NBA Betting, DFS Guide: Raptors-Cavs, Thunder-Warriors, More
It’s been a long 48 NBA-less hours. Why the H did the scheduling bigwigs have to do that to us? Something tells me it had to do with that other basketball game yesterday, but I can’t be certain.
We’re back with another big slate, though, highlighted by a few potential playoff matchups. Let’s get back to the grind. — Mark Gallant
All info as of Tuesday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
If there’s a specific matchup you want to jump to, click the quick links below. For live spreads and bet percentages, check out this page. Follow the latest injury info on our industry-leading news feed. To get access to our premium betting tools, subscribe here.
TORONTO RAPTORS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-1) | O/U: 222
7 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Hey, no pressure, the Raptors are just melting down and lost to the Cavs last time out, and the overwhelming narrative right now is “PLAYOFF RAPTORS ARE BACK LOL.” And they’re trying to fend off Boston for the 1-seed. It’s shocking that the No. 1 seed in the East could need a win this badly on April 3rd, but here we are.
Much of this is going to come down to what lineups the Cavaliers run out. The Raptors are the one team for which Kevin Love at the 5 is just going to ruin worlds. It puts Jonas Valanciunas, who has had an excellent season, into positions such as this one:
A Larry Nance-Love combination actually might be easier for the Raptors to guard. Then again, that pair is a plus-20 per 100 possessions in the four games it has played together this season over 64 minutes. The combo covers for both of those players’ individual weaknesses while empowering their offensive potential.
Love’s a big weapon here, regardless. Serge Ibaka is still an impactful defender, but he freelances way too often, which will get him burned to a crisp with the way LeBron James lulls the defense in like moths to a flame and then incinerates it with his passing.
For the Cavaliers, it’s about close-outs. It’s always about close-outs. The Celtics beat Toronto last Saturday because they made great off-ball rotations and managed to get a lot of misses from good shooters such as C.J. Miles. The Cavaliers can win a shootout. But if Toronto brings its A-game defensively, the Cavs can’t just hope they can outgun Toronto. Well, I mean, they can, but covering becomes a much bigger concern.
One more thing: LeBron very rarely commits himself fully to games in this situation. These two teams are going to see each other at some point in the playoffs (most likely), and, while the Cavaliers have zero fear about Toronto, they’re still not going to tip their hand. We expect to see James assert himself and make a statement, but that’s not how he’s approached a lot of these late-season contests. — Matt Moore
Trend No. 1 to know: When the league’s best teams (win rate of 60% or higher) meet in April, the betting favorite is 91-68 (57%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: James started his career 0-2 SU at home against the Raptors. Since then, his teams are 27-1 SU at home (including the playoffs) against Toronto, including 7-2 ATS over the past three seasons. — Evan Abrams
WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT HOUSTON ROCKETS (-7.5) | O/U: 213.5
8 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: So, uh, I don’t want to cause a thing here … but this is James Harden’s 3-point performance since the All-Star Break:
That’s concerning. Now, if that comes back to life, the Rockets will fire back up in a big way. It should be noted that during this stretch the Rockets are still 12-7-1 ATS, which is better than their season-long mark. So Houston’s playing better, but Harden is really struggling from deep.
In related news, the under in Rox games is 14-6 since the All-Star Break. — Matt Moore
Trend No. 1 to know: Chris Paul is currently questionable Tuesday with a sore left leg. In their careers, CP3 is 10-3 SU in 13 meetings against John Wall, averaging more points, assists and steals per game with a better field-goal rate, too. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: Over the past decade, teams with an Offensive Rating above 110 who shoot less than 40% from the field in their previous game are just 55-81 ATS (40.4%) in their next contest. Over the past two seasons, those teams are 23-37 ATS (38.3%). — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 3 to know: After clinching the best record in the Western Conference, Houston might begin resting its stars, which could be a problem for bettors. In games in which Harden and Paul are on the court, Houston is 48-5 straight-up and 30-21-2 ATS. When one or both stars are out, the Rockets are 14-10 SU and 10-14 ATS. — John Ewing
BOSTON CELTICS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (-1.5) | O/U: 205.5
8 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: The Celtics have an incredible ability to take situations where they should fail and turn them into successes. The Bucks have an incredible ability to turn situations where they should succeed and turn them into failures.
My analysis for this particular contest doesn’t go much further than that observation. Well, one more thing: Jabari Parker has been lights out on offense lately. His battle against Jayson Tatum is going to decide a lot, because Boston’s going to make this a slugfest. Turnovers are a problem for Milwaukee, and the Celtics punish opponents who make mistakes. — Matt Moore
Trend No. 1 to know: Boston beat Toronto, 110-99, on Saturday. Over the past five years, teams that won their previous game by 10 or more points against an elite opponent (win rate of 70% or higher) have gone 123-95-3 (56%) ATS in their next matchup in the same scenario. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: The Celtics are 12-7 SU and 16-3 ATS when listed as an underdog this season. Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics are 53-38-1 ATS (58.2%) as an underdog against the Eastern Conference. — Evan Abrams
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (-4.5) | O/U: 220.5
8 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: Oklahoma City has had the Warriors’ number this season, and without Stephen Curry this feels a little obvious. But the Thunder as a 4-point favorite just seems way too high. They aren’t the same without Andre Roberson, and their play has been downright ragged the last month or so. The Warriors are exhausted and shorthanded, but they do have Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and they will want this game.
Bear in mind this is a national TV game, so the Warriors won’t rest players due to the league’s new restrictions. — Matt Moore
Betting market: Spread bets are relatively split in this game, as the sides are within a few percentage points of 50/50. However, a steam move at Pinnacle on the Thunder has the line moving heavily in their favor. After opening at -2 at some shops, their line is -4.5 across the market. — Mark Gallant
Trend No. 1 to know: This is the eighth time the Warriors and Thunder have played since Durant switched sides. Golden State is 5-2 straight-up and against-the-spread since adding KD. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: Since drafting Curry, the Warriors have faced the Thunder in 38 total games, including the playoffs. Both teams are deadlocked at 19 SU wins a piece, with the Warriors holding a slight ATS edge, 20-17-1. Tonight’s matchup against the Thunder will be the Warriors’ first without Curry since they drafted him in 2009. — Evan Abrams
Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate
BROOKLYN NETS AT PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (-8) | O/U: 225
7 p.m. ET
Trend No. 1 to know: The Sixers continue to roll. They’ve won 10 in a row SU and eight straight ATS, including the past two games without Joel Embiid. Historically, this isn’t a great spot for Philly, however: Over the past decade, teams that covered the spread in their last game while shooting above 50% from the field and above 40% from 3 have covered just 44.3% of the time when they face an opponent with a win rate below 33% in their next game. Over the past three seasons, these teams are just 44-62-1 ATS (41.5%), failing to cover the spread by more than two PPG. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: All great points by Evan. However… Brooklyn is an ATS KILLER. The Killer B’s! Look at this trend: The Nets are 22-6 ATS as a dog of seven points or more this season.
Also, this isn’t good: Without Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers are 5-8 straight-up and 4-8-1 ATS this season. — John Ewing
ATLANTA HAWKS AT MIAMI HEAT (-11.5) | O/U: 207.5
7:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to remember a single thing about this Hawks season. It may be the most nondescript season in NBA history. In unrelated news, Hassan Whiteside openly scoffed at his coach Erik Spoelstra in the media for not playing him late in Saturday’s 110-109 OT loss to the Nets. I’m sure that will earn him a longer leash. (Narrator: It did NOT earn him a longer leash.) — Matt Moore
Trend No. 1 to know: The Hawks are 7-13-1 ATS this season after a straight-up win, failing to cover the spread by 3.5 PPG. That record includes a 4-12 ATS mark after a straight-up win vs. the Eastern Conference, failing to cover seven of their past eight. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: Double-digit favorites against bad conference teams (win rate of 30% or worse) have gone 249-309-12 (45%) ATS from October to March, but in April they’ve gone 69-58-2 (54%) ATS. — John Ewing
ORLANDO MAGIC AT NEW YORK KNICKS (-1.5) | O/U: 209
7:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: /shakes carton
/checks expiration date
/throws game in trash — Matt Moore
Trend to know: Since Dec. 1st, the Magic have won two road games outside the state of Florida (2-22 SU) — at the Celtics in January and at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3rd. — Evan Abrams
CHARLOTTE HORNETS (-4.5) AT CHICAGO BULLS | O/U: 215.5
8 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: The Bulls shut down Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn for the season, and, somehow, this actually hurts their tanking exploits based on plus-minus data. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: Under Fred Hoiberg, the Bulls are 23-10 ATS (69.7%) when they are on at least a two-game SU and ATS winning streak. Chicago is the second-most profitable team in the NBA under Hoiberg in this spot, with the Bulls an astounding 10-0 ATS this season, covering the spread by 9.7 PPG. — Evan Abrams
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (-8.5) AT DALLAS MAVERICKS | O/U: 208
8:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Portland can clinch home court in the first round with a win and a Utah loss to the Lakers. — Matt Moore
Trend No. 1 to know: Road favorites in April against an opponent with a win rate of 40% or worse have gone 181-121-6 (60%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: Since Feb. 1st, the Blazers are 12-3-2 ATS (80%) against the Western Conference, covering the spread by four PPG. Portland is the most-profitable team in the NBA against the West over that span. — Evan Abrams
INDIANA PACERS AT DENVER NUGGETS (-3) | O/U: 212.5
9 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Victor Oladipo is going to go crazy with how loose the Nuggets are with the ball and how bad their transition defense is. They just pad wing players’ stats with easy run-outs. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: Since 2005, the Nuggets are 18-10 ATS (64.3%) at home when facing an opponent on at least a five-game SU winning streak — the fourth-most profitable team in the NBA over that span. — Evan Abrams
LOS ANGELES LAKERS AT UTAH JAZZ (-11) | O/U: 209.5
9 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: The Lakers play most of the important playoff teams down the stretch, but without Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, their chances of playing spoiler are slim. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: As double-digit home favorites, the Jazz are 2-6 ATS this season and 7-16-1 ATS (30.4%) over the past four seasons — the second-least profitable team in the NBA. — Evan Abrams
SACRAMENTO KINGS (-1) AT PHOENIX SUNS | O/U: 210
10 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Bogdan Bogdanovic is worth watching this Suns-Kings game for. For me to say that, you have to understand how good Bog is. It takes a lot to get there. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: The Suns have lost 15 consecutive games SU, went winless in the month of March and are 1-25 SU since Feb. 1st. Over that same span, Phoenix is 10-16 ATS but 2-0 ATS when listed as an underdog of fewer than five points (the Suns were never a favorite during the streak). — Evan Abrams
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (-1.5) AT LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS | O/U: 207
10:30 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: Milos Teodosic vs. Manu Ginobili at this point in their lives is like something out of a Wes Anderson film. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: San Antonio has historically been a bad bet as a small road favorite (three or fewer points), going 34-52-1 (40%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing
Photo credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports