NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Thursday Game
Dec 25, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives to the basket while Boston Celtics forward Daniel Theis (27) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Thank God, a Cavs-less night. Also a night in which we probably don’t need to factor rain into our DFS plays.
When you game-stacked Pacers-Pelicans in DFS tournaments only to find out they’re not playing tonight due to a leaky roof… pic.twitter.com/hw5Ie4VGjU
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) February 8, 2018
Of course, the one thing you do have to factor in is trades, as today is Deadline Day (3 p.m.). Which trades will open up value in the betting and DFS worlds? There may be some short benches tonight, but our betting guide has all hands on deck. — Mark Gallant
All info as of Thursday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
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ATLANTA HAWKS AT ORLANDO MAGIC (-1) | O/U: 213.5
7 p.m. ET
What the metrics say: These are two of the worst teams in the league, ready to fully tank the rest of their season. They’re both bottom-half teams on offense and bottom-five on defense. One area the Magic could exploit is at the rim, where they rank fourth this season with a 66.3 percent field-goal mark. Further, they could welcome back center Nikola Vucevic, who has missed the past 19 games with a fractured hand. He has shot 77.0 percent at the rim this season, which is in the 96th percentile of all big men. The Magic’s offense has been 6.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor versus off this season. — Bryan Mears
What I’m watching for: I don’t know what I’m watching for, because I don’t know who’s going to be left on these teams by the afternoon. The Magic are trying to sell for upgrades, the Hawks are selling for future assets. They could look wildly different by nightfall, but any new players, of course, won’t play.
One thing to keep an eye on is John Collins vs. Jonathan Isaac, who could return from injury in this game. That’s a pretty hefty battle of young stellar big men. If Elfrid Payton isn’t moved, I want to see how he reacts to that. Also, I’ll be surprised if Ersan Ilyasova is still on Atlanta for this. – Matt Moore
DFS nugget: Shelvin Mack has been a nice source of value recently. He’s played at least 22.5 minutes in five straight games, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +9.19. Elfrid Payton was shipped out of town today, so Mack has the potential to play even more today for the Magic. He’s in a great spot against the Atlanta Hawks, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.55. Mack is a much stronger value today on DraftKings, where his $3,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97 percent. — Matt LaMarca
Trend No. 1 to know: Hawks-Magic is a truly rare occurrence in the NBA: Two horrible teams (33 percent or less win rate) from the same division facing each other in the second half of the season. When this has happened since 2005, the favorite has gone 28-15 ATS (65.1%). — John Ewing
- Hawks: 13-10-1 ATS (+$268 ROI on $100 bets)
- Magic: 3-13 ATS (-$1,012) — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 3 to know: The Magic beat up on the Cavs 116-98 Tuesday night. Under Frank Vogel, Orlando is 15-29 ATS (34.1%) after a straight-up win, including 6-18 ATS at home after a victory. — Evan Abrams
NEW YORK KNICKS AT TORONTO RAPTORS (-13.5) | O/U: 212
7:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Man, how quickly things go bad for the Knicks. The Knicks lost Kristaps Porzingis to a torn ACL and then traded his best friend on the team, Willy Hernangomez, the day after. Kyle O’Quinn is on the trade block. Oh, and Enes Kanter isn’t expected to play after having oral surgery on Wednesday.
The Raptors are a machine and should tear though this team. They are 20-3 straight up vs. teams under .500, and as you’ll read below, almost as good ATS. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: The Knicks have actually been somewhat fine without Porzingis and Kanter on the floor, averaging 109.0 points/100 and posting a 52.1 percent effective field goal percentage. Both are about league-average marks. However, those minutes are likely against bench units. They’ll have their hands full against a Raptors team that leads the league with a +11.5 net rating at home. Michael Beasley will be tasked with running the offense without the two lead big men, which is quite a sentence in 2018. One underrated angle to monitor: Without Porzingis and Kanter this season, the Knicks have played at a pace of 93.2 possessions per 48 minutes. That would be a full 3.0 possessions/48 slower than the slowest team in the league (Grizzlies). The under here might be intriguing. — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: The Raptors rolled the Celtics 111-91 on Tuesday. Teams at home off a blowout win (20 or more points) facing a conference opponent with a losing record are 130-167-8 ATS (43.8%) since 2005. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: The Raptors are 15-9 ATS vs. teams below .500 this season — the most profitable team in the NBA (+$542 ROI on $100 bets). Toronto has excelled even when listed as a large favorite, going 11-5 ATS as a six-plus-point fave in this spot. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 3 to know: Over the past three seasons, the Raptors are 56-12 on the moneyline at home against the Eastern Conference — the second-most profitable team in the NBA. Toronto has won 17 of their past 19 at home against the East. — Evan Abrams
BOSTON CELTICS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS (-1.5) | O/U: 204.5
8 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: The Wizards were on a roll until their loss to the Sixers. They’ve historically hung with the Celtics. Boston’s offense is so pedestrian, they continue to be underdogs vs. teams with worse records and stars out. The Celtics are more disciplined; the Wizards may be more talented, overall.
Keep an eye on Bradley Beal guarding Jaylen Brown, who goes through a lot of off-ball screen movement. That can get tough for him. Also watch Tomas Satoransky, because he’s awesome. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: These teams first met on Christmas Day, and Washington stole the game on the road by eight. The Wizards were able to put up efficient offense, protecting the ball and garnering second chances.
