219.0

Houston Rockets at LA Clippers

These two teams have faced off twice already this season, with the victor being the home team both times, although Houston got their victory before Paul George had played his first game. The Clippers welcomed back Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley last game, although they are expected to be without JaMychal Green again, with a tailbone injury, while Houston will be missing Eric Gordon as he recovers from knee surgery.

The Clippers have won four of five, with only a three-point loss to the Bulls sans Kawi Leonard blemishing the record, while Houston is on a five from seven run, including a close loss to Sacramento and an inexplicable loss to Detroit, without Russell Westbrook.

The five-point spread is an intriguing line, but given the Rockets have James Harden, I have to feel that they can keep any game close if things go his way. He had 37-8-12 last time against the Clippers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rockets +5.0

Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks

Would you look at this! The Knicks are favourite in an NBA game. It helps when the opponents are Atlanta who have won just two of their last nine, against the Hornets and the Warriors, and the fact that the Knicks have won two of their last three. But, I still find it hard to trust the Knicks as a favourite against anyone.

The Hawks will still be without John Collins due to his suspension and Kevin Huerter hurt his shoulder last game, which may keep him sidelined.

With New York as 1.5-point favourites, I like taking the Hawks on the road with the points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Atlanta +1.5

Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz

If you’re into good offence, you may want to skip this one. The Magic have the 24th best offence and play at the 28th fastest pace, while Utah has the 22nd best offence playing at the 16th fastest pace.

Mike Conley has missed the last five games for Utah, while the Magic welcomed back Nikola Vučević last time, but Conley’s presence doesn’t necessarily make the Jazz better, given how poorly he has played this season.

The game total sits at 206.5, quite a low number, which is under the average of both teams’ games so far this season. Both teams have gone under that number three out of the last eight games, but I am going with the over in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 206.5

Brooklyn Nets at New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans have lost 11 straight games, including five by double digits. The Nets have won five of eight, including last game’s 20 point beat down of the Sixers. Yet, Brooklyn is only 1.5-point favourites on the road in New Orleans. Something doesn’t add up.

It’s not like the Nets have a bad record on the road, going 6-7 so far this season. Brooklyn is without Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving, but it hasn’t really derailed them, with Spencer Dinwiddie and Garrett Temple stepping up and they have recently welcomed back Wilson Chandler, while New Orleans is still without Zion Williamson, and now have Derrick Favors back.

Still, it’s very hard to see the Pelicans winning and having Brooklyn priced so favourably is interesting.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brooklyn -1.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

A matchup at the top of the Eastern Conference, especially between these two rivals, is usually a great spectacle. Throw in the return of Al Horford to Boston and we have some riveting viewing.

It’s likely Josh Richardson will still be on a minutes restriction after returning from a hamstring injury last game, while Marcus Smart has missed the last two games due to an eye infection and his status is up in the air. Gordon Hayward is also a chance to miss after suffering a blow to the nose, as the Celtics PR put it, though he was negative for concussion symptoms post-game.

This is a battle of the third-best defence (Philly) and the fourth-best defence (Boston), so saying it will be hard to score may be an understatement. That’s why I am targeting the game total for this matchup.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 210

Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons

Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis head to Detroit to try to keep the NBA’s best offence humming against a Pistons team with the 17th-best defence. Blake Griffin is playing for Detroit, but he is far from his best and he has been hurting his team at times on the court, so if Porziņģis and the Mavs can exploit that, it will go a long way to winning this game.

The Mavs are five-point favourites on the road and their last 11 victories have been by at least seven points. They enter this game, winning five of their last six, but looking to make amends after losing to the Kings on Monday.

I can’t have any faith in Detroit and given when Dallas win, they win big. I’ll take them -5.0

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas -5

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

It wasn’t hard for Portland to get the victory in their last game, smacking the hapless Knicks, but travelling to altitude to take on the Nuggets is a different proposition. Prior to that Knicks beatdown, the Blazers had lost two straight by a combined 25 points and now they have to deal with having two missing starters as well, not including Jusuf Nurkić.

Kent Bazemore has been decent in filling in for Hood, but the shooting struggles of Carmelo Anthony remain and Denver is looking to right the ship after a disappointing five-point loss to Philadelphia on the road.

