NBA Odds & Picks (Oct. 30): Betting, DFS Strategies, Injuries to Know and More for Wednesday
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with forward Draymond Green (23).
- There are 11 games on tonight's schedule, including a late-night matchup between the Suns and Warriors.
- Bryan Mears gets you ready for Wednesday's NBA slate with betting analysis to player props to DFS value picks and more.
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.
On Tuesday I finished 1-1 for +0.22 units. While I don’t want to get sucked into the past, I think it’s worth reviewing things each day.
I didn’t think there was much value in the odds as we saw them throughout most of the day. I did end up putting 0.25 units on the Grizzlies at +11.5 after it was announced Anthony Davis was dealing with a sore shoulder and would be a game-time decision. That one … did not turn out too well.
Brow seemed pretty healthy, putting up 40 points and 20 rebounds in just 30 minutes through three quarters. He didn’t play in the fourth with the Lakers up so big. I thought it was worth a small play given the injury uncertainty, but I was clearly wrong.
The other bet I made was Heat -3 in the second half vs. the Hawks, who lost star point guard Trae Young for the game earlier in the first half. It was honestly one of the best live betting spots we’ll see all season: Trae is the entire Hawks offense and is thus incredibly valuable, especially in the middle of a game when Atlanta would have difficulty adjusting on the fly (i.e., he’s probably worth more to the spread mid-game than pre-game).
Right after that injury, the live odds were at Heat -8.5, and the over/under was at 223.5. I unfortunately didn’t get to grab those — ah, the beauty of having a 10-month-old — but if you had alerts turned on for our FantasyLabsNBA news feed, you would have gotten that information right away. Those live odds were near auto-bets at those numbers, and that’s not uncommon for the live market.
The reason is because the live market is so dynamic and there are so many sports and games offered by books. And since it has to be updated in real-time (unlike pre-close spreads and totals), books I’m guessing solely rely on a computer algorithm to set the live odds. I’m also guessing they don’t really adjust to a player going out, or if they do, it’s clearly not enough, as we saw in last night’s game.
Handicapping NBA against closing spreads and totals is incredibly tough; there aren’t many people in the world who can make a living doing it. But you can still find very +EV spots in NBA gambling, mostly revolving around injury news and live betting opportunities. Honestly, those might be the highest EV spots in all of sports gambling if you can keep up with things.
So my advice: Turn on notifications for FantasyLabsNBA and in our app; we’re the fastest in the business. A guy as important as Trae Young won’t go down in the first half every night and provide an opportunity like that, but those spots definitely exist fairly often, both pre-game and in-game.
Anyway, onto today’s massive 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
- 7 p.m. ET: New York Knicks at Orlando Magic (-9.5), 210.5
- 7 p.m. ET: Chicago Bulls (-2) at Cleveland Cavaliers, 217.5
- 7 p.m. ET: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5), 222.5
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets (-3.5), 219.5
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks (-3) at Boston Celtics, 224
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors (-9), 213.5
- 8 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers (-1.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder, 220.5
- 8 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets (-8) at Washington Wizards, 233
- 10 p.m. ET: Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings (-7.5), 222.5
- 10 p.m. ET: LA Clippers at Utah Jazz (-6), 214.5
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors (-5), 229
The NBA has a variety of different stages to the long season when it comes to find betting edges. There’s always value in following news to grab lines before they move due to injuries, but handicapping-wise, things change throughout the season.
Early on, we have little data — and it’s hard to overstate just how little compared to other sports. Think of all the big-name players who moved this offseason: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Russell Westbrook, etc. Now think of the big-name players who moved prior to the NFL season. It’s a very different sport, especially early on.
You can find edges by identifying teams that are better or worse than expected. I faded the Warriors in their first game as I thought the market was not properly pricing in just how bad the roster is outside of Steph Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green. Likewise, I bought the Thunder, who had a win total of 31.5 but definitely were not that bad to start the year.
You can also fade public bias in certain spots. For example:
Road back-to-backs are overrated by the public early in the season, when teams are still fresh. Later in the year, travel spots are perhaps underrated — if you know how to spot them.
Betting edges change throughout the year, but the overriding theme is taking advantage when the public is too high or low on a team for a certain reason. Another example, which I want to dive into a bit today, is early-season play — and especially early-season shooting.
Pbpstats.com has developed a model based on location and play context to measure a team’s expected effective field goal percentage (eFG%) for both offense and defense. And in a small sample size like we currently have, things can be all over the place.
Here’s the data for this year so far:
Based on location and play context, the Warriors should have around a 52% eFG%, but they’re actually at 46.6%. On defense, they should be allowing around a 54% mark, but opponents are posting a 63.9% score.