Those things will be harder to do without point guard John Wall, and Boston’s defense remains elite, ranking first in both points/100 allowed in the half court and transition. Without Wall this season, the Wizards have been worse in both shot profile and shot efficiency. They’ve taken 4.1 percent fewer shots at the rim sans Wall, and they’ve shot 5.5 percent and 4.7 percent worse from the rim and 3-point line, respectively. That said, the Wizards are one of the few teams that can match up to Boston’s wing length, and they’ve been much better at home this year (+5.0 net rating). — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: Boston lost 111-91 in Toronto on Tuesday. Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics are 34-27-2 ATS (55.7%) after a double-digit loss. Since 2014 specifically — the first season the team made the playoffs — they’ve gone 25-14-2 ATS (64.1%). — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: Since Stevens became coach of the Celtics in 2013, Boston is 50-35-1 ATS (58.8%) playing on the road against teams over .500. Only Doc Rivers (60.2%) has been more profitable in that span. — Evan Abrams
CHARLOTTE HORNETS AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (-3.5) | O/U: 212.5
10 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Dwight Howard has been having a field day lately, and he should beast on Jusuf Nurkic. The Hornets are another team that could look wildly different after the deadline.
Watch out for whether Portland can get its defense back on track. They are 26th in defense since January 1. That should adjust as the schedule gets easier, but they can’t hang on in the West if that defense melts. – Matt Moore
What the metrics say: These teams met in mid-December, and it was an ugly offensive affair:
Both Charlotte and Portland particularly struggled around the rim, hitting just 43.5 and 44.4 percent of their shots there, respectively. Those marks both rank in the bottom-five percentile of games this season. Unfortunately for the visiting Hornets, things may not get easier in that regard: Portland ranks first this season in rim protection. Hornets’ sixth-ranked transition offense is usually a strength, but it could be negated in this matchup: The Blazers rank second in transition defense on the year. Portland is essentially the team the Hornets want to be; they’re just better. — Bryan Mears
Did you know? The Blazers have defeated the Hornets nine straight times at home dating back to January 2009. Portland is 8-1 ATS in those nine games, covering the spread by a whopping 11.6 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Trend to know: Kemba Walker has played six career games in Portland. He’s shot an abysmal 26-of-88 in those, averaging just 12.8 PPG. The Hornets are 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS during that span. — Evan Abrams
DALLAS MAVERICKS AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (-13) | O/U: 220.5
10:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: Are the Warriors ready to try? They didn’t try vs. the Kings a week ago. They didn’t try vs. the Nuggets on Saturday. They fell apart vs. OKC (who kicked their teeth in). Golden State just wants to get to the All-Star break, but Houston pulled within a half-game with their win Wednesday. They need to stop the nonsense. Dallas is bad enough to provide the opportunity to get a feel-good win.
But that requires Golden State to invest itself in it. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: This will be the fourth meeting this season between the Mavs and Warriors. Golden State blew them out in the first two, although the most recent affair was only a three-point win. The Mavs had some positive variance in that game: A whopping 43.0 percent of their shots were 3-pointers — that’s in the 94th percentile of all games this year — and they hit a silly 47.5 percent of them. Perhaps the Warriors are a bit vulnerable in that regard; they’ve allowed each of their five most recent opponents to shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. Or perhaps they’re just getting a bit unlucky during that span. They’ve lost three of four, which is unheard of in the Kerr era, and they’re due for a get-right game. — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: The Warriors can’t be trusted against bad opponents. Under Kerr, Golden State is 33-50 (39.8%) ATS vs. teams that have won less than 40 percent of their games. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: Golden State has lost two games in a row. This is just the eighth time that has happened in the past four regular seasons. The Warriors have gone 6-1 straight-up and 2-5 ATS in the next game. — John Ewing
Trend No. 3 to know: The Warriors are having their worst ATS season at Oracle since 2007. Golden State is 10-16 ATS at home, after going 70-51-2 ATS at home the previous three seasons. They’ve failed to cover seven of their past eight at home. — Evan Abrams
OKC THUNDER (-3.5) AT LA LAKERS | O/U: 217
10:30 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: OKC had a massive win Tuesday vs. the Warriors in the Bay. Then they flew to LA. They did not practice on Wednesday. LA Nightlife is looming over the Thunder like the dark skies when Zhoul shows up in Ghostbusters.
The Lakers are playing great basketball … but it’s all driven by their defense, which continues to be one of the weirdest trends this year.— Matt Moore
What the metrics say: The Lakers are on a three-game win streak, and they beat this very Thunder squad just two games ago in Oklahoma City. LA bottled OKC up defensively, allowing just 101.0 points/100, and the Thunder got to 104 points only because of hitting the offensive glass and getting out in transition frequently. The Thunder struggled in the half court, and LA has actually been solid in that area this season, ranking seventh in the league. OKC was in a tailspin before stunning the Warriors at Oracle on Tuesday, and they’ll need to keep Paul George aggressive. He had just four free-throw attempts a few games ago against the Lakers but 12 vs. the Warriors. The Thunder should win this one given their talent, but don’t be surprised if the Lakers keep this close at home. — Bryan Mears
DFS nugget: The Lakers will be shorthanded tonight after dealing Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. They’ll also still be without Lonzo Ball, which will make them particularly thin in the backcourt. One player who could see a bump in playing time today is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s been priced down to $4,700 on FanDuel and has averaged 0.81 fantasy points per minute with Clarkson and Ball off the court this season. — Matt LaMarca
Trend No. 1 to know: Is this a letdown spot for the Thunder? OKC is coming off a 125-105 thrashing of the Warriors. In the past four years, teams are 26-25 SU and 22-27-2 ATS after beating Golden State. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: The Thunder are 18-31 ATS as a favorite this season — the second-least profitable team in the NBA, just ahead of the Cavs. Of those 49 games as favorites, they’re 7-21 ATS against the Western Conference. — Evan Abrams
Top photo via Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports