NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Game: How Clippers Match Up with Nuggets
Dec 16, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) controls the ball around Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
That is the LAST time I bet on SC Upstate basketball … the last time, I tell ya. Maybe I’ll stick to NBA tonight. Gee, how could I not with this groovy group of writers?
(I was going to replace the 3×3 Brady Bunch picture with pictures of our NBA guys, but realized I don’t have the artistic ability, don’t have pictures of everybody, and there aren’t enough of us.)
Anywho, get to reading, place those bets, and lock those lineups. What more can I say? — Mark Gallant
All info as of Tuesday afternoon. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
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The Main Events
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (-1) AT MIAMI HEAT | O/U: 205.5
7:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: This one is a pretty big deal. A win by the Sixers puts them up three games in the loss column and secures tiebreaker advantage over Miami for seeding.
The Heat are discovering that Hassan Whiteside just isn’t playable in a lot of situations. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him this year, but the numbers, especially in the fourth quarter, are ugly. Whiteside has a -30 net rating in the fourth quarter in February, playing just 5.8 minutes per fourth. Bam Abadayo is clearly the future, and when Kelly Olynyk returns from his shoulder injury, Whiteside will see an even further reduction.
Can Abadayo fare better vs. Joel Embiid? That’s a crucial question Tuesday. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: Philly has taken both of the first two matchups, which were low-scoring, defensive affairs. That matches up with how they’ve been all year: Both teams rank in the top-seven in defensive efficiency and have talented defenders both down low and on the perimeter. One thing I’m looking for is the rebounding advantage: The 76ers rank fourth in offensive rebound rate, while the Heat rank sixth in defensive rebound rate. In their most recent game just a couple weeks ago, Philly crushed the offensive glass, grabbing 46.6 percent of its misses, which is in the 99th percentile of all games this year. And the 76ers didn’t even have Embiid that game. If Miami can’t clean up Philly’s misses, they won’t be able to get this one at home. — Bryan Mears
DFS spin: Embiid has been a fantasy monster for most of the season, and he’s really elevated his game over the past month. He’s averaged 1.59 fantasy points per minute over that time frame on DraftKings, where he currently has a Bargain Rating of 95 percent. That said, he does have a difficult matchup vs. Whiteside, who has graded out as the second-best defensive center in the league, per Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Still, he has one of the highest projected ceilings within the FantasyLabs NBA Models. — Matt LaMarca
WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (-2.5) | O/U: 211.5
8 p.m. ET | TNT
What the metrics say: This is another game that’s important for Eastern Conference playoff seeding, as the Wizards currently sit in the fourth spot just 1.5 games above the Bucks. This game could come down to half court vs. transition offense. In their most recent matchup, both teams were atrocious in the half court, generating fewer than 75.0 points per 100 possessions, which ranks in the bottom-six percentile of all games this season.
On the flip side, Milwaukee and Washington generated 11.2 and 7.1 points, respectively, in transition; both rank in the top-20 percentile of games. Both teams rank in the top-10 in net rating over the past 10 games, so they catch each other playing well. The main players on both sides went 40-ish minutes in their recent affair, so they know the stakes in this one. I’m expecting Tuesday’s game to come down to the wire. — Bryan Mears
What I’m watching for: The Bucks have given up the eighth-fewest possessions on plays off screens. Opponents have scored well in those situations, but Milwaukee does a good job limiting them. That’s a strength for the Wizards, especially with an increased role for Otto Porter with John Wall out.
Keep an eye on how Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Giannis Antetokounmpo do in getting over screens to contain those looks.— Matt Moore
DFS spin: Jabari Parker played 24 minutes in his last game and will likely be in line for a similar workload today. That kind of playing time makes him intriguing at his current salary across the industry given his average of 0.97 fantasy points per minute since returning from injury. He also has a solid matchup vs. the Wizards, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.04 on DraftKings. — Matt LaMarca
Trend No. 1 to know: The Wizards have played well this season without Wall, but “well” is different than “better.” Washington is 14-9 straight-up and 15-8 ATS without Wall this season, but, across the board, the Wizards are a better team with Wall on the floor. Here’s the list of categories in which Wall improves the team when he’s playing:
- Offensive Rating, Defensive Rating and Net Rating
- FG%, 3PT% and eFG%
- Points off turnovers, second-chance points, fast-break points and points in the paint — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: Joe Prunty took over as head coach of the Bucks on January 22. Since that date, Milwaukee owns the fifth-best Net Rating and third-best Defensive Rating in the league. However, that hasn’t correlated to ATS wins: Three of their eight wins when listed as the favorite came short of the spread. Overall, the Bucks are now 10-4 SU and 7-7 ATS under Prunty. — Evan Abrams
LA CLIPPERS AT DENVER NUGGETS (-5) | O/U: 229
10:30 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: This is a monster game. A loss for the Nuggets knocks them to the ninth seed, one game back in the loss column, and renders all the good work they’ve done in securing wins vs. teams like San Antonio and Golden State moot as they’ll be chasing again. It also clinches the tiebreaker for the Clippers, effectively putting the Nuggets two games back in the loss column.
The Nuggets’ Achilles’ heel is turnovers, but the Clippers are 30th in the league in points per possession off steals per Cleaning The Glass. — Matt Moore
Betting Market: The Nuggets are commanding a ton of action, from both public and sharp bettors. With nearly 75% of bets and a whopping 90% of dollars, they’ve gone from -3.5 to -5 since opening. This was kickstarted this morning when the sharp offshore book ABC steamed Denver at 7 a.m. ET. — Mark Gallant
DFS spin: What has happened to the Nuggets defense? They’ve posted a Defensive Rating of 118.6 during February, which could spell good things for the Clippers on today’s slate. They’re going to be without both Avery Bradley and Danilo Gallinari, which increases the appeal of Austin Rivers, Lou Williams, Tyrone Wallace, and Tobias Harris. Harris, in particular, is intriguing: He’s dominated in limited playing time with Bradley and Gallo off the court this season, averaging 1.36 fantasy points per minute. — Matt LaMarca
What the metrics say: These teams have played just once this season, and that was when Blake Griffin was still an LA resident. As such, I’m not putting a lot of stock into how that one went down (which was a five-point victory for the home Clippers). The angle I’m looking at tonight is the rebounding edge. The Nuggets rank second this season on the offensive glass, and the Clips rank 27th in defensive rebounding despite having a rebounding stud in DeAndre Jordan. The Nuggets’ most-used lineup over the past 10 games — a combination of Jamal Murray-Gary Harris-Will Barton-Wilson Chandler-Nikola Jokic — has been outstanding on the offensive glass, posting a 27.7 percent mark, which would be barely behind the Thunder’s league-best mark of 28.0 percent. If the Clips give Jokic & Co. extra opportunities, that could come back to bite them, and that’s especially true if Paul Millsap comes back. He’s officially questionable to play after undergoing wrist surgery in November. His return could spark a Denver run toward the playoffs. — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: As head coach of the Celtics and Clippers, Doc Rivers is 4-12 ATS on the road in Denver — his second-least profitable opponent during that span. On the flip side, Rivers and the Clippers are 19-11 ATS on the road this season — the third-most profitable team away from home. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: The Clippers haven’t played since Friday night in Phoenix, which puts them on four days rest. Over the past four seasons, Rivers and the Clips have excelled on extra rest, going 13-4-1 ATS (76.5%), including the postseason. — Evan Abrams
Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate
CHICAGO BULLS AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS (-10.5) | O/U: 217.5
7 p.m. ET
Trend to know: The Hornets have won four consecutive games SU and three consecutive games ATS. Under coach Steve Clifford, the Hornets are 9-17 ATS when playing on at least a three-game SU and ATS winning streak, including 3-13 ATS in their past 16 in this spot. — Evan Abrams
DFS spin: The Bulls will be without Paul Zipser again on today’s slate, which should solidify Denzel Valentine’s role. He’s played at least 28 minutes in back-to-back games and has averaged 0.96 fantasy points per minute over the past month. He should be one of the most popular value plays on the slate. — Matt LaMarca
BROOKLYN NETS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-10.5) | O/U: 221
7 p.m. ET
Trend to know: Between 2006 and 2016, teams with an ATS win percentage below 40% have gone 52-48 ATS (52%) when favored by double digits. This season, teams in that spot are 4-19-2 ATS (17.4%), including the Cavs, who are 0-11 ATS. Dating back to last season and including the playoffs, Cleveland has failed to cover its past 15 games as double-digit favorites. — Evan Abrams
Wake up! Please read the above great analysis and ask yourself why in God’s name the public, uninformed as it may be, keeps trusting Cleveland? Stop punching yourself, public! — Matt Moore
DFS spin: It’s hard to discount the safety of LeBron today. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in seven straight games since the Isaiah Thomas trade and has an outstanding matchup vs. the Nets. He should be a building block of cash teams. — Matt LaMarca
Betting Market: The Nets have gone from +12 to +10.5 thanks to sharp action, which Mark Gallant detailed in this article.
SACRAMENTO KINGS AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (-11.5) | O/U: 209.5
10 p.m. ET
Trend to know: When the Blazers are above .500 and playing at home under Terry Stotts, Portland is 52-68-4 ATS (43.3%). That dips down to 14-25-2 ATS (35.9%) when they’re facing a team with a win percentage of .400 or lower, which Sacramento is. — Evan Abrams
DFS spin: Buddy Hield has seen a nice bump in playing time recently, which could make him a fantasy factor down the stretch. He’s averaged 0.98 fantasy points per minute over the past month and has played at least 27.5 minutes in three straight games. — Matt LaMarca
Top photo: Bradley Beal; credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports