Moore’s Wednesday NBA Angles: How to Bet Clippers vs. Jazz, Bucks vs. Celtics
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell
- The Clippers will host the Jazz Wednesday night at the Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET).
- Matt Moore analyzes the matchup, including a play on both the spread and total.
Here are two betting angles built on matchups and trends for a huge Wednesday slate …
THE ANGLE: The Multiverse Of Paths To the Over In Boston
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Alright, so this thing is in Boston, which rules out the bet I want: Bucks over 112.5.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks’ team total over is the play. The Celtics have the No. 9 defense in the league so far, but that’s vs. Philadelphia (still figuring out its offense), Toronto, and the Knicks. I’m not convinced they can hang with the elite teams defensively, not yet.
But in Boston, weird things happen, and I don’t want to get hung on one of those nights where Milwaukee can’t hit water if it falls out of a boat.
The total, however, is only 223.
The Bucks were the league’s best defense last season. They are off to a slow start, 14th so far early in this year’s campaign. They’re playing at the second-highest pace this season, flying up and down the court. They’re also back to last year’s tricks, in that they’re allowing the third-most 3-pointers per 100 possessions in the league.
Boston, meanwhile, is No. 7 in both attempts and percentage from 3-point range this season.
So our possible paths to the over:
- Milwaukee overwhelms the Celtics with its length, athleticism, and shooting, and puts up a 120-ish number while Boston hits enough 3-pointers to carry.
- Boston gets stops on a Bucks team that goes cold, and takes advantage. Boston generates the third-best shot quality in terms of expected points per possession off an opponent miss, per PBPStats.
- Milwaukee gets stops and gets out and runs. Boston’s opponent expected eFG off missed shots is 13th highest. So if you miss, they get good shots and if they miss, you get good shots. Increases the odds of this being lopsided either way.
- Both teams generate points off turnovers; Boston is No. 1 in live-ball turnovers per 100 possessions, Milwaukee is No. 8. That’s important because those are breakaway scores. The Bucks are giving up 16 points off turnovers per game, top-10 in the league. Boston’s near the bottom, but that’s more a product of who they’ve played. Milwaukee’s big advantage is their ability to brush past defenders.
Boston’s also 11th in free throw rate this season, Both teams will try and go at one another. Both games in Boston last season saw the over hit.
There are paths to the under here, to be sure. These two teams can play great defense and these two teams can hit shooting slumps. But there’s a reason 97 percent of the early money is on the over as of this writing.
THE PLAY: Over 223, and take a solid look at Celtics over 110.5. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
THE ANGLE: Jazz Is Math Is Jazz
10 p.m. ET, ESPN
I can put together an argument for you to take the Clippers as 1.5-point dogs. They have three blowout wins by double-digits. Kawhi Leonard is considered the league’s best player.
They’ll likely run drop coverage in pick and roll using Ivica Zubac to contain Rudy Gobert on the pick and roll while Leonard, Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet take turns wrangling Donovan Mitchell, neutering the offense.
However… I have about a zillion numbers for you to ride with Utah.
First off, 538’s RAPTOR rating makes this Jazz -5.5. Their ELO system has it Jazz -5.
Utah has the second-lowest opponent expected eFG% in the league. The Clippers, meanwhile, have the highest eFG% in the league at 61.2%… against an expected eFG% of 52%. Now, some of that is because Kawhi is a warlock who makes an absolutely nutso rate of tough shots to the point of surreality. But some of it? Some of it is higher than a reasonable performance that’s due for regression.
Utah’s defense is best in the league so far, allowing just 92 points per 100 possessions. The Clippers are 24th in that category.
The Clippers are giving up the second-most catch-and-shoot shots per game per Synergy Sports, with a 61.2% TrueShooting mark.
One of the worst Clippers offensive performances last season was in Utah. To be sure, this is not that team; they are much better.
The reason I bring it up is that Lou Williams shot 5-of-18 in Utah, and 5-of-17 in one of their other matchups. (He did shoot 11-of-18 in the third game between the two teams.)
The Lou Williams-Montrezl Harrell that are the backbone of the Clippers bench unit had a +4.4 net rating last year. Against Utah, they were a -4.3.
Finally, follow the money. Per Sports Insights, this is the most bet game Tuesday night, despite it being the late game. As of this writing, 69% of the tickets are on the Clippers, which makes sense, the Clippers have looked awesome outside of their loss to the Suns.
But only 47% of the money is on the Clippers. Since 2005, road dogs getting 60% or better of the tickets but less than 50% of the money are 17-26 (39%) ATS.
The sharps pounced on the line (-1) out of the box, moving it to -1.5 even as the public piled on the Clippers.
There are just too many data points leaning Utah.
THE PLAY: Utah -1.5 with a slight lean towards the under 215. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Note: After this article was published, the Clippers ruled Kawhi Leonard out, moving the line up to Jazz -4.5/-5.