Thursday NBA Odds & Picks (Nov. 7): Injury News, DFS Strategies, Betting Analysis, More
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2).
- Bryan Mears dives into tonight's four-game NBA slate, giving betting advice, DFS strategies, injury updates and more information to you find value.
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 4-2 for +1.9 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 +1 and it closed at Bucks -6.5
- I bet Magic +7.5 and it closed at Magic +7
- I bet Hawks pick and it closed at Hawks pick
- I bet over 221 in Bulls/Hawks and it closed at 222
I obviously won’t get CLV every night like I did with the Bucks, but it isn’t quite as rare as you might think. The NBA is such a minute-to-minute league, and news — especially fast news — is the name of the game. We announced Kawhi Leonard would rest Tuesday evening, and I was able to grab the line right after.
A lot of books removed the line, but it did stay up at around a pick’em for quite a while at some books. If you turn on alerts for our FantasyLabsNBA twitter account, you’ll likely be able to turn that information game into some money.
And people shouldn’t feel bad about that either. Winning tickets are winning tickets, whether it’s by being an elite handicapper or being victorious in the information war. Beating the closing market is incredibly tough, and instead focusing on news or player value is a good way to find an edge.
The Magic finally regressed, which was long overdue. They ultimately fell late on the road to the Mavericks, but easily covered the seven-point closing line. The defense was there as usual, and they finally came around shooting the ball, hitting 39 of their 80 shots (48%). They still shot 25% beyond the arc, so they might be a candidate to continue to buy.
And finally, man … my epic streaks of being incredibly wrong about every Bulls game continues. This line closed at a pick’em with both teams on a back-to-back, and it was announced before the game that Trae Young would play and importantly wouldn’t have a minutes restriction. Not much separates these teams in my opinion — Atlanta might even be a bit better — so getting a home team at a pick was enticing. I also liked the over with Young playing a full complement of minutes.
But it was a Bulls game, so of course none of that came to fruition. They are my betting kryptonite apparently.
Anyway, let’s get to today’s four-game slate. 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.
Betting Odds and Analysis
- 8 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics (-7) at Charlotte Hornets, 216.5
- 8:30 p.m. ET: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs (-4.5), 212
- 9 p.m. ET: Miami Heat at Phoenix Suns (-1), 218.5
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers at LA Clippers (-5.5), 230
I don’t currently have any bets for today’s slate, and I’m not seeing many edges. That said, I’ll go over a couple leans I have and bets I might make if the line moves in the direction I like and thus provides more value.
Thunder at Spurs: The Thunder are 3-4 on the season, but the losses outside of one early one to the Wizards haven’t been that bad.
- Lost by 5 to Jazz in Utah (covered +9)
- Lost by 12 to Wizards in OKC (did not cover -8.5)
- Beat Warriors by 28 in OKC (covered -1)
- Lost by 4 to Rockets in Houston (covered +10)
- Lost by 3 to Blazers in OKC (did not cover +1.5)
- Beat Pelicans by 9 in OKC (covered -2)
- Beat Magic by 8 in OKC (covered -2.5)
This team has been consistently handicapped as a below-average team, but that’s just not the case with the current roster still healthy. They had a 31.5 win total before the year for two reasons: trades and tanking. Those still may be on the horizon, but they aren’t a 31.5-win team right now; this roster, especially the starting lineup, is definitely a solid one.
On the season, they are ninth in the league with a +4.1 point differential after scrubbing out garbage time. The Spurs, meanwhile, are 14th with a +1.4 mark. They’ve had a few tough games — home vs. Blazers and Lakers and on the road at Clippers — but they’ve also had some easy ones like the Steph-less Warriors, injured Hawks, Grizzlies, Wizards and Knicks.
The only real issue for the Thunder so far has been shooting: They rank 26th in effective field goal percentage. They aren’t generating a ton of good looks (neither is San Antonio, mind you), but even on those they’re below expectations. They’ve hit only 31.6% of their open 3-pointers. Interestingly, the Spurs have hit just 26.6% of theirs, worst in the league, but they just take so few of them.
The Thunder’s strengths are real. They rank second in Defensive Rating and are the best in the league in opponent shooting. They have the second-best halfcourt defense, and the Spurs haven’t exactly been awesome in the halfcourt.
All in all, five points is a little high, and I’d lean the Thunder; I don’t think this Spurs roster is 2-3 points better.
Blazers at Clippers: I think you could potentially discount the back-to-back for the Clips here, as Kawhi Leonard didn’t go last night. Still, they played a tough game against a good opponent in the Bucks, and Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell played 39 minutes. Patrick Beverley played 35.
Thus, I think the back-to-back has to be a factor here given those high minute totals, and it also isn’t clear that a regular season game between these two teams should favor the Blazers by 2.5 points or so even before factoring in some sort of B2B adjustment.
The Clips have been vulnerable defensively this season, and while I’m not concerned about that long-term with Paul George returning, it could continue to be an issue in the short-term, especially against a talented Blazers offense.
The Clips so far this year have allowed the fourth-highest 3-point rate in the league, and they’ll go up against Damian Lillard and a Blazers squad that has hit 3-pointers at the fifth-highest percentage. That could be a pressure point for a potentially tired L.A. team.
Further, my colleague Matt Moore wrote today about the public potentially undervalued the Blazers after a surprising loss a couple days ago to the Warriors without Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green.
It happens, and I’m not weighting that game too heavily moving forward. Importantly, that was Monday, so the Blazers should be quite rested.
Projected Starting Lineups and Injury News
Note: Info as of 3:30 p.m. ET. For up-to-the-minute lineups and news, see FantasyLabs’ matchups page.
- Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Gordon Hayward – Daniel Theis
- Charlotte Hornets: Terry Rozier – Dwayne Bacon – Miles Bridges – PJ Washington – Cody Zeller
- LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Landry Shamet – Kawhi Leonard – Patrick Patterson – Ivica Zubac
- Miami Heat: Justise Winslow – Kendrick Nunn – Jimmy Butler – Meyers Leonard – Bam Adebayo
- OKC 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 – Anthony Tolliver – Hassan Whiteside
- San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray – Bryn Forbes – DeMar DeRozan – Trey Lyles – LaMarcus Aldridge
- Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown (illness), Daniel Theis (ankle) and Robert Williams (hip) are probable. Enes Kanter (knee) is questionable.
- Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington (leg) is probable.
- LA Clippers: Nothing new.
- Miami Heat: Derrick Jones Jr. (groin) and Chris Silva (illness) are probable. Justise Winslow (headache) is questionable.
- OKC Thunder: Andre Roberson (knee) is out. Mike Muscala (hand) is not on the injury report.
- Phoenix Suns: Nothing new.
- Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins (shoulder) is out at least four months.
- San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White (glute) is questionable.
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 Tyler Herro’s 12.5 point total.
Herro got just 15 minutes in Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Nuggets, and we have him projected just around 20 today, which is way below where he was to start the season when he was getting mid-30s with a bunch of the Heat guys out due to injuries and personal reasons.
Further, he’s playing against a … pretty good Suns defense? They rank fifth in Defensive Rating so far and fourth in opponent eFG%. They’ve also gobbled up defensive rebounds and have been awesome in the halfcourt. A good, disciplined defense and lower minutes? I’ll take the under.
DFS Values and Strategy
Kawhi Leonard is an intriguing stud to buy today, as he’s only $9,600 on DraftKings and rested on last night’s back-to-back. Further, he’s facing a Blazers team that ranks 21st on defense and doesn’t have many wing defenders to throw at him. With the majority of the main Clippers guys — Lou Williams, most notably — playing near 40 minutes last night, they’ll likely lean heavily on Kawhi in this spot.
For most of the same reasons, Lillard is intriguing as well. He hasn’t played since Monday, when the Blazers were embarrassed by the lowly Warriors, and he’ll face a tired Clippers team (minus Kawhi). He’s absolutely dominated this season in fantasy and is playing huge minutes.
But I’d be remiss to not mention Kemba Walker as well, who is in a revenge game against his old Charlotte Hornets. He has hit value in five straight games, and while there’s a bit of downside given the elevated price tag and the Celtics now fully healthy, the #RevengeGame is hard to ignore for tournaments.
Value-wise, you could always take the revenge narrative further with the Hornets’ Terry Rozier in his first game against the Celtics. Other guys standing out include Hassan Whiteside, Rodney Hood and Bam Adebayo, although two of those guys are mid-tier options.
Overall, value at the very bottom of the pricing structure is limited, which will make it more difficult to fit in Kawhi and Lillard. Perhaps more value will open up with injuries, but as of now it’s a tough DFS slate and enhances the value of our projections.
My Bets Currently
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.