Tuesday NBA Predictions, Picks & Betting Odds (Nov. 26): How to Bet Wizards vs. Nuggets
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas (4).
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 10-3 for +1.4 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 Thunder -6 (-120) and it closed at at Thunder -7.5 (lost)
- I bet Lakers -4.5 and it closed at Lakers -4.5 (won)
- I bet Lakers-Spurs under 222.5 and it closed at 222.5 (won)
- I bet Bucks -7.5 and it closed at Bucks -8.5 (lost)
- I bet Bucks -360 ML and it closed at -400 (won)
- I bet Jazz-Bucks over 226 and it closed at 226.5 (won)
- I bet Hornets-Heat under 212.5 and it closed at 212.5 (lost)
- I bet Hornets-Heat (2H) under 104 and it closed at 104 (won)
- I bet Sixers-Raptors under 212.5 and it closed at 212.5 (won)
- I bet Kings +7 and it closed at Kings +6 (won)
- I bet Nets +1.5 and it closed at Nets +1 (won)
- I bet Nets +100 ML and it closed at -103 (won)
- I bet Nets-Cavs under 218.5 and it closed at 218.5 (won)
It was certainly a great day. My only regret is being too conservative with my unit plays after a tough run over the last couple of days. I felt good about my process and that luck would turn, but apparently not enough to bet heavier on my edges.
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: 105-84-1
- Spreads: 35-34-1
- Totals: 33-26
- Moneylines: 7-3
- Props: 27-21
Betting Odds and Analysis
- 7 p.m. ET: LA Clippers (-1.5) at Dallas Mavericks, 227
- 9 p.m. ET: Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets (-10.5), 228
Let’s run through these two games.
Clippers at Mavericks
The Mavs have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season, as their young core has come together much faster than anticipated, leading them to a stellar 11-5 record and current lead over the Rockets in the Southwest division.
Despite having a 20-year-old as their primary offensive hub, the Mavs rank first in offensive efficiency this season. In fact, they’re in the top 10 in all offensive four factors:
- eFG: 4th
- Turnover rate: 2nd
- Offensive rebounding: 5th
- Free throw rate: 9th
Perhaps most impressively, they’re first in the league in half-court efficiency. This isn’t just a team taking advantage of a schedule or teams being lazy in the regular season. The Mavericks are in a tough Western Conference and performing well against set, half-court defenses.
Being so good in all areas means they’re likely to continue, even if the shooting regresses a bit, which it might. They have an expected eFG% rank of 14th — middle of the pack — but they’re actually fourth. Still, even slightly above-average shooting, combined with not turning it over, getting efficient shots and grabbing rebounds, will lead to sustained success.
The question, of course, is whether they can have success against the league’s best, and the Clippers might be just that.
One problem with gauging the Clips is the lack of data. What could be their closing five in the playoffs — Landry Shamet might be in there? — has yet to play a single minute together, ever. The Kawhi Leonard-Paul George lineups are still in their infancy: Those lineups across 154 possessions have posted a dead-even 0.0 Net Rating, but that will obviously improve.
They’re just a weird team. Their biggest weakness on defense so far has been on the perimeter, which I’m not buying: Lineups of Patrick Beverley, Kawhi and PG are going to be just fine in that regard.
The biggest things to watch tonight are 1) more minutes of Kawhi and PG together and 2) how Luka does with two wing defenders who can match him both in size and craft. If you had to create defenders in a lab to guard Luka, they’re probably Kawhi and PG. And the Clippers have them both.
On the surface, the Clips should probably be favored by more than 1.5 points in this one. The betting market is pretty split right now: There have been multiple steam moves on the Clips at -1.5 and -2 but then on the Mavs at +2.5.
The over/under hasn’t seen much action, for what it’s worth.
This game, if you set it before the season knowing the rosters tonight, would probably be 3-4 points more in the direction of the Clips. So the question is whether you believe in the Mavs or whether they’re due for regression after going for almost 140 in three straight games.
I don’t have a lean on this game currently, but it could be a good one to live bet, especially once we see how the Clippers intend to guard Luka. Will they blanket him with Kawhi/PG and be quick to bring help? If so, the Mavs could struggle to see success on offense. I think the Clips and under are probably correlated bets as a result.
For what it’s worth, there’s a current Pro System match via Bet Labs on this game:
It’s terrifying to bet Mavs unders right now, although the system tries to identify inflated lines and public bias as a result of that.
Wizards at Nuggets
Talk about some more weird teams. I hated this Wizards roster coming into the season, and yet they currently sit second overall in offensive efficiency. They’re third in eFG% and second in half-court efficiency. It’s been pretty darn impressive given the talent.
The Nuggets, meanwhile, have been the opposite. Despite excellent talent, they’ve been awful on offense, ranking 18th overall and 25th in eFG%. In fact, if it wasn’t for awesome turnover and rebound rates, they would be near the bottom-five in the league.
The defense has been great, ranking second in the league, but it’s also been weird statistically. The Nuggets have an expected eFG% rank based on shot location of 22nd, but they’ve actually ranked third overall. The Wizards are actually the exact opposite, with an expected eFG% rank of ninth but an actual one of 28th.
Given that information, I somewhat lean toward the Wizards, especially as 10.5-point underdogs. They’ve been quite frisky over the last several weeks with some surprising wins and really only one bad loss (15 against the Pacers).
But it seems sharp bettors are on the Nuggets here, at least at a single-digit number:
The two steam moves on the right there are both on the Nuggets at -9.5. There’s been a little action on the total with a steam move on the over at 226.
All in all, I don’t like being on the opposite side of sharps, but if there’s any indication of a buyback on the Wizards or if it gets to +11 or higher, I’ll likely take the points.
Projected Starting Lineups and Injury News
Note: Info as of 3 p.m. ET. For up-to-the-minute lineups and news, see FantasyLabs’ matchups page.
- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic – Tim Hardaway Jr. – Dorian Finney-Smith – Kristaps Porzingis – Dwight Powell
- Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray – Gary Harris – Will Barton – Paul Millsap – Nikola Jokic
- LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Maurice Harkless – Ivica Zubac
- Washington Wizards: Isaiah Thomas – Bradley Beal – Troy Brown – Rui Hachimura – Thomas Bryant
- Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber (knee) is probable.
- Denver Nuggets: Nothing new.
- LA Clippers: 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 Isaiah Thomas’ 5-assist total.
Thomas has matched this exactly in four of his last seven games, gone over it twice and gone under just once. That might suggest it’s a safe over bet, especially given the Wizards’ offensive output and pace.
But today brings an absolutely brutal matchup against the Nuggets, who rank 29th in pace and fifth in Defensive Rating. That has translated to the fewest field goals allowed per game in the league. In pick-and-roll sets, which Thomas is best at, the Nuggets are in the 97th percentile on defense. They’ve allowed a 40.8% eFG% mark on those — second best in the league.
DFS Values and Strategy
It’s a tough slate given there’s only two games. Let’s start with the studs.
Luka Doncic is nearly $2,000 more than any other player on DraftKings, and it’s absolutely warranted. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in nine out of his last 10 games by an average of 15.1 points. He’s a threat to have a massive triple-double every single night.
Of course, as mentioned above, tonight’s matchup against the best two wing defenders he’ll see all year in Kawhi and PG, brings uncertainty. Still, he’s obviously in play given his track record and how much he dominates the ball for the Mavericks, who have been darn impressive this year.
The other studs in this game, Kawhi and PG, somewhat mute each other now that they’re playing together. They’re affordable at $8,800 and $8,200, respectively, on DraftKings, but they have limited ceilings together. The data behind that is pretty clear actually, as they have a massive -0.58 correlation in terms of fantasy points together. Use one, but be careful with both.
The two other studs bring problems of their own, however. Nikola Jokic looks like the guy to buy in a vacuum, but talk about an unreliable fantasy player:
He’s an incredible GPP play, especially against the fast-paced Wizards’ porous defense, but you’d have to be quite brave to roster him in cash games. His opposing stud, Bradley Beal, has been great this year, but it’s also a brutal matchup, as mentioned above in the player props section.
All in all, I don’t mind paying up for the floor of Luka, even in a tough matchup. I also like pairing him with Kristaps Porzingis, who is too cheap at $6,900 and could do damage against the Clippers’ interior. Luka and Kristaps are actually positively correlated together with a 0.24 mark.
Other values include Lou Williams against the Mavs bench, Thomas Bryant (who could have more rebounding opportunities tonight), Gary Harris at a cheap $4k price tag and Paul Millsap, who has exceeded value in eight of his last 10 games.
Those guys are cheap enough to let you get in Luka, although probably not multiple studs. That’s probably OK with this slate, although you’ll probably want to buy multiple of them in GPPs.
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.