NBA Odds & Picks for Friday: Betting & DFS Values, Props, Injuries, More
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell
- From betting analysis to player props to DFS value picks and more, Bryan Mears gets you ready for Friday's nine-game NBA slate.
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 the upcoming night’s slate. For more information on what to expect, read the introduction on Tuesday’s piece.
Yesterday, I finished 5-2 for +1.05 units. I went 3-2 on player props and 2-0 on spreads. 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 the Clippers -1 and it closed at -1
- I bet the Hawks +1 and it closed at +1.5
No closing line value — in fact negative on the Hawks — but thankfully both teams still covered. Especially early in the season, lines move a ton after opening the night before, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on those in the evening and jumping on things early. The Clippers opened at +1 at some books; consensus the opening line was a pick’em!
I still thought those lines offered value even though I wasn’t able to grab the opening numbers (something I personally need to improve). I wanted to buy the Hawks, as I thought they were generally underrated in the market, and sell the Pistons, who I thought overperformed Wednesday. They were on a travel back-to-back and dealing with banged-up players. I thought that line should’ve been a bit higher than +1.
My biggest stance, which I wrote about in depth yesterday in this piece as well as the Clippers-Warriors game guide, was that the Warriors were a team to sell. That roster just isn’t any good outside of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell, and we indeed saw that in last night’s blowout.
It’s going to take a herculean effort from Steph to compete against the league’s best teams, and I thought that line was egregious given the rosters. We now know what happens when you match up the league’s best bench against one of the worst we’ve seen in some time: utter destruction.
Anyway, enough about yesterday. We have a full slate today, so let’s dive in.
Note: For updates, see the chat at the bottom of this post.
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Betting Odds and Analysis
- 7 p.m. ET: Minnesota Timberwolves (-5.5) at Charlotte Hornets, 226
- 7 p.m. ET: Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics (-2.5), 213.5
- 7:30 p.m. ET: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets (-8), 229
- 8 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans (-2), 227
- 8 p.m. ET: Chicago Bulls (-2) at Memphis Grizzlies, 224
- 8 p.m. ET: Washington Wizards at Oklahoma City Thunder (-8), 219.5
- 9 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets (-11.5), 220
- 10 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers (-2) at Sacramento Kings, 227.5
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5), 216.5
Let’s hit on the games I’ve bet and where I think edges currently exist.
Blazers -145 at Kings: A matchup of two 0-1 teams with playoff aspirations in a brutal Western Conference. You might think I’m interested in the Blazers because of the injury to Marvin Bagley, but his absence might not mean anything to the spread. They’ve shown they can play smaller with success with Nemanja Bjelica (excellent Net Rating last season), and Richaun Holmes isn’t a terrible fill-in, either.
The more concerning injury is to guard Buddy Hield, who hurt his ankle at the end of Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Suns. He’s apparently going to suit up and give it a go, but the ankle could still be bothering him. He was one of the only effective players for the Kings Wednesday, and if he’s limited in any way, this game might not be close.
So, there’s upside with that injury situation; it’s not fully priced in, I don’t think. And secondly, I think this is a spot the Blazers are likely to be very motivated. They lost to their playoff rival, Denver, on Wednesday, and their schedule coming up is pretty brutal.
- 10/27: At Mavericks
- 10/28: At Spurs
- 10/30: At Thunder
- 11/2: vs. Sixers
- 11/4: At Warriors
- 11/7: At Clippers
Over the next two weeks, they have a single home game, and it’s against the loaded 76ers. Tonight’s game isn’t a must-win in an 82-game schedule, but it’s not unimportant.
Over 223.5 in Bulls/Grizzlies: When most people think of the Grizzlies, they likely think of the Grit ‘N Grind era defined by an incredibly slow pace. That team no longer exists, and the young guys project to really push. In their first game of the season, Memphis played at a ridiculously fast 114.7 — tops in the league so far.
They’re definitely smart to try to get out in transition with their young talent and athleticism with Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr.
The Bulls are about average in pace after the first game, but their defense was pretty terrible. They lost to the Hornets, who had a barrage of wide-open shots all game. The same dynamic existed with the Grizzlies, who gave up 120 points to the Jimmy Butler-less Heat. Bad defenses, fast pace and the public sentiment around the Grizzlies perhaps not changed — I’ll take the over.
Under 216.5 in Lakers/Jazz: On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lakers currently rank dead last in pace, getting only 97.4 possessions in their first game against the Clippers. They played fast last year, and they might push a little more with Rajon Rondo (who missed last game) on the floor, but overall they look to be a little more methodical with LeBron James and Anthony Davis operating.
Utah also played quite slow in its first game, and overall I think both of these teams will boast solid defenses. The Jazz will likely take a step back from last year without Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio, but they still have awesome personnel and Rudy Gobert to clean up the mess. Davis has DPOY potential on the other side, and perimeter defense with Danny Green should be improved.
Projected Starting Lineups and Injury News
- Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Gordon Hayward – Daniel Theis
- Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie Irving – Caris LeVert – Joe Harris – Taurean Prince – Jarrett Allen
- Charlotte Hornets: Terry Rozier – Dwayne Bacon – Miles Bridges – PJ Washington – Bismack Biyombo
- Chicago Bulls: Tomas Satoransky – Zach LaVine – Otto Porter – Lauri Markkanen – Wendell Carter Jr.
- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic – Delon Wright – Courtney Lee – Kristaps Porzingis – Maxi Kleber
- Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray – Gary Harris – Will Barton – Paul Millsap – Nikola Jokic
- Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James – Avery Bradley – Danny Green – Anthony Davis – JaVale McGee
- Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant – Dillon Brooks – Jae Crowder – Jaren Jackson Jr. – Jonas Valanciunas
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeff Teague – Andrew Wiggins – Treveon Graham – Robert Covington – Karl-Anthony Towns
- New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo Ball – Jrue Holiday – JJ Redick – Brandon Ingram – Derrick Favors
- New York Knicks: Elfrid Payton – RJ Barrett – Marcus Morris – Julius Randle – Mitchell Robinson
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Terrance Ferguson – Danilo Gallinari – Steven Adams
- Phoenix Suns: Ricky Rubio – Devin Booker – Kelly Oubre – Dario Saric – Aron Baynes
- Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard – CJ McCollum – Rodney Hood – Zach Collins – Hassan Whiteside
- Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox – Buddy Hield – Harrison Barnes – Nemanja Bjelica – Dewayne Dedmon
- Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry – Fred VanVleet – OG Anunoby – Pascal Siakam – Marc Gasol
- Utah Jazz: Mike Conley – Donovan Mitchell – Royce O’Neale – Bojan Bogdanovic – Rudy Gobert
- Washington Wizards: Ish Smith – Bradley Beal – Isaac Bonga – Rui Hachimura – Thomas Bryant
And injury news…
- Boston Celtics: Enes Kanter (knee), Tacko Fall (concussion) and Romeo Langford (knee) are out.
- Brooklyn Nets: Nothing new.
- Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum (finger) is out 3-4 weeks. Cody Zeller (personal) is also out.
- Chicago Bulls: Nothing new.
- Dallas Mavericks: Dwight Powell (hamstring) remains out.
- Denver Nuggets: Nothing new.
- Los Angeles Lakers: Rajon Rondo (calf) is questionable. Alex Caruso (pelvic bone) is available to play. Kyle Kuzma (foot) remains out.
- Memphis Grizzlies: Nothing new.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Nothing new.
- New Orleans Pelicans: Nothing new.
- New York Knicks: Mitchell Robinson (ankle) is questionable.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Andre Roberson (knee) is out.
- Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton is suspended for 25 games. Cameron Johnson (calf) and Ty Jerome (ankle) are also out.
- Portland Trail Blazers: Pau Gasol (foot) is out.
- Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley (thumb) is out 4-6 weeks. Buddy Hield (ankle) will play. Harry Giles (knee) is out.
- Toronto Raptors: Pat McCaw (knee) is doubtful. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) is questionable.
- Utah Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle) is questionable.
- Washington Wizards: CJ Miles (foot), Troy Brown (calf), Jordan McRae (finger) and Isaiah Thomas (thumb) are out.
The two biggest news items are the suspension of Deandre Ayton and the injury to Marvin Bagley. I wrote about both in depth here, but here’s my general thoughts on the Ayton situation (read the link for Bagley analysis).
Ayton had a solid season debut Wednesday in the Suns’ blowout win over the Kings, posting an 18-11 line with a steal and four blocks in 33 minutes of action. With him out of the rotation for the foreseeable future, veteran Aron Baynes will slide into the starting role, with Frank Kaminsky likely garnering extra minutes as well.
Baynes is a superior defender, although there were signs of improvement in that regard from Ayton, whose biggest question mark coming into the NBA was overall defense. The bigger drop-off will be offensively, as Ayton is a better scorer around the rim and brings a level of athleticism the Suns will now be sorely missing with their current fill-ins.
DFS-wise, all three of Kaminsky, Baynes and Dario Saric are currently projected to outperform their salary-based expectations on both sites. Still, there’s some rotational uncertainty, and tonight’s game is a tough matchup against one of the best teams in the league in the Nuggets. The prices are cheap — Kaminsky, for example, is just $3,300 on DraftKings and has a nice +8.34 Projected Plus/Minus — but there’s downside here.