They lost Jamal Murray early in that game, but going by his Instagram, he is going to be ready to play Friday against the Blazers. That gives the Nuggets a lot of firepower to attack Portland’s 20th-ranked defence.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Denver -6

Denver Nuggets at hiladelphia 76ers

The Nuggets are on their fourth game of an east coast road trip and it hasn’t gone as they would’ve hoped. They smashed the Knicks, predictably, but then lost to the Celtics by 13 and the Nets by three. The only win the Nuggets have secured in the last five games was that big victory over New York.

This is a Philadelphia team that hasn’t lost a game at home. They are 12-0. They’ve won six of their last seven overall. Things don’t look great for Denver here. The Sixers could also welcome Josh Richardson back into their lineup after missing the last six games. I would take the Sixers for the win straight up, but the spread offers a little more value.

If you can get Philly at -4, I would take the Sixers at that line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Philadelphia -4

Washinton Wizards at Charlotte Hornets

These are not good teams. The Hornets only win in their last five came over the Warriors, while the Wizards have won one in six, a surprise victory over Philadelphia. But, someone has to win here. Interestingly, on the road, the Wizards are 1.5 point favourites, which definitely gets my Spidey sense tingling. When they played earlier in Washington, the Wiz came away with a seven-point victory.

The total is intriguing, sitting at 234, given that Wizards’ games have averaged over 240 points a game this season, but I think going with the team with the best players is the way to go here.

Give me the Wizards to win on the road straight up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Washington

New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers

Just how long does a new coach bump last. In the Knicks’ first game under Mike Miller, they pushed the Pacers and fell by just one point. Now, they head to take on a Blazers team dealing with the loss of Rodney Hood.

Currently, Portland is listed as a nine-point favourite, which for a team that has lost by double digits in their last three losses, seems like a lot. New York is re-integrating Elfrid Payton for competent point guard play, while Portland is struggling to deal with injuries.

I don’t think New York has a chance of getting the win, but I think they can keep it within seven, so the Knicks have value against the spread.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New York +9

Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards

The Wizards have no centres. Well, maybe they have one centre if Moe Wagner can recover from his ankle sprain in time to take on the Sixers. The Sixers have two All-Star centres in Joel Embiid and Al Horford. Down low, this could be an absolute blood bath. Throw in Isaiah Thomas trying to defend Ben Simmons, and Matisse Thybulle hounding Bradley Beal, and it’s pretty ugly for Washington.

Yet, somehow, the Sixers are only 6.5-point favourites. They just knocked off the Jazz by nine in a game that shouldn’t have been that close and yes, they are without Josh Richardson, but a 6.5-point margin against the NBA’s worst defence should be something they can cover.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Philadelphia -6.5

Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors

Will the Rockets have to protest the result of this one too? They travel to Toronto to take on one of the surprise teams in the NBA who just welcomed back both Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry and Houston could be doing it without Danuel House, their starting small forward.

The Raptors are 1.5-point favourites and they have a stellar 7-2 ATS record at home this season where they continually seem to be underrated. James Harden has historically performed well in Toronto, whether that is due to the strip clubs remains to be seen, but is that enough to get the win on the road?

The Rockets are 5-5 on the road this year and 4-6 on the road ATS, so I will lean with the home team, in Lowry’s second game back.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Toronto -1.5

Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans

The Suns are coming in on a back to back, after taking on the Orlando Magic on Thursday, while the Pelicans are rested up after losing to Dallas by 19 points Wednesday.

Derrick Favors and Kenrich Williams are questionable for New Orleans and they could be considered two of the team’s best defensive players, so whether they play or not does have an impact.

For Phoenix, they are without Deandre Ayton, while Aron Baynes is still battling a calf issue which could cause him to miss another game.

The game total is very high, sitting at 233, but the Pelicans are have gone under seven times out of 11 home games, while the Suns have only gone over twice out of seven road games so far.

With a spread that high and two teams that are averaging less than 233 per game over the season, I will take the under on the total.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 233.5

Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards

Wizards and Magic. It sounds more like a Dungeons and Dragons gathering than an NBA matchup. Amazingly, the Wizards, fresh off a 25-point spanking against the Clippers have been installed as 1.5-point favourites for this matchup.

Yes, the Magic are without their best player Nikola Vučević, but the Wizards have lost their last two games by a combined 47 points and have one win in their last five contests, while the Magic have two of the last three after a three-game losing streak.

Markelle Fultz is looking good for Orlando and he travels back home to where he grew up and his improved play, combined with the overall talent level in Orlando should be enough for them to get the win, not just cover the spread.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Orlando to Win

Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans

Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis just left Staples Center with a win over the NBA’s best team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and now they travel down to New Orleans to take on a Pelicans squad without Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors, and Kenrich Williams. Yet, they are only 3.5-point favourites.

That seems like easy money for a team that is 13-6 and 11-8 against the spread this season. New Orleans has hosted Dallas already this season and it resulted in a seven-point loss at home and I don’t really see a lot changing here in this matchup, with the NBA’s best offence rolling into town.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas -3.5

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets

Both the Lakers and the Nuggets lost their last games, the Lakers going down to the Mavericks, while the Kings rolled the Nuggets, but that doesn’t take all the shine away from this matchup between two top-level Western Conference foes.

Encouragingly, both teams enter relatively injury-free with only Avery Bradley missing from the regular rotation of both teams. The thing that stands out to me with this one is the game total. It’s currently listed at 210.5, which seems very low.

We have to remember that the Nuggets are one of the league’s slowest teams and the Lakers possess one of the league’s best defences, so it’s not as much of a gimme as it may appear.

In saying that, the Lakers are averaging 216.2 points per game in their contests this season while the Nuggets are at 208.5, and that’s without Denver’s offence firing on all cylinders.

If Denver looks even remotely competent on offence, this should hit the over.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 210.5

LA Clippers at Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have the number one offence in the NBA at 118.1 offensive rating. For reference, the next team is the Washington Wizards and they sit at 114.5. That gap between one and two is huge.

The Clippers come in at number five with an offensive rating of 11.3 and the difference between Dallas at one and the Clippers at five is the same as the difference between the Clippers and the NBA’s worst offence, the Memphis Grizzlies.

But, if we look at the other side of the ball, the Clippers have the better defence and they’ve played half their season without Paul George. So, what wins out? Great offence or great defence?

Something to watch is that this is the first game of a back to back for the Clippers, so there is a chance that one of George and Kawhi Leonard sits, or both of them do, which would really swing the pendulum in the Mavericks favour.

Given the likelihood of one of those two things happening, and the fact the Clippers are two-point favourites, I’ll take the Mavericks not only to cover the spread but to win outright.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas to Win

Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets

Speaking of those Wizards, holders of the NBA’s second-best offence, they take on the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. The Wizards have been playing solid ball, winning three of their last five games, with no loss greater than seven points in that stretch.

But, during that time, they haven’t taken on a team of the calibre of the Nuggets, who are riding a five-game win streak, with three of those wins coming by 10 or more points.

While the Wizards do have the NBA’s second-best offence, they also have the second-worst defence, while Denver has the sixth-best defence and 15th best offence. Given that Denver has Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray, I feel pretty good that their offence is better than 15th and any road trip to Denver is a tough ask.

Denver is currently giving 9.5 points to the Wizards, but I actually think they can cover that and win comfortably

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Denver -9.5

New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns

The Suns, after a hot start, have now lost three of their last four and are without their starting centre, their replacement starting centre, and their starting point guard (Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes, and Ricky Rubio).

The Pelicans, on the other hand, are obviously still without Zion Williamson, but they got back Brandon Ingram last game, and Lonzo Ball and Jahlil Okafor are questionable for Friday. Josh Hart and Derrick Favors will join Zion on the sidelines.

After knocking off the Blazers in Carmelo Anthony’s NBA debut Wednesday, the Pelicans now travel to Phoenix and have been given six points by the market. This season, when the Suns have had Rubio and Baynes off the court, they have a -5.5 net rating, and while there are plenty of other factors involved, including the opponent, that number, combined with the -6 line, makes it hard to feel good about Phoenix.

While my best bet is New Orleans to cover, I also like the line of 233, considering three of the last four Suns games have gone over that number, although one of the last four Pels games have gone over.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Orleans +6

Portland Trail Blazers at Milwaukee Bucks

The Blazers are without Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkić, we know this. And now, for the second straight game they will be without Damian Lillard, while his supposed replacement, Anfernee Simons is listed as questionable, as well as starting centre Hassan Whiteside.

If both of those players miss as well, the Blazers are going to struggle to resemble an NBA team. We could see them start Skal Labissiere and Gary Trent Jr. (although Kent Bazemore would likely go ahead of Trent).

The Bucks are on a back to back and will be without Khris Middleton with a thigh bruise, but they shouldn’t have any trouble handling the 5-10 Blazers sans Lillard and with Carmelo Anthony. The -11.5 line does make it a tough one for Milwaukee, but given the opposition, I think they can do it.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Milwaukee -11.5

Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies

The Warriors have lost seven in a row, have only won two games all season and their lone road victory came in game three against the Pelicans when Steph Curry was playing. Yeah, it’s pretty dire.They now have no Curry, and no D’Angelo Russell and have resorted to playing Draymond Green at point guard.

As for Memphis, their recent three-game win streak crashed down to Earth with a thud in a 17-point loss to Denver on Monday. Consequently, Memphis has been installed as six-point favourites.

I think Memphis wins. I don’t know who Golden State have to guard rookie Ja Morant, and although Jaren Jackson Jr.’s big issue is foul trouble the Warriors’ inside presence isn’t worrisome enough for him to be committing large swathes of fouls. The betting angle I am more interested in is the total, which sits at 222. Richie Benaud would be proud.

The Grizzlies are the sixth fastest team in the NBA and the Warriors are 16th. Warriors games have averaged 228 points per game this season and Grizzlies games have averaged 229 points. So, that 222 game total is mighty appealing

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 222

Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings

We are a few years past the halcyon days of the legendary Dragan Bender/Georgios Papagiannis rivalry games (yes, this was absolutely a real thing), and we get real basketball between these two teams now.

The Kings will be without Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox, while Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton is still serving his PED suspension. Interestingly, the Kings come in as 1.5-point favourites, largely due to the fact that they are at home and Phoenix is on the second game of a back-to-back.

After a shaky start, the Kings have won three of their last four, including breaking the Celtics’ 10-game win streak and the only loss was by two points to the league-leading Lakers. Phoenix is 2-2 over the last week with losses to those same Lakers and to the Heat, cooling off a little after a hot start.

With Sacramento rising, playing at home, and having a rest advantage, I do think they should be favourite to win, and I think they can do it by beating the spread.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sacramento -1.5

Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans

This is shaping up to be Carmelo Anthony’s return to the NBA game and he and the Blazers go up against a banged-up Pelicans squad.

At this stage the Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors, Josh Hart, and likely, Jahlil Okafor, while Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Frank Jackson are all questionable after missing games over the last week.

Despite those injuries, the Pelicans have won three of their last five, with their only losses coming to Houston and Miami. I’m doubtful Anthony immediately slides into a large role with Portland and rookie Nassir Little has been solid enough in the starting power forward role of late.

The Blazers are the favourite, but I like the Pelicans, at home, to pull off the victory and those chances get boosted further if Ingram plays.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Orleans

Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks

Kristaps Porziņģis has already faced his former team and lost, but Friday’s game will mark his first trip back to Madison Square Garden, looking to make amends for the lost that game last week in Dallas.

The Knicks are coming off a horrible loss to the Bulls, but in reality, that game was lost after a wild start to the fourth quarter by Coby White, so it could’ve been a lot closer.

The Knicks will still be without Elfrid Payton, but they could be bolstered by the return of Mitchell Robinson from concussion.

The Mavericks have the best offense in the NBA, while the Knicks have the worst, so Dallas has rightfully be installed as favourites, but the intriguing value to me seems to be the game total. The total sits at 216.5.

Mavericks games have gone over that six times out of ten, but the last time out, these two combined for 208 points, in Dallas. Both teams shot under 42 percent in that game, so expecting an improvement should put us over the total.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 216.5

Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets

We know the Nets are going to be without Caris LeVert as he recovers from a thumb ligament injury, but now Kyrie Irving has popped up on the injury reports with shoulder impingement.

He is currently questionable, but even if he plays, we have to surmise that Irving’s shoulder will have some impact on his play. Last game, against Utah, Irving shot 10-of-30 from the field and that may have been due to his shoulder causing him problems.

The Nets are currently 1-2 on the road trip, but against a Nuggets team looking to rebound from a loss to Atlanta, it may be tough to correct course, especially if they are without their best two players.

Malik Beasley missed last game for Denver with an illness, but if he is unable to go, it doesn’t have a huge impact on Denver’s ability to win the game and the odds of the Nuggets -7 should balloon if Irving is ruled out.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Denver -7

Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks

You could argue who the Bucks second-best player is, but Khris Middleton has to be in that discussion. He is out for the next three weeks with a thigh contusion, meaning Sterling Brown, Wes Matthews and Donte DiVincenzo are going to have to step up.

Yes, the Bulls are poor and without Otto Porter, but a spread of 11.5 seems like a huge amount, considering the Bucks just sneaked past the Thunder by two points last time out.

If Lauri Markkanen can hit some shots, the Bulls should be able to keep this one a little closer than that spread, so Chicago at the line is my pick.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chicago +11.5

New York at Chicago

The Knicks are the worst team in the NBA and there is upheaval afoot. After last game’s demolition at the hands of the Cavs, the front office led by Steve Mills let it be known how upset they were at the team’s performance and reports out now are that David Fizdale’s job is in jeopardy – for good reason.

But, for as bad as the Knicks are, one of their two wins this season was against this same, poorly coached Bulls team.

Chicago will be once again without Otto Porter, while the Knicks go in without Mitchell Robinson and with an uncertain point guard rotation. Given the furore and general mess in New York, you would expect some level of push back in their next game and a level of competitiveness.

Despite the loss against Cleveland, the Knicks actually played well one game earlier to beat the Mavericks on the road, so I think given the current circumstances, they are a chance to knock off Chicago.

I won’t go too bold and pick a Knicks win, but New York +6.5 seems like a good bet.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New York +6.5

Cleveland at Philadelphia

The Cavs are coming off a rousing victory against the Knicks, while the 76ers ended a three-game skid with a comfortable victory over the Hornets back at home, and the Philadelphia squad has been installed as the firm favourite in this game.

At this point, Ben Simmons is questionable to play for Philadelphia as he recovers from his AC joint sprain and Al Horford is out, resting.

This game has a number of solid betting options, including looking at the game total over 215 points. While the Cavs have been surprisingly average on defence (ranked 17th so far), how they slow down Joel Embiid is a question I don’t have an answer for, so looking at the over is definitely an option here.

But the better bet is taking the Sixers to win straight up is the obvious selection. The odds are short, but as short as they are, I think there is still value on taking the Sixers money line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Philadelphia

Brooklyn at Utah

It’s a battle of differing styles as the NBA’s number one defence (Jazz) takes on the league’s seventh-best offence (Nets).

The Nets were embarrassed last time out against the Suns and will be looking to exact some revenge against a Utah team coming back home for the second game of a back to back after taking on Golden State on Tuesday.

The Nets are better than their Phoenix showing would have us believe and seeing a team with a rest advantage being given eight points is mightily enticing.

Bojan Bogdanović has had a great start to the season for Utah, while fellow newcomer Mike Conley has struggled to find his groove. The Jazz will need Conley to provide some level of resistance against Kyrie Irving, who is coming off a rare subpar game.

The total of 220 here is appealing, but the best value lies in the Nets at +7.5 taking on a team on a back to back.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brooklyn +7.5

Boston at Charlotte

It is going to be an emotional time for both Kemba Walker and Hornets fans when Walker makes his first appearance in an opposing jersey at the Spectrum Center. His Celtics come in as a 6.5-point favourite, which is a hefty amount for a road team, given the Hornets have been plucky and just knocked off the Pacers in overtime and had two road wins in California recently.

The Celtics have won five straight, most of which comfortably, and are welcoming Jaylen Brown back into the lineup for Friday, but something about this game and this line screams trap. The Hornets do have the 27th best defence in the league and that gives me something to look at with a game total set at 219.0, but it’s just a little too close for comfort to reliably target that number.

In the end, the trap element and large road spread leaves me to take the Hornets to keep it close and grab them at +6.5.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Charlotte +6.5

Oklahoma City at San Antonio

The Thunder are performing a lot better than people expected heading into the season, winning three of their last five, with the two losses coming by just four and three points. As a caveat to that, they are 0-2 on the road this season and this trip to San Antonio is their first game out of Chesapeake Energy Arena since October 28.

On the flip side, the Spurs have one win in their last four, against a reeling Warriors squad and just got knocked off by the John Collins-less Hawks by eight. They have been installed at 4.5 point favourites in this game.

LaMarcus Aldridge has been up and down this season, as has DeMar DeRozan, while Dejounte Murray is still under a minutes limit and this level of confidence in a win seems misplaced.

In fact, I think the Thunder have a solid enough chance of getting the win on the road and taking them at $2.58 seems like good value.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Oklahoma City at $2.58

Miami at Phoenix

The Heat were destroyed last time on the road in Denver and now they head to face the resurgent Suns in Phoenix looking to make amends. Phoenix has been the surprise of the league so far, with a record of 5-2 including a huge win over Philadelphia last time out. The big question is how much of this is repeatable but, so far, it looks good.

Miami’s rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro struggled last game, as rookies often do, while Justise Winslow’s return didn’t help things and his fit with Jimmy Butler has been questionable through two games.

This is the battle of the fourth (Miami) and fifth (Phoenix) best defences in the NBA, but also two teams that are in the top 12 in pace of play. So, despite the good defenses, the total of 217 seems low. I like the Suns to win at the -1.5, but the over 217 seems better.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 217

Boston at Cleveland

The Cavs are a surprising 2-1 at home to begin this season with wins over the Pacers and Bulls, but the Celtics are a different story. Boston will be without Jaylen Brown and the statuses of Enes Kanter and Robert Williams III are still up in the air, while the Cavs are still missing John Henson and Ante Žižić.

Kevin Love has been turning back the clock so far, while Boston has also been boosted by an improved Gordon Hayward, while Kemba Walker has scored at least 32 points in three straight games.

I like Boston to win this game, and that’s obviously reflected in the odds, but the real decision is whether they can cover the 5.5 point spread. Of their four victories this season, three have been by six or more points, with only Jayson Tatum’s game-winner over the Knicks being closer, while Cleveland’s losses have all been by at least seven points. That often happens with a young team.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Celtics -5.5

Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago

The Lakers are good and the Bulls are bad. That is basic analysis, but that doesn’t make it inaccurate. The Lakers come into this game sporting the NBA’s number one defence, while the Bulls have only the 23rd best offence. That could be a real disaster for Chicago.

Jim Boylen’s coaching of the Bulls has limited their ability to win games, restricting players like Tomáš Satoranský, Otto Porter, and Wendell Carter Jr. and they would need to execute exceptionally to get the win here.

The Lakers will once again be without Rajon Rondo, while Avery Bradley is questionable. They have welcomed back Kyle Kuzma over the last two games and he is easing himself in. The Bulls should have no answer for Anthony Davis and LeBron James and the Lakers win seems strong.

I’m tempted to take the Lakers at -6.5, and the Lakers haven’t had a win under seven points, but given it’s on the road, I think I’ll just take the Lakers straight up at $1.35

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Lakers at $1.35

Miami at Denver

The Miami Heat have come into this season surprising a lot of people, including people setting the gambling lines, as the Heat at 5-0-1 against the spread so far this season. On the flip side, the Nuggets are 0-2 against the spread at home this season, as their vaunted home-court advantage hasn’t been as impressive in their sluggish start. The Heat are coming off a 29 point shellacking of the Rockets, and that was without Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr.

Denver has been slow this season, with Nikola Jokić looking passive. Michael Malone has called out his superstar to take more shots. This goes one of two ways. Jokić comes out and attemptS 30 shots, or he passes every time to finish with two points for the game.

Miami is rolling and I do think they have a real chance of getting the win in Denver, but for a safer pick, I’ll take them +5.0 on the road in a game that also should go over the 209 listed total.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Miami +5 (also with a chance to win).

Miami at Atlanta

These two teams matched up Wednesday in Miami in a game where Trae Young went down with an ankle sprain early on. Miami got the win by 15 in Jimmy Butler’s debut, fueled by a huge Tyler Herro game.

Now, the rematch is in Atlanta. Young won’t play, nor will his backup Evan Turner, so Atlanta goes in without a true point guard. DeAndre’ Bembry, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter will try to fill in for Atlanta and that may not go well against Miami and Butler.

