Friday NBA Predictions, Picks & Betting Odds (Nov. 22): How to Bet Warriors-Jazz, More
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27).
This NBA season, I’m trying something new. I’m going to write a daily piece that highlights everything bettors and DFS players need to know for that night’s slate. For more on what to expect, read the inaugural piece.
Yesterday I finished 1-3 for -1.97 units. While I don’t want to get sucked into the past, I think it’s worth reviewing things each day.
The best way to do that is to look at closing line value (CLV), which is just measuring whether the line you bet moved for or against you by closing.
- I bet Bucks (1Q) -4 and it closed at Bucks -4.5 (won)
- I bet Bucks -12/-13.5 and it closed at Bucks -14 (lost)
- I bet Blazers-Bucks under 230.5 and it closed at 228.5 (lost)
Whether it was the travel or laziness, the Bucks weren’t able to close out the injured Blazers, allowing a huge second half. I wasn’t tilted or anything by it:
The Bucks allowed 71 points in the second half to this “roster” pic.twitter.com/WsAuOpU6O8
— Bryan Mears (@bryan_mears) November 22, 2019
It was a rough day, and I’m admittedly torn on how to feel about it. On one hand, positive CLV is a good thing. On the other hand, not all CLV is created equally.
Take the Bucks spread, for example: The line moved up at a consensus -12 opener to -14 at game time. But sometimes the spread is moved by steam moves, which indicate sharp money; other times it’s just the public pounding a side.
The latter was the case with that spread. There were no steam moves at sharp books on that game yesterday, which means the CLV is a little less encouraging than if it moved two points due to sharps hitting it.
My main point here is that it’s valuable to take a regular audit of your bets and whether you’re getting lucky or unlucky, whether you’re on sharp sides or not, etc. Our Sports Insights tools can help you optimize your betting game.
Anyway, let’s get to today’s small two-game slate and find some angles. This is a long post, so use the jump links below to skip ahead to whatever you’re looking for.
Note: For updates, see the chat at the bottom of this post.
- Overall: 88-68-1
- Spreads: 32-28-1
- Totals: 21-17
- Moneylines: 5-2
- Props: 27-21
Betting Odds and Analysis
- 7 p.m. ET: Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards (-6), 234.5
- 7 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons (-6), 225
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets (-1.5), 213.5
- 8 p.m. ET: Miami Heat (-4.5) at Chicago Bulls, 216.5
- 8 p.m. ET: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5), 220.5
- 8 p.m. ET: LA Lakers (-4) at Oklahoma City Thunder, 211
- 8:30 p.m. ET: Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks (-9.5), 222
- 9 p.m. ET: Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz (-16), 208
- 9 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets (-5), 206.5
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets at LA Clippers (-5), 226.5
Let’s run through some angles for today.
Heat at Bulls
Yes, I’m wagering cash on a Bulls game today. Yes, I’m terrified.
These teams have some pretty extreme stats both on offense and defense. Cleaning the Glass (and pbpstats.com) have models that estimate what offenses and defenses should shoot based on shot location and other factors, which we can then compare to actual numbers to tease out luck.
Let’s start with defense.
- Bulls: 52.3% eFG% allowed (17th), 54.5% expected eFG% allowed (30th)
- Heat: 50.1% eFG% allowed (8th), 52.9% expected eFG% allowed (24th)
Miami has been so incredibly lucky so far, perhaps more than any other team this season, and its defense should regress as shooting normalizes. The same can be said for the Bulls, though, who have an expected eFG% literally last in the entire league. They’ve been league average so far this year, but this looks like one of the worst defenses in the league in the long-term.
Now let’s talk about offense.
- Bulls: 49.7% eFG% (27th), 53.8% expected eFG% (2nd)
- Heat: 56.3% eFG% (1st), 52.6% expected eFG% (13th)
I mean, come on. These numbers are almost laughable. These teams shooting-wise are polar opposites, with the Heat the best shooting team in the league and the Bulls as one of the worst. But given shot location and other factors, the Bulls should actually be better! Basketball is weird.
Anyway, looking at tonight’s game, if the Bulls are expected to be better on offense over the long run and both teams should see sizable regression on defense, that’s pointing to the over at a pretty low number. Further, Chicago has played at the fourth-fastest pace this season.
I don’t love that Otto Porter is out for the Bulls; he’s consistently had strong on/off numbers for their offense. Still, I grabbed over 217 since I thought it would move. If you’re worried about the Porter dynamic, you could always wait and see how the Bulls’ offense looks and then live bet the over early.
Warriors at Jazz
Draymond Green was questionable to start the day, but has since been ruled out officially. The Jazz are up to -15.5, which is quite a spread.
This Warriors roster just stinks as it stands now: Without Green and D’Angelo Russell earlier this week, the Warriors put up just 38 points in the first half. If not for a 30-point fourth quarter that was entirely garbage time — the Mavericks ended up winning by 48 (!) points — they wouldn’t have even gotten to 94.
Tonight, the Dubs have a 96 team total against a Jazz defense that is miles better than the one they just faced in the Mavericks. On the season, the Jazz have allowed 98.1 points per 100 possessions, second-best in the league behind only the Lakers, and they’re also bottom-10 in pace.
Without Stephen Curry, Green and Russell on the floor, the Warriors have posted a -15.3 Net Rating — in the third percentile of lineups this year. Some lineups have had success, but, again, garbage time. This roster is nowhere close to good enough to score efficiently on the Jazz.
Further, the lineups without those three guys haven’t gotten good shots, as probably expected. They haven’t been able to generate shots at the rim or beyond the arc, instead taking a ton of shots in the mid-range. It’s their most common shot across the entirety of those lineups.
The Jazz are going to absolutely eat that alive. Rudy Gobert won’t let them get to the rim, and they’ve been top-10 in defending the mid-range (along with pretty much everywhere else). The Jazz defense isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good, especially against a predictable offense like the Warriors’.
I lost the under in the Warriors-Mavs game because of Dallas’ offensive explosion, and while that’s a concern here, I still think this is the sharp side. Further, it’s really about Utah’s defense and the pace. The Jazz rank last in the league in getting out in transition. They’re a methodical, halfcourt offense. Even if they’re efficient, the volume could lead to the under.
Kings at Nets
The casual NBA fan might hear me say that two pretty big injury situations for tonight are with the Kings’ Cory Joseph and Bogdan Bogdanovic and think I’m crazy. Let me make the case, though.
The Kings have been surprisingly scrappy since De’Aaron Fox went down, going 3-1 and ranking in the top half in the league in both offense and defense. Bogdanovic deserves a ton of credit for that: The other night in their win over the Suns, Bog went 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, scoring 31 points in total. Joseph dished out 14 assists in that one.
The Kings roster certainly isn’t bare, and guys like Richaun Holmes have taken some mini-leaps this year. But it’s pretty thin given the injuries to Fox and Marvin Bagley, and Joseph and Bog are both questionable tonight.
If they’re out tonight, especially Bog, I like the under in this game. Honestly, it might be a decent play anyway. Since Fox went down, the Kings have an expected eFG% of 52.0% (21st in the league). They’ve actually posted a mark of 53.9% (eighth in the league). They’re due for shooting regression anyway.
And on the other side, the Nets continue to struggle offensively but find some defensive upside with Kyrie Irving out again tonight. They’ve had terrible efficiency outings of late, and on the year they’ve been 10.0 points per 100 possessions worse offensively with Kyrie off the court. They’ve also improved their defense by 6.8 points/100 without him.
The Nets have played fast this year at times, but it’s been up-and-down lately. The Kings despite playing fast last year haven’t this season, and I’m not expecting that to change with Fox and Bagley out. I’ll likely monitor this one a bit longer, but I’ll take the under if the Kings guys are out or limited. It could be a good live-betting game for that reason, too.
Projected Starting Lineups and Injury News
Note: Info as of 2 p.m. ET. For up-to-the-minute lineups and news, see FantasyLabs’ matchups page.
- Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young – Cam Reddish – De’Andre Hunter – Jabari Parker – Damian Jones
- Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker – Marcus Smart – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Daniel Theis
- Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie – Garrett Temple – Joe Harris – Taurean Prince – Jarrett Allen
- Charlotte Hornets: Devonte’ Graham – Terry Rozier – Miles Bridges – PJ Washington – Cody Zeller
- Chicago Bulls: Tomas Satoransky – Shaq Harrison – Zach LaVine – Lauri Markkanen – Wendell Carter Jr.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland – Collin Sexton – Cedi Osman – Kevin Love – Tristan Thompson
- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic – Seth Curry – Dorian Finney-Smith – Kristaps Porzingis – Dwight Powell
- Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray – Gary Harris – Will Barton – Paul Millsap – Nikola Jokic
- Detroit Pistons: Bruce Brown – Langston Galloway – Luke Kennard – Blake Griffin – Andre Drummond
- Golden State Warriors: Ky Bowman – Alec Burks – Glenn Robinson III – Eric Paschall – Willie Cauley-Stein
- Houston Rockets: Russell Westbrook – James Harden – Danuel House – PJ Tucker – Clint Capela
- LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Maurice Harkless – Ivica Zubac
- LA Lakers: LeBron James – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Danny Green – Anthony Davis – JaVale McGee
- Miami Heat: Kendrick Nunn – Duncan Robinson – Jimmy Butler – Bam Adebayo – Meyers Leonard
- OKC Thunder: Chris Paul – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Terrance Ferguson – Danilo Gallinari – Steven Adams
- Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons – Josh Richardson – Tobias Harris – Al Horford – Joel Embiid
- Sacramento Kings: Cory Joseph – Buddy Hield – Harrison Barnes – Nemanja Bjelica – Richaun Holmes
- San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills – Bryn Forbes – DeMar DeRozan – LaMarcus Aldridge – Jakob Poeltl
- Utah Jazz: Mike Conley – Donovan Mitchell – Bojan Bogdanovic – Royce O’Neale – Rudy Gobert
- Washington Wizards: Isaiah Thomas – Bradley Beal – Troy Brown – Rui Hachimura – Thomas Bryant
- Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish (wrist) is questionable. Chandler Parsons (knee) and Evan Turner (Achilles) are available to play.
- Boston Celtics: Nothing new.
- Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie Irving (shoulder) is out. Jarrett Allen (ankle) is probable.
- Charlotte Hornets: Nothing new.
- Chicago Bulls: Chandler Hutchison (shin) is questionable.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Brandon Knight (ankle) is probable.
- Dallas Mavericks: Seth Curry (illness) is questionable.
- Denver Nuggets: Nothing new.
- Detroit Pistons: Tony Snell (hip) is out.
- Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green (heel) is out.
- Houston Rockets: Danuel House (shoulder) is questionable.
- LA Clippers: Nothing new.
- LA Lakers: Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Alex Caruso (calf) are probable. Kyle Kuzma (eye) is expected to play.
- Miami Heat: Justise Winslow (concussion) and Derrick Jones Jr. (hip) are out.
- OKC Thunder: Andre Roberson (knee) is out. Hamidou Diallo (knee) is questionable.
- Philadelphia 76ers: Trey Burke (ankle, knee) and Josh Richardson (hip) are questionable. Joel Embiid (rest candidate) said he’ll play.
- Sacramento Kings: Trevor Ariza (groin, personal) is out. Cory Joseph (heel) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (hamstring) are questionable.
- San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White (foot) is out.
- Utah Jazz: Nothing new.
- Washington Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Achilles) is out.
To bet props, I use our FantasyLabs player props tool. Follow me in the Action Network app to see my bets (or go to the bottom of the article), but the more important thing is the tool, which measures our projections for every player vs. current odds in the market and highlights the biggest edges for you.
Player props are an inefficient market, which allows casual bettors (limits are low, so pro bettors aren’t incentivized to prioritize them) to grab very +EV bets. That said, the lines move quickly. Our props tool is set up so you can always see whether there’s an edge even at the updated numbers throughout the day.
It’s one of my favorite tools we offer and should be one of your bookmarked pages if you like making a few extra bucks. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:
My usual recommendation: Bet unders.
Last season, 10-rated props in our tool hit at a 60.31% rate. But overs hit at a 57.08% rate vs. 66.47% for unders. For 9-rated props, 55.96% of overs were successful bets vs. 62.60% for unders.
As I have noted in the past, unders have more outs: A blowout, an injury, a poor shooting night — all will likely make the under hit. But also, props are less efficient as a market given the low limits, so they’re less likely to adjust for things like opponent and pace.
One under I think is intriguing is PJ Washington’s 10.5-point total.
Washington’s minutes have been way down lately: He’s played just 12 and 16 in Charlotte’s past two games. Whether that’s due to a leg contusion that’s bothered him in the last couple weeks or the addition of Nicolas Batum back to the rotation, it seems his role his currently limited.
We’re projecting him for just 16 minutes tonight, and although the game environment should be good against the Wizards, that’s just not a whole lot of time to get up shots. He has 10 points combined in the last two games.
DFS Values and Strategy
I mean, how do you fade Luka Doncic at this point?
Here’s what he’s done over his last 10 games:
He has hit value in nine of those 10 games, exceeding his salary-based expectations on DraftKings by 17.3 points per game. Yes, you read that correctly.
He’s in a good spot today against the Cavaliers, who rank in the bottom-10 this season in eFG% allowed. I have zero clue who guards him on this team. Cedi Osman? Yikes.
He should be a popular stud to target in all formats, but there are others worth buying, especially in GPPs since it’s such a huge slate. The Rockets and Lakers guys have tough matchups today, but guys like Bradley Beal (against Charlotte), Joel Embiid (against the Spurs) and Jimmy Butler (in a revenge game against the Bulls) all have huge upside and won’t be super-highly owned.
There aren’t too many guys currently at the minimum really standing out, but that could change based on injury news. If the Kings guys are out, for example (see more on that above), someone like Yogi Ferrell will be in play.
Still, there are values worth pursuing, especially in the mid-range. Spencer Dinwiddie will continue to be the sole ball-handler for the Nets with Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert out. Al Horford is now down below $6,000. Langston Galloway is super cheap and has approached 40 minutes in two straight games.
It’s still early to go over specific builds, especially since there’s injury news still hanging. Make sure to follow our news feed and subscribe to our models to see up-to-the minute projections.
My Bets Currently
- Warriors-Jazz under 208 (I wouldn’t bet past the number)
- Heat-Bulls over 217 (I wouldn’t bet past the number)
Follow me in our free app if you want an alert on bets I make. I’ll also make updates in the chat below.
Updates and Live Chat
I will put updated thoughts below, whether they’re about line movement, injury news, etc. You can also ask questions, which I’ll answer as quickly as I can.