The spread opened at -11.5, was taken off the board and now sits at 11/12 depending on the book. For what it’s worth, most of the sharper books in the market have it at 12 at the time of writing. That total has held firm at 221. I don’t think there’s much value in those; they’re solid numbers.
I’ve already bet five props using 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.
One prop I’ve bet already is Gordon Hayward’s assist over. He hasn’t been the same player since the devastating injury he suffered a couple years ago, and last year in his first full season back he averaged just 25.9 minutes per game for the Celtics.
But this year, he looks healthier and seems to be taking a bigger role. In Game 1 against the 76ers, he played 35 minutes — second on the team only behind Jayson Tatum — and used 24.6% of the possessions. It seems his props are pricing him as last year’s version, which is providing value tonight.
Outside of beating props with our projections, which have consistently beat the closing market (more on that below), you can also find a bunch of value on guys with different roles and with injury news. Hayward is a good example today.
Again, props are a nice edge to add to your betting portfolio. Last year, props with a 10/10 rating won at a 60.31% rate. And that was against the closing line, which you can very often beat by using our props tool, which again measures our projections against lines in real time.
DFS Values and Strategy
We have yet another big slate today, but there’s still a massive amount of player value given that salaries are so slow to adjust to new roles and improved play from guys.
Let’s start with some studs to target. At the top of our models currently for DraftKings sit guys like Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Anthony Davis. Jokic underperformed last game after picking up three fouls in the first couple minutes of the game. He came on late and posted a 20-13-2 line in just 23:54 minutes, and it’s positive to see him use 33.9% of the team’s possessions.
Luka is a good example of salary not catching up to his leap. The generational sophomore was the clear hub of the Dallas offensive engine in Game 1, and posted 52.75 DraftKings points in 33 minutes. More importantly is the usage: He took up nearly 40% of the Mavs’ possessions while on the floor. At just $9,200 against a team projected to play fast in the Pelicans, he looks like a solid target.
Davis is not in a projected fast-paced game (as I mentioned above, I like the under in this one), but $10,000 is just very cheap for a fantasy stud of his caliber. He didn’t play particularly well in the first game, perhaps due to jitters being in a Lakers uniform for the first time, and he still posted 51 fantasy points. He played over 37 minutes and was the clear go-to guy in the offense.
The values tonight are plentiful yet again, especially with the Kings and Suns, who will be down Marvin Bagley and Deandre Ayton, respectively. Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica lead our models in Projected Plus/Minus currently and are nearly min-priced on both sites. Pairing those guys with the studs listed above will be a popular build.
The most important thing in DFS is adjusting to news as it comes in. Make sure to follow our news feed, and also subscribe to our models; we adjust projections all day and night in real-time so you always have the most up-to-date information to bet props and make fantasy lineups.
Pro Betting Systems
We have a tool called Bet Labs, which lets users query specific situations to see if there’s an edge in the betting market. For example, want to see how road favorites traveling from the West Coast to East Coast have done? You can find out in 30 seconds. It’s pretty cool.
We also have “Pro Systems,” which we’ve built for you and keep up to date as the market adjusts. I’ll highlight one today for you, which is called “Tickets vs. Money NBA Overs.”
This one is pretty straightforward: it identifies overs in which there’s more money than bets (indicating sharper money) and the line has moved as a result. It’s not 100% ideal that the line has moved and thus is less of a value, but I’ll note that this system is measured in performance against the closing line.
Historically it has gone 55.3% for a 7.7% Return on Investment, and last year it went 76-59-1 for a 9.4% ROI. Even though the line has moved, it seems that sharp indicator is still providing value against the closing, more efficient line.
One match today is with a bet I’ve already made: the over in the Bulls-Grizzlies affair. I don’t like to blindly bet system matches, but when I’m already handicapping an edge and I see there’s sharp money in the direction I’m betting, that’s a positive sign.
My Bets Currently
Check out our player props tool to see the props that still have value if the odds below have shifted.
- Over 223.5 in Bulls/Grizzlies (I wouldn’t bet past 224)
- Blazers -145 (I wouldn’t bet past this number)
- Under 216.5 in Jazz/Lakers (I wouldn’t bet past 216)
- Gordon Hayward over 3.5 assists (-120)
- Caris LeVert over 4.5 rebounds (+105)
- Jrue Holiday over 6.5 assists (-110)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over 3.5 assists (-140)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over 3.5 rebounds (-145)
- Dillon Brooks under 3.5 rebounds (-155)
- JJ Redick over 1.5 assists (-155)
- Zach Collins over 6.5 rebounds (-130)
- Rudy Gobert over 12.5 rebounds (-135)
- JaVale McGee under 6.5 rebounds (-110)
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.