The total was set too high in game one and has been dropped after the under hit easily and without Trae, Atlanta may struggle to crack 100 points again. Given how Erik Spoelstra has his team rolling, with big contributions from two rookies, Herro and Kendrick Nunn, Miami for the win is an easy pick, but I also like taking the Heat at -6 for a little bit of extra juice.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Miami -6

Denver at New Orleans

The Zion Williamson-less Pelicans have yet to win a game and now they host a Nuggets squad who just lost their first contest on Wednesday. For the Pelicans to open their account, they will have to succeed without Zion, of course, but also without Derrick Favors who is doubtful with knee soreness.

The good news is that Jrue Holiday, who has missed the last two contests, has been upgraded to probable with his knee strain and should be back in the lineup.

Denver is healthy, albeit playing sluggishly, and need to get back on the winner’s list to keep pace at the top of the Western Conference. Nikola Jokić should be able to feast on either Jahlil Okafor, Nicolo Melli, or Jaxson Hayes at centre for the Pelicans, while Gary Harris and Will Barton look back to their healthy selves after a horribly injury-riddled 2018-19 season.

The spread is coming around nine in favour of the Nuggets, but if Holiday is back, I can see the Pelicans covering that number at home.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Orleans +9

San Antonio v LA Clippers

The Clippers are coming into this game on the second night of a back to back, while the Spurs are on the first game of a back to back, so we could have all sorts of fatigue/minutes monitoring happening.

We already know that Kawhi Leonard won’t play Thursday for the Clippers, so he will be ready to go with this matchup against his former team, but on the Spurs side, Dejounte Murray may not play. Murray won’t play in one of the games of the back to back, we just don’t know if it will be Friday or Saturday.

The Clippers have lost once, to the Suns, but the fact they are only five-point favourites, with San Antonio potentially missing their starting point guard, really gets my attention. On the surface, this sort of line would have me worried about what I’m missing, but given we know that Kawhi is already out Thursday and will be back for Friday, the value in the Clippers at -5 seems immense.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – LA Clippers -5

Atlanta at Miami

After starting the season out 2-0, the Hawks narrowly fell to the 76ers on Tuesday and now have to travel to Miami on a back to back. The Heat will be welcoming back Jimmy Butler and are more rested, as well as being at home, so everything is stacked in their favour.

However, the eight-point line seems a little inflated with how well Trae Young has been carrying his team. Miami at the money line of $1.28 seems like a good option, but I prefer the total of 224.5.

The Hawks were one of the most fast-paced teams in the NBA last season, but this year they are going at a significantly slower pace. Throw in Butler’s return, which often slows down a team, and the fact that the Heat have historically been a slow team and I think that total is set too high.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 224.5

Dallas at Denver

The duo of Kristaps Porziņģis and Luka Dončić have been on fire to start the season, guiding the Mavs to an undefeated 2-0 start. Now, they travel to Denver to see if they can keep perfection going.

The Nuggets played late Tuesday in Sacramento and then had to go home for this second game of a back to back, yet are still favoured by six points. Playing a road game in Denver, which Dallas has to do, is one of the toughest outings in the NBA due to the altitude, but I like the Mavericks’ possibilities here. Taking Dallas with the six points is the easy pick, but I like them outright at $3.04

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dallas Mavericks to Win

Memphis at LA Lakers

The Lakers are coming off a big win over the Hornets at home, while Memphis eeked out an overtime upset against the favoured Nets on Monday and the spread reflects the talent disparity on offer here for this game, with the line sitting at Lakers -11.5.

Rajon Rondo has yet to play this season for LA, but his presence or absence is not likely to have any real impact on the overall results, while the Grizzlies continue to limit Jonas Valančiūnas’ minutes as he recovers from preseason foot soreness.

The Lakers have two days off after this game, while the Grizzlies have a whopping three days between games, so preservation for an upcoming tough stretch isn’t a factor in how hard the coaches will push the players, but the talent gap between LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the Grizzlies players is large.

I think the Lakers win, but I don’t see the value in the moneyline. Instead, I think we can find value in the game total, currently sitting at 220. These aren’t last year’s Grit and Grind Grizzlies, as they sit fourth in the NBA in pace and 20th in defence, although the Lakers under Frank Vogel are currently the slowest team in the NBA.

Still, with how Memphis is pushing and how good the Lakers offence can be, taking over 220 is the way to go.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 220

Atlanta at Detroit

The Hawks travel to Detroit for their game of the NBA season to take on a Pistons team fresh off a rousing victory over the favoured Indiana Pacers. Given how Andre Drummond dominated Indiana, Atlanta could be in for a hard time on the road here.

On the flip side for the Hawks, Blake Griffin won’t play for the Pistons and it is a back to back for the Detroit squad, so legs could be a bit tired in this one for Dwane Casey’s squad.

Given Atlanta’s big man defence, and guard defence if we’re being honest, is subpar, I look for Drummond to put up big numbers again, while Luke Kennard and Derrick Rose take advantage of possibly the worst defender in the NBA, Trae Young.

You can get the Pistons at -1 at the moment, and that is what I would take.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Detroit Pistons -1

Milwaukee at Houston

Two of the NBA title favourites match up in Houston and we have the Rockets sitting as slight favourites in Russell Westbrook’s regular season Rockets debut. The Bucks were the best regular-season team in the league last season, but they did lose starter Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers.

There was a doubt that Eric Bledsoe would be ready for the opener, but he is ready to go, while the Rockets will be without Gerald Green for the season and Westbrook is dealing with a finger dislocation but will play.

It’s a battle between the top two MVP finishers last season and I think Giannis Antetokounmpo can get his Bucks over the line. It’s nice that they give some value as a road dog as well.

Bucks straight up is what I like here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Milwaukee Bucks to Win

LA Clippers at Golden State

The Clippers steamrolled the Lakers on opening night and now they back it up by taking on a new look Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors will have Kevon Looney back, who didn’t play at all in the preseason, but their defence looked horrible and it’s hard to see how they will stop Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.

Steph Curry has a new backcourt mate in D’Angelo Russell, but Golden State is going to be starting Glenn Robinson III in Kevin Durant’s old spot and how that goes against Kawhi is not likely to be positive.

The Clippers are only 1.5 point favourites, which seems too low, despite this being the first regular-season game in the new Chase Center.

I will take the Clippers outright for the win to start 2-0.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – LA Clippers to Win

New Orleans at Toronto

The defending champs kick the NBA season off at home against one of the most interesting teams in the league, the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately, the Pelicans have lost a lot of their lustre with hyped rookie Zion Williamson sitting out opening night and likely the first few weeks of the season.

The Raptors are healthy, with the exception of Patrick McCaw, but that shouldn’t have too much of a bearing on the result, while Derrick Favors is right to go as the starting centre.

Toronto, of course, is without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who are both in Los Angeles now, but that doesn’t mean they are a train wreck.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol will lead, along with Fred VanVleet, who has looked great in preseason and OG Anunoby who has shown sparks in his third season.

The Pelicans will start JJ Redick in place of Zion, while rookie guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been the talk of preseason, averaging 15 points in 19 minutes. The Raptors are at home, but this is not the same team as last season.

I think there is value in the Pelicans +7, given the Raptors were just 18-23 against the spread at home last season, despite having a 32-9 record. I’m not averse to taking the Pelicans at $3.50

I’ll take the Pelicans at the line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Orleans +7

LA Lakers at LA Clippers

Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard all join LeBron James in Los Angeles for this season as the Staples Center now becomes the focus of the NBA world.

So, of course, the NBA scheduled them on opening night. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to have full strength squads with Paul George out for the Clippers and Kyle Kuzma being ruled out for the Lakers with a stress reaction in his leg.

I have the Clippers as the favourite for the Western Conference finals, but that is with Paul George, so understandably, by the Lakers open as favourites on opening night.

The coaching advantage has to go to the Clippers with Doc Rivers at the helm over Frank Vogel in his first season with the Lakers, but is that enough to make up for the absence of George? I doubt it.

Despite Kuzma being out, the Lakers still seem to be the better squad, even if the supporting cast behind LeBron and AD isn’t as strong as what’s behind Kawhi for the Clippers. These two teams will be fighting for Western Conference supremacy all season and this is just the entree

The Lakers have come in but I still like them at that price.

 BACK – Lakers to Win

Current Results

All bets are 1 unit.

Total Units Staked: 111.00

Total Units Returned: 119.72

ROI: 7.86%

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