Tuesday NBA Predictions, Picks & Betting Odds (Dec. 3): Can Rockets Take Advantage of Shorthanded Spurs?


Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13).

Dec 04, 2019, 08:00 PM EST
  • The latest NBA betting odds make the Raptors are 5.5-point favorites against the Miami Heat in Toronto on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET), with the over/under set at 212.5
  • Bryan Mears breaks down how he's betting that game, as well as all the other betting and DFS news you might need to make your picks tonight.

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 2-2 for +0.8 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 Pacers -9 and it closed at Pacers -9.5 (won)
  • I bet Warriors +6.5 and it closed at Warriors +6.5 (lost)

Thankfully my biggest bet of the day was on the Pacers, which won. I personally bet at different unit sizes depending on my projected edge, and I know there’s always a lot of debate in the gambling community whether to flat bet, bet based on the Kelly criterion, etc.

I’m definitely not at full Kelly, but I do like to try to maximize the edges I can find, and I think it makes a lot of sense to do that in a sport like NBA. News can provide such a huge edge in this sport — you can sometimes grab lines that will then move 5-6 points — and thus you should absolutely leverage yourself on those more than you would on betting a close line right before a game.

Of course, it’s tough to know your projected edge every time you’re about to make a bet. Even with news, you have to predict how much the line is going to move (and how much it should). But I’ve gotten a lot of questions why I bet different amounts for different things, and that’s a brief explanation of why.

One last note on yesterday: For as much as I’ve talked about sticking with the process, believing in CLV and all that — sometimes you just have to take an ‘L.’ I was absolutely wrong about that Warriors-Hawks game, and one edge I didn’t think of was the “math problem” we’ve written a lot about on this site.

The Hawks definitely shot better than the Warriors last night — 46% vs. 39% — but that discrepancy was mostly felt at the 3-point line. The Hawks took 12 more three-pointers than the Warriors, making five more. Even if a team hits just 30% of those 12 three-pointers, that’s still an extra 3-4 points of value simply by optimizing its shot profile. So while 6.5 points felt too high for teams that have been equally bad, that math problem makes things way more volatile and gives the Hawks a bigger edge than expected.

Anyway, enough about yesterday’s games. Let’s get to today’s seven-game slate and find some angles.

Note: For updates, see the chat at the bottom of this post.

YTD Record:

  • Overall: 112-96-1
  • Spreads: 38-38-1
  • Totals: 36-31
  • Moneylines: 7-5
  • Props: 28-22

Jump To: Odds & Analysis | Projected Starting Lineups & Injury NewsPlayer Props | DFS Values & Strategy | My Bets | Live Chat

Betting Odds and Analysis

  • 7 p.m. ET: Detroit Pistons (-3) at Cleveland Cavaliers, 216.5
  • 7 p.m. ET: Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards (-2), 227.5
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors (-4.5), 213
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks (-4) at New Orleans Pelicans, 233.5
  • 8:30 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets (-6.5) at San Antonio Spurs, 234.5
  • 9 p.m. ET: LA Lakers at Denver Nuggets (-2), 208
  • 10 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers at LA Clippers (-9), 231.5

Let’s run through a couple angles I’m eyeing.

Heat at Raptors

Let’s take a look at the Heat’s game log this year …

That win against Milwaukee to start the year was legitimately great, but other than that what has been a signature victory? The one over the Rockets came with Houston spending the weekend in Miami — a scheduled loss if there ever was one. Over the last few weeks, they’ve played just a handful of good teams — the Rockets again, Sixers, Lakers and Nuggets — and they’ve lost all of them.

On the year, they’re outperforming their point differential at the fifth-best rate, and that’s with an uninspiring schedule. Over the last two weeks, they’re just 13th in the league with a +2.6 Net Rating.

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