NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, March 14th

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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!

Top NBA Resources:

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

Stay up to date on injury news with our injury report page as well.

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

Best Bets

Record: 56-64 | Units: -10.74 | ROI: -9.18%

Brooklyn Nets at Oklahoma City Thunder (-2, 231.5)

The last three games for Oklahoma City have been uncharacteristically low-scoring, but this one against Brooklyn should look more familiar. The Nets have been somewhat better in its defensive play lately, but still have allowed 116.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time with this new roster, and the areas in which they have struggled defensively are ones in which the Thunder can find success. Brooklyn has struggled in halfcourt settings, allowing 100.9 points per 100 plays, and Oklahoma City not only averages 99.1 on the season but 101.0 when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on the floor. The Thunder also take the second highest frequency of attempts at the rim in the league (37.7%), and the Nets have allowed the sixth most rim attempts with this new roster (35.3%).

It is not a perfect match up for Oklahoma City though. Brooklyn has cranked up the volume of 3-point attempts with this new group. In the 13 games they have played together the Nets are taking 41.2% of their shots from beyond the arc and shooting 36.3% on those shots. That’s a solid percentage at such a high volume, and the Thunder will allow them to take those shots as they rank 23rd in opponent frequency of 3-point attempts. Oklahoma City also ranks 22nd in wide-open 3-point attempts allowed per game (17.4) which is something Brooklyn can take advantage of.

It’s no secret that the Thunder want to play with pace as well, and the Nets will have no issue being sped up. In games against Milwaukee and Atlanta it was clear Brooklyn was willing to play to its opponents’ pace, and those three games went well over 100 possessions. We should get a similar pace tonight between two teams that can exploit each other’s defensive weaknesses.

Bet: OVER 231.5

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans (-1.5, 225.5)

Since inserting Jarred Vanderbilt into the starting lineup the Los Angeles Lakers have allowed 108.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. That is the third best defensive rating in the NBA over that span, and that is a great strength to have against an abysmal offensive opponent like the New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans might have broken out for 1.44 points per possession against Portland on Sunday, but that performance was an extreme aberration for this team. In the 31 games since losing Zion Williamson the Pelicans have averaged 112.0 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. They rank 24th in halfcourt offensive efficiency in that time (94.7), and in the 10 games prior to the win over the Trail Blazers they had averaged just 109.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time.

In reading the market it would not be surprising to see this number flip and close with Los Angeles as a 1.5-point favorite, so the play here will be on the road team which is 7-3 SU and ATS in its last 10 games.

Bet: Lakers (+1)

Best Bet Recap

Nets/Thunder OVER (231.5)
Lakers (+1)

NBA Games & Odds

Cleveland Cavaliers (-7.5, 221.5) at Charlotte Hornets

This is the second game of a two-game set at Charlotte between these two teams. It took a 33-19 fourth quarter comeback from Cleveland in the first meeting to grab a win, and its defense seemed to miss Jarrett Allen who missed the game and will not play today. These situations are always fascinating, because the market has made a sizeable adjustment on the side from Sunday. In that game the Cavaliers closed as 10-point favorites, and today we see this open at 7.5 and it has yet to budge. Kelly Oubre is expected to play, as he did not in the first game, but Oubre is not worth a 2.5-point adjustment to Charlotte’s power rating.

*Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards (-11, 224.5)

Detroit had an incredible outburst against Indiana on Monday, but it’s in a much tougher spot here against Washington on no rest. However, that does not mean rushing in to bet what seems to be a very bloated number for the Wizards. Kyle Kuzma is questionable to play, and he is a very important piece which improves Washington’s net rating by 7.1 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor. The Wizards, already a poor defensive team, have not been playing their best defensive basketball lately either, allowing 120.2 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time since the beginning of February. Washington might be capable of covering this number, but given their defensive play over the last month it is likely a better number will be available in-game.

Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors (-1, 229)

When these two teams met in Denver last week Toronto was a 6.5-point underdog in a game that would eventually come down to Scott Foster ejecting Scottie Barnes on a pivotal possession. That number should translate to about PK back here on the Raptors’ homecourt, but the questionable status of Jamal Murray has the market shading this to Toronto’s side. This is not a back-to-back situation for the Nuggets, so Murray’s presence on the report would lead me to believe he is likely missing this game tonight. Should he miss it this number likely closes at -2 or -2.5 in favor of Toronto, but if he plays it is likely Denver goes off as the favorite. In other words, it would benefit anyone to confirm Murray’s status before jumping in. It is worth noting that with Murray on the floor the Nuggets’ turnover rate drops by 1.8% which is important against a Raptors team that thrives on forcing turnovers and scoring off those in transition. 

Orlando Magic (-5.5, 234) at San Antonio Spurs

For the rest of the season I will stress to anyone reading this column that it is wise to be wary of blindly fading these “tanking” teams in the NBA. San Antonio is 3-3 SU and ATS in its last six games which would mean those who are playing against them each day are down. Two of those losses came to another “tanking” team in Houston, so against the last four non-tanking opponents, if you will, the Spurs are 3-1 SU and ATS. Orlando is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games and clearly overvalued by the betting market, so this is not one road favorite I would run to back.

*Milwaukee Bucks (-1, 233) at *Phoenix Suns

This is the second leg of a back-to-back for both teams, so the injury report is going to be the key to handicapping this contest. Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed time recently with hand soreness, so he is the most obvious candidate to miss this game. It is certainly possible Milwaukee feels comfortable in doing so given their now 2.5 game lead over Boston for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. There is also a chance Devin Booker sits out tonight as well. Phoenix has only had one back-to-back on its schedule since Booker returned from injury, and he sat out the front end of that game. The game last night against Golden State held more weight when it comes to playoff seeding, so it would not be surprising to see him sit against an Eastern Conference opponent.

New York Knicks (-1, 230) at Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard and Jerami Grant are both questionable for Portland, and that makes this game untouchable until there is clarity on both their status. There is something to keep in mind though. Usually the market takes a middle ground when it comes to injuries to key players. If Lillard and Grant both ends up playing this line will likely swing about four points to Portland -1.5 or so. Jalen Brunson is not going to play tonight, but is New York without Brunson only 1.5 points better than Portland at full strength? That will be something to watch as we wait for injury news.