Of course, this isn’t a perfect, black-and-white way of analyzing shot luck. Who is shooting the ball matters, opponents matter, etc. But it’s at least a starting point to identify which teams have largely been lucky or unlucky to start the season.
Some teams with disappointing starts — the Warriors, Pacers, Kings and Bulls, for example — are at the top of the “unlucky” column. As a result, I think there are some potential edges for today.
Of note, bets I’m looking at are Warriors -5 and over 229 in that game (already bet), Kings -7.5 (waiting to see if it’ll come down to -7) and over 223 (already bet) in that game, Blazers -1.5 (waiting to see if it’ll come down to -1), Celtics +3 (waiting to see if it’ll move to 3.5) and Bulls -2 (waiting to see if it’ll move off 2).
The Dubs rotation is still problematic, don’t get me wrong. But I also think we’ve seen this team’s floor so far.
They’re also getting a little more healthy: Willie Cauley-Stein is expected to make his debut tonight, and at the very list, he’ll limit the minutes of Marquese Chriss, who is downright awful.
Meanwhile, Phoenix has been pretty lucky on defense, holding opponents below a 47% eFG% mark. They definitely have better personnel with Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes, but I don’t expect long-term they’ll be the third-best defense in opponent shooting, as they are now. This seems like an overreaction, and I think this is a spot for the Dubs to get some momentum.
Likewise, the Kings have largely played at their floor so far, posting a league-worse -24.4 Net Rating in non-garbage time minutes. After having playoff aspirations, they sit 0-4.
They’re due for some regression, and they were more competitive on Monday in Denver. They pushed the pace a little more — they were really slow in the three prior games for some reason — and De’Aaron Fox looked better. Buddy Hield struggled, shooting 2-of-13, but it was a tough matchup against Gary Harris.
They’ll have an easier go of it against a terrible Hornets team, and I think they’ll be motivated to turn things around. I think the best bet in this game is the over, as the Kings I believe will get back to pushing the pace behind Fox, and I think this line has overcompensated for their slower pace thus far.
The other three bets I like follow the same analysis: I’m fading the Thunder, who have been lucky, especially with Steven Adams questionable and potentially limited. I want to buy the Celtics, especially as a dog.
And finally, I’m going back to the Bulls well, even after they bit me last game against the Knicks. They’ve been unlucky so far, and the two biggest culprits have been Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter — two excellent shooters.
Perhaps things won’t turn around — maybe Porter’s hip injury is more serious than we thought — but as a tiny dog against the Cavs, I’ll take a shot.
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.
- 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 – Cody Zeller
- Chicago Bulls: Tomas Satoransky – Zach LaVine – Otto Porter – Lauri Markkanen – Wendell Carter Jr.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland – Collin Sexton – Cedi Osman – Kevin Love – Tristan Thompson
- Detroit Pistons: Tim Frazier – Luke Kennard – Tony Snell – Markieff Morris – Andre Drummond
- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry – D’Angelo Russell – Glenn Robinson III – Draymond Green – Willie Cauley-Stein
- Houston Rockets: Russell Westbrook – James Harden – Danuel House – PJ Tucker – Clint Capela
- Indiana Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon – Jeremy Lamb – TJ Warren – Domantas Sabonis – Myles Turner
- LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Landry Shamet – Moe Harkless – Patrick Patterson – Ivica Zubac
- Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Bledsoe – Wesley Matthews – Khris Middleton – Giannis Antetokounmpo – Brook Lopez
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeff Teague – Andrew Wiggins – Robert Covington – Noah Vonleh – Karl-Anthony Towns
- New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina – RJ Barrett – Marcus Morris – Julius Randle – Mitchell Robinson
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Terrance Ferguson – Danilo Gallinari – Steven Adams
- Orlando Magic: DJ Augustin – Evan Fournier – Aaron Gordon – Jonathan Isaac – Nikola Vucevic
- Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons – Josh Richardson – Tobias Harris – Al Horford – Joel Embiid
- 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
- 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 – Bojan Bogdanovic – Royce O’Neale – Rudy Gobert
- Washington Wizards: Ish Smith – Bradley Beal – Isaac Bonga – Rui Hachimura – Thomas Bryant
- Boston Celtics: Enes Kanter (knee) is out. Daniel Theis (ankle) is available to play.
- Brooklyn Nets: Nothing new.
- Charlotte Hornets: Nothing new.
- Chicago Bulls: Otto Porter (face) is available to play. Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) is questionable.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: John Henson (hamstring) is out 2-4 weeks.
- Detroit Pistons: Reggie Jackson (back) is out.
- Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney (hamstring) and Jacob Evans (adductor) are out. Willie Cauley-Stein (foot) will play. Alec Burks (ankle) is probable.
- Houston Rockets: Gerald Green (foot) is out six months.
- Indiana Pacers: Jeremy Lamb (hip) will start. Edmond Sumner (hand) is out.
- LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard (rest) is out. Rodney McGruder (ankle) is uncertain to play.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Nothing new.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Nothing new.
- New York Knicks: Elfrid Payton (hamstring) and Dennis Smith Jr. (personal) are out.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Andre Roberson (knee) remains out. Steven Adams (knee) is questionable.
- Orlando Magic: Nothing new.
- Philadelphia 76ers: Shake Milton (knee) is out at least five games.
- Phoenix Suns: Nothing new.
- Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins (shoulder) is TBD.
- Sacramento Kings: Harry Giles (knee) is questionable.
- Toronto Raptors: Nothing new.
- Utah Jazz: Nothing new.
- Washington Wizards: CJ Miles (foot) remains out. Troy Brown (calf) will play.
The biggest news, of course, is that Kawhi Leonard is going to rest tonight vs. the Jazz in the first leg of a back-to-back. I grabbed Jazz -3 right after the news, but it’s already moved to -6. I don’t think there’s much value left on that bone anymore unfortunately.
DFS-wise, we currently have Maurice Harkless sliding into the starting SF spot, and we have him projected right around 30 minutes. He’s technically a value right now with a +5.84 Projected Plus/Minus, but he’s such a low-usage player that it’s hard to use him in many contests. His floor is too low for cash games, and his ceiling is too low for tournaments; those aren’t players I typically like to target.
Most of the main guys have positive Projected Plus/Minus values for the Clippers given the usage distribution with Kawhi out. But I’d rather target guys with more upside like Montrezl Harrell. Patrick Beverley might be the exception at $5,100 on FanDuel, but remember: it’s a big slate, and this is a tough matchup against a great Utah defense.
The other big news item to watch for is the status of Thunder center Steven Adams, who is questionable to suit up against the Blazers. His defensive on/off court value has been up and down in his career, but he’s likely to be near his career-high in that regard with this current roster. It’s been just a few games, but already the Thunder have been 10.1 points/100 worse with him off the floor defensively than on.
I already like the Blazers (see above), and the Adams questionable tag gives it additional upside.
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 wrote about yesterday, 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.
A good example today is the Knicks against the Magic, who have played at the league’s fifth-slowest pace so far and have had one of the league’s best defenses.
As a result, a lot of the Knicks unders are showing value in our tool — Mitchell Robinson under points, Kevin Knox under points, to name a few. The Magic have a very smart defense under head coach Steve Clifford, and they have the personnel to match it in Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac. It seems today that the Knicks aren’t being adjusted for this specific matchup.
DFS Values and Strategy
The question of the night: To roster Karl-Anthony Towns or not.
As of now, KAT is the highest-rated player in the Phan Model on FantasyLabs: He’s still massively underpriced at $9,900 on DraftKings, and as a result he has a stupid-high +12.03 Projected Plus/Minus. That’s unheard of a near-$10k guy.
But he’s also playing against the 76ers, who have one of the league’s best defenses (and has the ceiling to be one of the best ever). He’s dominated so far, albeit against the likes of the Nets, Hornets and Heat. Tonight’s affair against Joel Embiid will be his toughest yet, and there’s real downside with potential foul trouble. Still, he’s the scariest fade in fantasy right now, and he sits at the top of our models for a reason.
It’s a huge slate, and there are a variety of studs in awesome spots.
I’m high on the Blazers tonight, especially with Adams questionable and potentially limited for the Thunder. Damian Lillard is just $9,100. Russell Westbrook and James Harden get the Washington Wizards, who … don’t exactly have athletic, awesome defensive personnel to match them.
Speaking of Adams, that situation has the potential to really determine the slate. He’s listed as a game-time decision for tonight, but if we had word early on, it’s like Nerlens Noel — the projected starter in for him if he’s out — would be highly popular at just $3,300 on DraftKings. We likely won’t have news by the 7 p.m. ET lock, but tournaments could be won by taking the chance on Nerlens, who will be low-owned given the timing situation.
My Bets Currently
- Over 223 in Hornets-Kings (I wouldn’t bet past 224)
- Jazz -3 (it’s already at -6, the value is gone)
- Over 229 in Warriors-Suns (I wouldn’t bet past this number)
- Warriors -5 (I wouldn’t bet past this number)
I’m looking for a couple numbers as well…
- Bulls -1.5
- Kings -7
- Celtics +3.5
- Blazers -1
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.