NBA: Best bets and analysis for Friday, December 1st


NBA best bets and analysis for Friday, December 1st

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Best Bets

Record: 28-18-1 | Units: +8.86u | ROI: 17.9%

Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic (-11, 237.5)

Two days ago Orlando obliterated Washington in a 139-120 victory. The Magic averaged 1.371 points per possession in the win, and much of that efficiency was due to a 14-of-22 shooting night from beyond the arc. Orlando is 19th in 3-point shooting on the season and 15th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency. Even against a team like Washington which has allowed the most points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, it is unlikely that Orlando replicates that scoring outburst again tonight.

The average closing total in the Magic’s contests this season is 223.1 and they have gone Under nine of the 18 games they have played. The combination of average offense and elite defense are not conducive to high-scoring affairs, especially when the total is nearing 240 points. The Wizards’ defense certainly raises the floor of the Magic’s offense, but pushing an already high total up by 2.5 points after an unsustainable shooting performance does not seem like the right move. Orlando also comes into this contest familiar with what Washington is on offense, which can only help a defensive team as good as they are.

Play: UNDER 238 – Playable down to 236.5

San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans (-12.5, 232.5)

New Orleans is finally starting to get healthy. CJ McCollum returned to action on Wednesday, and Trey Murphy III is expected to make his debut tonight. That is fantastic news for a team loaded with potential, but only 10-9 SU/11-8 ATS with the 21st-ranked offense in non-garbage time. Murphy’s return specifically is massive for the Pelicans, as they rank 20th in 3-point shooting (35.7%) and could desperately use him to improve the spacing on the floor.

The return of both McCollum and Murphy will alter the shot share for this team. With two adept players returning the allotment of shot attempts will shift, so who is the player that could see a decline in attempts when on the floor. My guess is that it would be Brandon Ingram. In fact, there is some evidence of that.

In the four games in which McCollum and Ingram played together this season Ingram averaged only 13.0 attempts per game, but in the other 12 contests that average went up to 20.5 per game. On Wednesday against Philadelphia Ingram hoisted up only seven shot attempts while McCollum put up 16 and Zion Williamson tried 12 shots. Now with Murphy on the floor – a knockdown 3-point shooter who can help address one of the team’s biggest weaknesses – it could lead to a lesser share of attempts for Ingram. The market might not be accounting for that decline, so let’s test that theory and bet Under his point total prop tonight.

Play: Ingram UNDER 22.5 PTS (-105) – Playable to (-120)

Best Bets

Wizards/Magic UNDER 238
Brandon Ingram UNDER 22.5 PTS (-105)

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics (-6.5, 222.5)

Joel Embiid was a late scratch on Wednesday with an illness, and he is questionable tonight with the same issue. The market told us that day that Embiid was worth six points to the spread, and that looked like the truth for Philadelphia which went on to lose 124-114 to New Orleans. Until his status is known it would be impossible to recommend a play pre-flop. Kristaps Porzingis remains sidelined for Boston with a calf strain, so the 76ers would have an advantage at center should Embiid be able to play tonight. The line move this morning would tell us the market believes Embiid will not be playing tonight.

Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks (-10, 229)

Memphis was in the perfect spot on Wednesday to grab a victory, as it had two days off in the midst of a homestand to prepare for a vulnerable opponent in Utah. Today they do not have that luxury, but the market does seem to believe we’re at a buy-low spot for the Grizzlies. Memphis has been playing better on defense, and that could be enough to keep them inside this number. They rank 15th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency, and they lead the league in opponent shooting within four feet (59.4%). One would think their floor on offense is raised by the Mavericks’ defense which is 24th in NBA (117.9).

*New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors (-1.5, 216.5)

New York – one of the best cover teams in the NBA – has hit a small lull in the schedule. The Knicks are 3-2 SU/1-4 ATS in their last five games, and tonight they are playing their third game in four nights. It’s also the third game in four nights for the Raptors, so the situation is somewhat equal for both teams. The question here will be whether or not Toronto can operate efficiently on offense against New York. The Raptors are 24th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (111.4) and 25th in halfcourt offense (91.1). New York has allowed the sixth-fewest points per 100 possessions this season (110.4). There is little movement this morning, likely due to the market waiting for an injury report from the Knicks.

Denver Nuggets (-2, 224) at Phoenix Suns

The injury report makes this contest easy to pass on, and given the lack of movement on both side and total, the market agrees. Jamal Murray returned from injury on Wednesday, but he is listed as questionable to play. So too is Aaron Gordon. For Phoenix, Devin Booker is questionable with an ankle injury that he suffered last time out. Until there is clarity with their status tonight we won’t see much movement here. Those who like trends will want to check out what Denver has done on the road this season; they are just 2-8 ATS away from home.