Thursday NBA Betting, DFS Cheat Sheet for All 6 Games: Favorite Bets, Injuries to Know, More
Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: DeMarcus Cousins
In today’s NBA betting and DFS cheat sheet, we give notes on the betting market and key injuries, as well as analysis on DFS plays, player props and our favorite bets.
Here are the games on tonight’s slate:
- Phoenix Suns at Cleveland Cavaliers (-1), 7 p.m. ET
- Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers (-5.5), 7 p.m. ET
- Portland Trail Blazers (-2.5) at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (-5.5), 8 p.m. ET on TNT
- Houston Rockets (-3) at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT
- Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors (-12.5), 10:30 p.m. ET
All data as of 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. For live odds and betting percentages click here.
Pro Betting System of the Day | Betting Trends
Thursday NBA: Most Public Bets
- Over 233 in Rockets-Lakers: 73% of bets
- Over 219 in Heat-Sixers: 68% of bets
- Sixers -5.5 vs. Heat: 68% of bets
- Over 230.5 in Blazers-Nets: 66% of bets
- Over 221 in Suns-Cavs: 66% of bets
Thursday NBA: Injuries to Know
In today’s NBA Injury Report, we broke down the betting and DFS impact of the slate’s key injury situation tonight:
- 76ers C Joel Embiid (knee) is out
Here’s a snippet from that piece:
Embiid’s absence this season has resulted in a 1-3 record. The Sixers allowed 129, 123 and 126 points in the losses — all in regulation. Their four opponents averaged 63.5 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Sixers by a combined 56 boards. It’s a bleak picture.
The Sixers’ Defensive Rating has dropped to 116.2 — the ninth percentile per Cleaning the Glass — with Embiid on the bench. They’ve played 142 total possessions with their current roster minus Embiid, and their Defensive Rating has spiked to 126.3 in those limited minutes.
Boban Marjanovic or Jonah Bolden will likely start at center since Amir Johnson last played January 26 — the last time Embiid sat. Bolden has accumulated four straight DNP-CDs since Marjanovic’s debut, but coach Brett Brown is still tinkering with the rotation following the recent trades.
Thursday NBA: DFS Values and Tournament Plays
Due to some injury situations, there’s a ton of value on today’s NBA DFS slate. Right now, there are three players with Projected Plus/Minus values above +9.0 (which is absurd) on DraftKings:
- Boban Marjanovic ($3,500) vs. Heat: +13.55 Projected Plus/Minus
- DeMarcus Cousins ($6,100) vs. Kings: +13.25 Projected Plus/Minus
- Caris LeVert ($5,100) vs. Blazers: +9.37 Projected Plus/Minus
We hit above on Boban, who is indeed the slate’s best value with Embiid out. Cousins is also an intriguing option at just $6,100 given that he’s off his minutes limit now and is facing a Kings team that ranks 27th in defensive rebound rate.
We also have a new metric this year at FantasyLabs called “Leverage Score,” which combines our ceiling projections and our ownership projections to identify potential undervalued GPP plays.
One player with a high Leverage Score tonight on FanDuel is Suns center Deandre Ayton, who has a high ceiling projection and Projected Plus/Minus, but should have low ownership.
First, there are reasons to think this game could go over — see the Staff Bets and Pro Systems sections below. Second, he’s facing a Cavs team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency this season and is quite bad at rebounding with Tristan Thompson (foot, out) not in the lineup.
Thursday NBA: Best Player Props
There are currently two player props in our tool with a Bet Quality of 10 and six with a Bet Quality of 9. This season, those bets have both hit at a 57% rate.
One is Clint Capela to go under his 13.5-point prop. He’s been out for over a month after undergoing thumb surgery and will make his first appearance in 15 games. It’s unclear whether he’ll have a minutes restriction.
