NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 10/19


Welcome to the daily NBA betting market report, 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 the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA Odds page.


Be sure to check out our Betting Splits page as well, with the breakdown of odds on every game from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Daily Recap

The opening night of the regular season was a fine one. In the early game Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown flexed their muscles, combining for 70 points on 27-of-44 shooting from the floor. Boston put up 1.326 points per possession and outscored Philadelphia by 13 points in Joel Embiid’s minutes, something that cannot happen for the 76ers. It’s clear that Boston is going to be exactly what we all thought they were going to be, and if there’s a positive for Philadelphia it’s that James Harden – who scored 35 points on 9-of-14 shooting – looks like his old self.



Meanwhile, the defending champion Golden State Warriors steamrolled Los Angeles in the third quarter on its way to a 123-109 victory. Reigning champs are now 9-2 SU/7-4 ATS over the last 11 years on opening night, so don’t let anyone tell you that getting a ring is “distracting”. 

Favorites swept the evening away on Tuesday and both games sailed over the total, but in much different ways. Boston and Philadelphia put forth a slow-paced effort (95 possessions) with high efficiency, while Golden State and Los Angeles played an inefficient track meet that had 111 possessions. 

Market Report for Wednesday, October 19th

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

Best Bets

Record: 0-0
Units: 0.0

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat (-6, 217)

It is my belief that Chicago is going to tumble down the standings this season, and tonight I am going to test that theory. Lonzo Ball is already sidelined with a knee injury and Zach LaVine is questionable as he works his way back from an offseason knee procedure. The Bulls are going to start Ayo Dosunmu at point guard in Ball’s stead which won’t help this team on defense. With Dosunmu at point guard last season Chicago was outscored by 6.9 points per 100 possessions and they posted a 122.0 defensive rating. This team is going to struggle on defense, and if LaVine cannot go they will not have the offense to keep up with opponents. Miami is worse than they were last season, but this play is about how poor Chicago is going to be. The best number on the board is -6.5 and -7 is starting to populate the board, so I will lay it before it climbs even further.

Play: Heat (-6.5)

New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies (-6.5, 226.5)

The market has not really accounted for the personnel losses Memphis experienced in the offseason, and now this team is dealing with injuries to start the season. Dillon Brooks is doubtful with a thigh injury, and both Danny Green and Ziaire Williams are already listed as out. The betting market has adjusted this number to -5.5 in favor of the Grizzlies, but it might not be enough considering how deep the Knicks are this season. Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Isaiah Hartenstein are a great core off the bench for Tom Thibodeau and once Ja Morant leaves the floor in this game Memphis could struggle to find consistent offense. I’ll take the points with the underdog here and play on my thought that the market is not accounting for how much worse the Grizzlies are this season.

Play: Knicks (%plussign% 5.5)

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors (-3.5, 214.5)

These early plays in the season are obviously influenced by my prior evaluations of these teams, and that leads me to look at Toronto here. Outside of Evan Mobley, the Cavaliers lack the wing size to matchup with what the Raptors are going to put on the floor Wednesday night. Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell are still poor defenders, and while Mobley can switch onto many perimeter threats Cleveland still has to execute on the other end of that switch, something I believe they will not be able to do. Toronto has multiple defensive options for Mitchell and they should still be able to run their transition-heavy style of offense. This number coming down to -2.5 would indicate that the Raptors are just about a point better than the Cavaliers, which is not what I believe to be the case.

Play: Raptors (-2.5)

Best Games

New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets (-4, 230)

This is arguably the best game on the board Wednesday. Both teams project to be among the league leaders in offensive efficiency with questions as to how well they can defend, and it will surprise none to find that this total is the highest on the board. New Orleans has a solid size advantage here which they will likely take advantage of. Their most used lineup with CJ McCollum at point guard had an offensive rebounding rate of 34.6% and their 36.3 points per miss in that lineup ranked in the 97th percentile of qualified lineups. That figures to be a problem for Brooklyn which allowed the highest offensive rebounding rate in the league last season. Seth Curry and Joe Harris will not play tonight either, which puts the Nets in a tough position when it comes to shooting. Circa budged off the -3 and went to -2.5 and I would agree with that movement. The Pelicans should be able to win the rebounding battle, operate its offense and its slightly healthier. 

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-4.5, 216.5)

In terms of narrative this game is going to be incredible. Dallas returns to the scene of the crime where it murdered Phoenix in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, and the market has adjusted its perception of the Mavericks since then. Remember, that game closed Suns -7 but here we are running it back with essentially the same teams and this line is -4.5 consensus. One could certainly point to homecourt in the postseason being worth much more, and that perhaps Phoenix should not be rated as highly as they were considering they lost the series, both valid arguments. The thing that bothers me here is that Dallas is clearly a worse team than it was in that game. Jalen Brunson is gone, and there some injuries the Mavericks are already dealing with. Davis Bertans and Frank Ntilikina are both out, and Maxi Kleber is questionable with a non-COVID illness. The Suns don’t have Landry Shamet tonight, but this charged home opener paired with a perceived market discount against a worse team has me heavily leaning toward Phoenix.

The Rest

Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings (-1.5, 225)

The betting market is coming in on Sacramento today. The Over on Sacramento’s win total was one of the more popular bets by sharp bettors in the offseason and they figure to be supported by the market early in the season. Portland is also going to be without Gary Payton II and Trendon Watford, two players who figured to play prominent roles off their bench this season. The Kings are now -2.5 and the total has been bet up to 229 which should not come as a surprise as both teams project to be among the worst defensive teams in the league.

Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks (-9.5, 233)

Houston ended the last regular season 8-4-1 ATS and in the process both Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. showed real growth. It would make sense that the Rockets would be a popular bet to start the season, but this line has sat at the open with brief flashes to -9.5 before getting bet back to the open. Bogdan Bogdanovic is not going to play for Atlanta tonight, and Houston is going to be without Jae’Sean Tate and rookie guard TyTy Washington. Obviously the Bogdanovic injury is more impactful for a team that had some questions about its bench depth.

Washington Wizards (-2.5, 227.5) at Indiana Pacers

Washington is a somewhat fascinating team. They have a roster littered with quality role players that could play impactful minutes on any NBA team but constructing a starting five from those players gives this team a limited ceiling. The betting market is not buying in, as this number is on the verge of reaching PK at multiple shops. Indiana has a great young core of players in its backcourt, and with Buddy Hield and Myles Turner still on the team this might be an undervalued team as we enter the regular season. 

Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons (-4.5, 217.5)

Alec Burks, Isaiah Livers and Marvin Bagley III are all out for Detroit tonight and that is likely why we’ve seen this number drop from -4.5 to -3 which is the consensus line as of this morning. Orlando has four players listed as out, but three of those – Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris and Jonathan Isaac – were expected to miss this game for a while. The losses for the Magic are not as impactful as the three role players not being available for Detroit are.

Charlotte Hornets (-3.5, 231) at San Antonio Spurs

The betting market is very down on Charlotte as the season begins, and I cannot blame anyone who believes that line of thinking. LaMelo Ball will not play tonight, but it is pretty wild to see this line flip to San Antonio -1 which is the number at respected shop like Circa. Charlotte is due for a very poor year by my measure, but to say they should be underdogs here is a stretch. This is worth monitoring throughout the day, but if it gets to -2 in favor of the Spurs the Hornets are going to be an added play tonight. The total is also one of the big moves on the board today, as it is down 8.5 points at some shops.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves (-11.5, 230.5)

Oklahoma City was the second-best cover team in the NBA last season, so it’s not shocking to see the market snatch up 11.5 points with them here. Minnesota’s possessions in the preseason with Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns were minimal, so there is likely going to be some growing pains in live action. This total is down 4.5 points as well which makes sense given how good the Timberwolves project to be defensively this season.

Denver Nuggets (-8.5, 218.5) at Utah Jazz

This is a line move which honestly surprises me. We’re down to Denver -7 at many shops on the screen, and while I can get behind the Jazz not being as bad as the market says it is, this line getting bet down 1.5 points is not something I saw coming against a team that has the potential to decimate Utah like Denver can. I do want to see how Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. look on the court before backing the Nuggets consistently, and this line move could be playing against the thought that Denver will hit the ground running with so many new faces.

Best Bet Recap

Heat (-6.5)
Knicks (%plussign% 5.5)
Raptors (-2.5)