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.

Check out Basketball Monster and the Locked On Fantasy Basketball Podcast for more from Josh.

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New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings

The Kings are basically eliminated from the play-in game in Orlando after losing their first three games in the bubble, while New Orleans still has everything to play for. We also saw a lot more from Zion Williamson’s last game as his minutes ramp up, so the Pelicans enter as the rightful favourite.

But, the spread is where I am focusing my interest. The Pels are listed as only four point favourites at the moment, and that seems low.

BACK – Pelicans -4

Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns

Both of these teams are undefeated in Orlando, which is surprising on both sides. But, it’s probably more surprising for the Suns, the team that came in with the worst odds of even forcing a play-in game.

The Suns have beaten the Clippers and Mavericks, but they have benefitted greatly from poor shooting from their opponents, especially from three. This is something that is defense independent and will correct course, so I feel the lie set at just -3.0 isn’t taking that into account.

Malcolm Brogdon is listed as questionable with a neck strain, so that is one to watch, but I think the Pacers should still be able to cover.

BACK – Pacers -3

LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks

Dallas has had some trouble getting across the line, with some late meltdowns against the Rockets and Suns leading to losses. But, they turned it around against the Kings and now take on a high powered Clippers’ team.

But, the Clippers will once again be without Montrezl Harrell and now Patrick Beverley is out again with a calf issue.

The Clippers don’t really have a lot to play for here, outside of rounding players into form, so I’m not sure they have the necessary motivation to go hard, so I like Dallas to push them here. They have struggled during the year against the Clips, but I’ll take them to cover.

BACK – Dallas +4

Dallas Mavericks vs Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been poor in their first two restart games, showing little to no effort in the loss against Orlando. They need this win to keep close enough to strike, but Dallas, despite also losing both games, appears too good.

The Mavericks have had leads against both the Suns and Rockets in fourth quarters but haven’t closed it out and should be too good for a Kings teams that have lost by an average of 12.5 points so far.

BACK – Mavericks -5.5

Houston Rockets v Portland Trailblazers

These teams have been lighting it up so far and while the game total is high, it seems to be quite low in comparison to what these teams have been doing so far. Of the four games they have played combined, three have gone over 244, with the only game under, finishing at 236.

The Blazers defence is questionable and their offence is humming led by Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkić, and CJ McCollum, while we all know the Rockets are in on small ball and are taking a ludicrous amount of threes.

BACK – Over 244

Phoenix Suns v LA Clippers

The Suns have been one of the big surprises of the bubble and will be looking to ride that momentum against a Clipper team with nothing to play for.

Now, even though the Clippers have nothing to play for, doesn’t mean they aren’t playing well, as they beat the Pelicans comfortably last game, and that was without Lou Williams, who they welcome back here.

With how Phoenix has looked so far, I think they may be able to keep it close enough to get under the spread

BACK – Suns +9

LA Clippers v LA Lakers

The NBA is back and what better way to get back into the swing of things than with a matchup between two of the best teams in the NBA, both coming out of Los Angeles.

It’s going to be wonky in this NBA restart with both of these teams basically locked into their seeds at one and two in the Western Conference, so how hard will Doc Rivers and Frank Vogel push their squads.

The Clippers will be without Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, while Patrick Beverley, who hasn’t played in the scrimmage games, is a game-time decision. Losing those three rotation pieces, if Beverley doesn’t play, could be too large of a hurdle for the Clippers to overcome, but it isn’t as though the Lakers don’t have absences of their own.

Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley will be out for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis is listed as questionable, although he is planning to play. Overall, the Lakers should be able to get the job done against a depleted Clippers team that surely won’t push Paul George and Kawhi Leonard too much in the opener.

BACK – Lakers -4.5

New Orleans Pelicans v Utah Jazz

The big question here for the Pelicans, who are fighting to get into the playoffs, is whether Zion Williamson will play. He had to leave the NBA Orlando Bubble for a personal issue, but is back now and the Pelicans are calling him a game-time decision, as he hasn’t played in any scrimmages.

I would be pretty surprised if Zion didn’t suit up, given the Pelicans need every win they can get to push into the playoffs.

The Jazz are going to be without Bojan Bogdanović who is out for the season with a wrist injury, so Joe Ingles will slide back into his starting spot. The Jazz have qualified for the playoffs and don’t really have a huge amount to play for here in these games, while New Orleans should be going full tilt from opening tip to the final whistle.

The Pelicans are favourite for this game, but there is still value in them at their current price.

BACK – Pelicans to Win

The NBA is coming back. Since being suspended in mid-March, we have been waiting with bated breath for news on when the league would return and in what form, and now we know. August 1st will see NBA games back on our screens again with 22 of the 30 teams congregating in Orlando at the Walt Disney World bubble to play out an eight-game end to the regular season, before settling into the regular four-round, best-of-seven playoff format.

But, of course, games played in a bubble environment, with no fans, and no home-court advantage changes the calculus when trying to determine how the rest of the season will play out.

Western Conference

So, which teams does this new format suit? I’ll start with the current Western Conference number one seed, the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are most likely going to finish this eight-game regular season in Orlando as the number one seed in the West, as they currently have a 5.5 game lead on the second-placed LA Clippers. To catch up 5.5 games in only eight contests in almost impossible, as the Lakers need to win only three of eight games to secure that position.

But, that isn’t why I think this benefits the Lakers. LeBron James is 35 years old. Anthony Davis is seemingly always dealing with some sort of niggling injury. Getting a four and a half month rest to heal slight injury concerns is going to be huge for LeBron and AD to push at an extremely high level during these playoffs.

Yes, they are without Avery Bradley, which could hurt, but Rajon Rondo’s injury could be a blessing in disguise, as he was the most negatively impactful player on the roster, and not playing him allows better options more time on the court. The Lakers window is now with LeBron getting older and this time to refresh gives them a great runway to push into LeBron’s fourth title.

Like the Lakers, the Houston Rockets are a team that this layoff may help. Mike D’Antoni notoriously plays his players a lot of minutes. James Harden is averaging 37 minutes a night. Russell Westbrook was dealing with a knee issue all season, causing him to sit back to backs and still averaged 36 minutes. PJ Tucker, who is 35 years old, averaged 35 minutes a game playing as a small forward sized centre.

Eric Gordon and his 31-year-old body and 55-year-old knees played 29 minutes in his 34 games. One of the criticisms of D’Antoni has been that his players play such a huge role in the regular season that fatigue sets in and they can’t get over the hump in a playoff grind type setting. That four-month regular season grind is ancient history.

The only downside for the Rockets is that their new centre-less rotation only had a few weeks of action to gel before the COVID-19 shutdown, so familiarity may be an issue with fully incorporating Robert Covington into the rotation.

Eastern Conference

Lastly, I think the Philadelphia 76ers could be prime to make things very interesting. Before I get to why, I need to address the potential huge downside for the format and Philadelphia. The Sixers were 29-2 at home this season. They were a putrid 10-24 on the road.

So, were they that bad on the road because they were away from home or because they were at someone else’s home because the answer to that question could determine their fate. No games will be played in Philly, that’s for sure, but if their road struggles were only due to not dealing with opposing fans as well as they should have, they could’ve been dealt a very fortunate hand.

But, if it was the travelling and being away from their home fans that were the issue, then more pain awaits in Orlando. The reason I really wanted to talk about the Sixers is that there was every chance that Ben Simmons would miss at least some, if not all of the first round of the playoffs with a back injury.

That was when the playoffs were to be held in April. Simmons is fit and he is raring to go. The Sixers are also running with Shake Milton starting over Al Horford, getting more shooting on the court, and if that clicks, the entire offence could be unlocked.

Throw in the fact that Joel Embiid has been able to rest up his knees, although we don’t know what sort of aerobic shape he is in, and Al Horford’s knee tendinitis could’ve improved markedly, as well as Josh Richardson’s problematic hamstring, and the Sixers could attack the NBA’s return with a completely different squad than the one that was limping into April.

Betting Strategy

In the preseason, I had the Clippers and the Sixers meeting in the NBA Finals, and while it does appear like the Bucks and Lakers are the favourites to meet now, things could get wild and I wouldn’t be surprised to see my original pick play out.

You can get great odds on the Sixers and Rockets making a push for the title and I think the advantages they may have gained should have seen them shorten in price more than they currently have, so they provide value for me, while the Lakers at $3.65 do seem like the prudent choice given the demographics of their squad in comparison to Milwaukee and the Clippers, the other favourites.

Bear in mind, I wouldn’t read too much into what happens in the eight-game regular season before we hit the playoffs in terms of teams’ chances of winning the title.

Many teams, without seeding and home-court being an issue, will be likely treating these games as a glorified preseason, to get player’s game fitness to the level it needs to be. The only teams who will go full tilt will be the teams battling for the eighth seed, and even then, that race could be over early.

Current Results

All bets are 1 unit.

Total Units Staked: 113.00

Total Units Returned: 119.72

ROI: 5.95%

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