Given that uncertainty plus the fact that the starting lineup is now intact for the first time in a while — meaning he’ll compete for usage — betting the under could be wise. Based on his per-minute rates with the starters, we have Capela projected for about 11 points..
Note: Player props move very quickly, and our projections are updated throughout the day in reaction to news. For up-to-date projections compared to posted props, visit the FantasyLabs Player Props Tool.
Thursday NBA: Our Experts’ Favorite Bets
John Ewing: DeMarcus Cousins over 8 rebounds
Cousins has averaged 23.4 minutes per game since returning from his Achilles injury. The Warriors have been easing the big man back, but are expected to remove his playing time restrictions, which were capped at 25 minutes.
With more playing time, Cousins should feast against a Kings team that is one of the worst in the league at rebounding. Sacramento ranks 25th in total rebounding percentage (48.4%) and has allowed opposing centers to corral an NBA-best 18.4 boards per game.
Bryan Mears: Over 221.5 in Suns-Cavs
I really like when multiple trends are pointing in the same direction. First, I’ll give a hat tip to Ewing, who wrote a good piece on teams with losing records playing right after the All-Star break. When those teams have played during that time span, the over has hit at a 67.6% clip.
But also, that over matches a Pro System at Bet Labs we have called “Tickets vs. Money NBA Overs.” I detail in depth in the section below, but in a nutshell it identifies sharp action on an over/under. When the planets align, I take notice.
Matt Moore: Josh Richardson under 4.5 assists
I’m cribbing this one from the FantasyLabs Props Tool, which rates this as a “10 out of 10” value.
Goran Dragic is back, and Richardson will transition more to a tip-of-the-spear role with the point guard on the floor. There are only so many possessions for the Heat. Richardson averages just 1.6 assists per 20 minutes of shared floor time with Dragic.
Given how the rotation has evolved, those two should play more together and keep Richardson under in the assists department, especially with how good the Sixers defense is in the passing lanes.
Ken Barkley: Celtics +5.5 vs. Bucks
The trends in today’s Celtics-Bucks betting guide are compelling and have accumulated a pretty good amount of trials for something so specific (Boston in the underdog role with Brad Stevens).
But even just taking a game-specific view here, the margin between these teams is not this large, especially when considering that Giannis Antetokounmpo is suffering from knee soreness and that may impact his availability and/or effectiveness. Gordon Hayward’s injury will have no such impact on Boston, as I’m sure many Celtics fans are giddy at the thought of watching the team without him.
Looking at the season-long picture, there’s a moderate gap between these teams, but over the past month that gap has compressed significantly. This is mostly due to Milwaukee’s offense playing worse. I will take what I think are a too many points between two extremely even teams, one of which has a less-than-100% star player.
Thursday NBA: Pro System of the Day
At Bet Labs, we have a Pro NBA System called “Tickets vs. Money Overs.” It highlights games in which there’s a discrepancy between the amount of wagers and dollars bet on a game’s over/under:
This system has produced a 7.9% Return on Investment (ROI) since 2015, when we first started tracking bet and money percentages. This season, the system has gone 51-37 (58%), good for a robust 12.8% ROI.
The reason this system is so intriguing is because it’s measuring the win rate against the closing number. It’s identifying sharp money on the over, the total is moving up as a result and the over is still hitting at a high rate.
There’s one match tonight:
- Over 221.5 in Suns-Cavaliers
Thursday NBA: Most Important Betting Trend for Every Game
- Suns at Cavs: The Suns are 12-18 ATS on the road, but the Cavs are 12-17 at home.
- Heat at 76ers: The Heat are 18-11 ATS on the road and 17-10-1 as underdogs.
- Blazers at Nets: The Blazers are 20-11 as favorites.
- Celtics at Bucks: The Celtics are 10-16-1 ATS on the road; the Bucks are 17-11 at home.
- Rockets at Lakers: The under is 20-8 in Lakers home games.
- Kings at Warriors: The over is 25-12 in Kings conference games.