NBA best bets and analysis for Wednesday, December 6th
Record: 29-19-1 | Units: +8.76u | ROI: 16.96%
Orlando had its 9-0 SU/8-1 ATS run snapped in Brooklyn on Saturday, but it remains as one of the best cover teams in the NBA at 13-5-2 ATS for the season. Quietly, another run has been forming for the Magic as well: They are 7-1 to the Over in their last eight games. Orlando’s offense has suddenly taken off. It is averaging 120.9 points per 100 possessions during this eight-game stretch and its +7.4 net rating during this run is third-best in the NBA.
It might be wise to bank on this trend to continue for the Magic tonight in Cleveland, but I do not believe that will be the case. The Cavaliers have allowed the seventh-fewest points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time this season (111.7). When Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley share the floor they allow just 105.7 points per 100 possessions, and 85.8 points per 100 plays against a set defense. Opponents only shoot 56.0% at the rim against this frontcourt as well, and that is massive for the Magic which lead the league in frequency of attempts within four feet and 11th in shooting percentage in the restricted area.
Cleveland themselves are also struggling to find consistency on offense. They come into this game just 23rd in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (111.7). Their starting lineup with Allen and Mobley might be elite on defense, but their offense still struggles with spacing and efficiency. It’s a good matchup for Orlando, which is third in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (109.4) and has good enough perimeter defenders to hound Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. The Magic are on a run of high-scoring affairs, but five of those eight opponents rank 19th or lower in defensive efficiency. That is obviously not the case tonight.
Play: UNDER 223.5 – Playable to 222.5
There is no reason to believe that Washington will stymie Philadelphia’s offense in any way tonight. The Wizards have allowed 123.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time this season which is the worst defensive rating in the league by 1.1 points. Their halfcourt defense in 29th at 104.8 points per 100 plays allowed, and they allow 29.3 points per 100 missed attempts which is also the worst in the NBA. The problem with those figures – besides being some of the worst numbers in the league – is that their opponent tonight excels in those areas on offense.
The 76ers are second in non-garbage time offensive efficiency at 121.0 points per 100 possessions. Their frequency of attempts at the rim is sixth-most in the NBA (36.4%), the exact figure that the Wizards give up in the restricted area (36.4%). Philadelphia averages the most points per 100 missed attempts (27.5) as well. The team is also healthy. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are no longer dealing with the illness that was going around the locker room, and Kelly Oubre is back in the lineup tonight. It’s obvious at this point that I expect some offensive success tonight for the 76ers, so let’s bet on that happening.
Play: 76ers TT OVER 125.5 (-108) – Playable to (-115)
San Antonio brings an 0-14 SU/3-9-1 ATS losing streak into this game with Minnesota, and odds are that slide continues. The Spurs have been poor on both ends of the floor over this stretch, but the offense has been specifically subpar. San Antonio has averaged just 107.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage over the last 14 games, and its halfcourt offensive rating of 91.6 is nearly two points lower than its season-long rating which is already 25th in the league. None of this bodes well for a road game against one of the best defensive teams in league.
Minnesota leads the league in non-garbage time defensive efficiency at 107.4 points allowed every 100 possessions. They have the size to stymie Victor Wembanyama who has scored 21 or more points in four straight games, but is only shooting 41.7% from the floor during this losing streak. Anthony Edwards is questionable to play with a hip injury. His presence helps the Timberwolves’ perimeter defense, but even if he doesn’t play, Minnesota has a 110.5 defensive rating when he is off the floor.
Betting the game Under is a risk, because the Spurs’ defense is so poor – it is 27th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency – that the Timberwolves’ offensive success could push this Over the number. Instead, I’ll focus on San Antonio. I would expect that Minnesota will be able to contain one of the worst offenses on its own home floor and keep them under their team total.
Play: Spurs TT UNDER 107.5 (-105) – Playable to (-120)
This is a simple number play in this game. Atlanta laying this number at home would tell us that the Hawks are the better team on a neutral court, and I do not believe that to be the case. Both of these teams are near mirror images of one another. Brooklyn is the slightly better team in non-garbage time net rating at +2.6 per 100 possessions compared to +1.8 for Atlanta. The Nets allow 2.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time fewer, but the Hawks score 1.4 points more. There’s no massive distinction between these two teams statistically, and in a league where a home team is outscoring an opponent by 2.8 points every 100 possessions in non-garbage time, this is not a number that should be where it is at.
However, the real difference between these two comes on the injury report. Atlanta lost Jalen Johnson to a broken wrist, and his absence will be massive. Johnson has been incredible this season, and every 100 possessions on the floor he has improved the Hawks’ net rating by 7.1 points. They allow 8.4 points fewer every 100 possessions with Johnson, which is massive for a subpar defensive team. Atlanta is also one of the most overvalued teams by the betting market with a league-worst 5-14 ATS record and a -0.7 spread differential. The market seems to agree with me as well here, because the opening line of 4.5 has disappeared from the screen.
Play: Nets (+4) – Playable to (+3)
Magic/Cavaliers UN 223.5
76ers TT OV 125.5 (-108)
Spurs TT UN 107.5 (-105)