NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, February 26th


Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page


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*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 50-54 | Units: -6.14 | ROI: -6.04%

Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks (-5, 229.5)

In the four games with this new roster Brooklyn has struggled offensively, averaging just 107.5 points per 100 possessions overall and 94.4 points per 100 plays in halfcourt settings. It would seem that the theory that this offense is going to struggle due to the lack of offensive creators is a strong one, but attacking that theory by betting these games Under is flawed due to the team’s abhorrent defense.

The Nets have been outscored by 17.1 points per 100 possessions in those four games due to a defense that has a 124.6 rating in those contests. It is an extremely small sample size, but two opponents have already posted individual game offensive ratings of 131.1 or higher and one of those teams was the 24th ranked offensive team in the NBA, Chicago. That defense is why two of those four games have gone Over the total. However, Brooklyn has gone Under its team total in three of the four.

Which brings us to this game against Atlanta. The betting market has bet this game up from the open of 229.5 to 233.5 consensus. Given what we have seen from the Nets defense, it is not a surprise to see that move. That bump has also caused the market to inflate Brooklyn’s team total to 114.5 at the shops that offer it. The Hawks are a fast team, coming into this game ninth in pace and they will likely try to speed this game up. However, Brooklyn is an extremely slow group and in the four games with this new roster they are averaging just 92.5 possessions per game. Even if they are sped up somewhat by the Hawks there does not seem to be enough offensive efficiency here for the Nets to surpass a high number for its team total.

Bet: Nets TT UNDER (114.5)

Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks (-4, 237)

The returns of the new look Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely positive. Los Angeles has a +26.4 net rating with the new starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, LeBron James, Jarred Vanderbilt and Anthony Davis on the floor, and not only did that group produce 1.289 points per possession but it also limited the opposition to 1.026 per possession. The returns are obviously not going to be that extreme, but the Lakers’ ability to score and run with efficiency is going to be a test for Dallas’ defense. 

The Mavericks’ defensive rating in the possessions with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving has improved to 114.9 as of today, but this team is going to be defensively challenged with those two on the floor. Especially in matchups like this, where they have few options defensively for LeBron James or Anthony Davis. This is still the 22nd ranked defense in the NBA and since Irving’s debut they have allowed 118.7 points per 100 possessions. 

Bet: Lakers ML (+150) [0.5u]

Best Bet Recap

Nets TT UN (114.5)
Lakers ML (+150) [0.5u]

NBA Games & Odds

Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks (-4, 226.5)

Giannis Antetokounmpo is considered doubtful to play today due to the quad injury he suffered against Miami on Friday. There is certainly a chance he plays, much like he did against the Heat on Friday despite being listed as doubtful early in the day, but the early start time here probably lessens the chances of that happening. Regardless, until there is clarity on his situation this line will be stuck in limbo.

As for the matchup itself, the Phoenix Suns come into this game having discovered something. Their new starting lineup of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig and Deandre Ayton is working. When those five are on the floor Phoenix has a +17.6 net rating and the team is scoring 1.276 points per possession. It’s a short sample size, but those returns are elite. Regardless of Antetokounmpo’s status this is a massive test for that lineup today, as this is still an above average defensive group in Milwaukee. They limit opponents to 112.2 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo on the floor, and when Jrue Holiday is that number improves to a 110.7 defensive rating.



Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls (-3.5, 226)

Chicago’s offense finally broke through against Brooklyn on Friday night, but the Nets’ defense has struggled since the forming of its new roster at the trade deadline. The Bulls are still a team which has averaged just 103.2 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past seven games. Washington blew a big lead against New York on Friday, but the team is still 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games. The last thing anyone should do here is overreact to the performance of the Bulls on Friday, and while this line move is in the favor of Chicago that is due to the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, not market support. 

*Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers (-7, 214.5)

Cleveland dropped its third consecutive game in Atlanta on Friday night, and the team is on an 0-4 ATS slide as it prepares to host Toronto today. Not only will the Cavaliers need to snap that skid, but they will also be looking to avoid a season sweep by the Raptors which are 3-0 SU and ATS against Cleveland with a +9.4 net rating. The Cavaliers have had trouble with teams that speed them up this season, and that is exactly what the Raptors are and have done in this matchup. Toronto adds the second most points per 100 possessions through transition offense this season (4.4) and against Cleveland that number is 9.9 with an overall offensive rating in transition of 151.9 in this matchup. The Raptors are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and the status of Fred VanVleet who has missed the last two games is unknown, but if their full complement of players is available it would be surprising if this number closed above the opening line.

Sacramento Kings (-3, 240.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder

Most will remember Sacramento’s wild comeback against Los Angeles on Friday night as an offensive success, but remember that the Kings allowed 1.333 points per possession in non-garbage time. This has been the theme for Sacramento, which has been getting progressively worse defensively as the season has gone along. Since the beginning of the calendar year they have allowed 119.4 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, the sixth worst defensive rating in the NBA over that time. That is not to say to never invest in Sacramento, but to wait for better opportunities in-game, as this team is going to be involved in some volatile swings during games. Especially in games like this one today against a similarly paced team like Oklahoma City which comes into this game third in pace (102.09), even with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors (-2.5, 234)

Draymond Green is questionable to play tonight and Andrew Wiggins is set to miss his fourth consecutive game. If Green is not available Golden State could be up against it here. In the possessions without Green, Wiggins and Stephen Curry the Warriors have been outscored by 9.0 points per 100 possessions. That net rating improves to -0.9 if Green is on the floor, meaning his presence is valuable here. This number would indicate Minnesota is the slightly better team from a rating standpoint, but if Green plays I would expect this number to climb past -3 almost everywhere.

Los Angeles Clippers at *Denver Nuggets (-2.5, 230.5)

Denver was in a tough spot in Memphis last night, but the lopsided result allowed Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to get some rest and play fewer than 30 minutes. That could open the door for Murray to play today against Los Angeles. The Clippers are coming off a terrible loss to the Kings on Friday night in which they blew a late double-digit lead and gave up 1.375 points per possession. Los Angeles has had trouble with Denver for quite some time now, and with Ivica Zubac out their depth at center, and the pieces with which to guard Nikola Jokic, are limited. Denver rates as the better team right now, and if they have Murray and Jokic tonight this number should close at 3.5 or higher.