- The NBA Summer League circuit in Vegas continues Monday with 10 games.
- Betting underdogs and overs has been profitable in the past, based on data from BetLabs. However, those trends have not held so far this season.
- Our NBA experts break down tonight’s Summer League games and give their takes on which teams to bet.
As mentioned in our inaugural Summer League piece last Friday, over the past two seasons it has been highly profitable to bet underdogs and overs.
- Favorites: 66-117-5 ATS, -30.0% ROI, -$5,636 lost for a $100/unit bettor
- Dogs: 117-66-5 ATS, +22.5% ROI, +$4,227 won for a $100/unit bettor
- Over: 107-77-4, +12.0% ROI, +$2,252 won for a $100/unit bettor
- Under: 77-107-4, -19.4% ROI, -$3,638 lost for a $100/unit bettor
However, that hasn’t held true so far in Vegas. Underdogs have gone just 13-15-1 against-the-spread, while overs have oddly gone just 12-18.
I think dogs could still be the wise overall choice over the remainder of the tournament, especially as teams rest some of their best players. As we know less about players, and as the talent pool dips, it’s harder to handicap a game. The value will likely be in taking the points, even if that hasn’t completely been the case so far.
The overs are more curious, however. I’m honestly not sure what is going on. There’s been only one major difference between the past two years and this summer in terms of rules: The shot clock is being reset to 14 instead of 24 after an offensive rebound. That should work to speed up the game, not slow it down. The fact that overs have gone 12-18 is odd, so over the next couple of days, I will definitely be monitoring whether that reverses due to variance or whether these teams are just trying more defensively than usual.
Anyway, let’s get to the 10 games on today’s slate:
New Orleans Pelicans (-2) vs. Detroit Pistons | O/U: 164.5
3 p.m. ET
- New Orleans has the No. 1 offense in Vegas at more than 1.05 points per possession, and Detroit is dead last at 0.665. This number’s up to 4.5 in Vegas at the Westgate for good reason.
- I want to fade a favorite by more than four points, but New Orleans has been great — even after Frank Jackson went down with an injury.
- Detroit is one of the lowliest squads in Summer League. I’m staying away from the line, but running toward the moneyline. – Matt Moore
Lean: Pelicans moneyline -185
Toronto Raptors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (-4) | O/U: 167.5
3:30 p.m. ET
- This Raptors squad is not very talented, which is a big reason why they’re 0-2 to start their Vegas campaign. OG Anunoby is the only player who will be in the main team’s rotation come October.
- They’re trying to feature Anunoby, who profiles more as a 3-and-D player than a primary creator. He’s struggled in that role (although he’s had some intriguing flashes), going 5-of-15 from the field and 1-of-4 from the 3-point line yesterday against the Timberwolves.
- That said, the Thunder haven’t been too impressive this week, either. They’re 1-1, but their win Saturday came against an atrocious Brooklyn squad that continues to rest its only two rotation players in Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.
- OG should be the best player on the floor today, and he played a team-high 26 minutes last game. Despite being in a different role than he’ll be during the regular season, he could provide value at the plus odds. – Bryan Mears
Lean: Raptors +4
Indiana Pacers (-1) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers | O/U: 169.5
5 p.m. ET
- The Pacers moved to 1-1 in Vegas with an 86-76 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. TJ Leaf rebounded after an atrocious first game, scoring 17 points in 30 minutes on efficient 7-of-13 shooting.
- As Matt Moore mentioned in this piece, 2018 first-round pick Aaron Holiday has shown flashes over the first two games. He grabbed seven boards and dished out seven assists, which is particularly impressive in a free-flowing environment that doesn’t exactly lend itself to assist opportunities for point guards.
- Cleveland didn’t have a bad game last outing despite losing to Wendell Carter Jr. and the Bulls. Ante Zizic, who will be an important part of the squad this season, dominated with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Collin Sexton continues to struggle with efficiency, as will likely be the case throughout his career.
- The Pacers have scored a bunch, putting up 89 and 86 points in their first two games. The over is intriguing here. – Bryan Mears
Lean: Over 169.5
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers (-1) | O/U: 168.5
5:30 p.m. ET
- The Sixers are still being overrated by the oddsmakers. They are dead last in defense per possession in Summer League and middle of the pack offensively.
- Furkan Korkmaz went for 40 in the first game and then settled all the way back down to earth in the second game.
- It’s really weird being here and the Sixers not being overloaded with talent — especially since they’ve had all these high-level draft picks over the past four years.
- Washington got a double-double from Troy Brown on Sunday. If they pull Brown, hammer the Sixers. The Sixers have been a public team in Vegas, but the Wizards have been the better team. – Matt Moore
Lean: Wizards +1, Over 168.5
Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics (PK) | O/U: 170.5
7 p.m. ET
- The Celtics have been hot and cold to start their SL campaign. They have intriguing talent in guys such as Guerschon Yabusele, Semi Ojeleye, and Jabari Bird. The latter was particularly impressive in their last game — a loss to the Nuggets — but the others weren’t able to get anything going. Robert Williams sat out with tendinitis in his left knee.
- Boston is definitely one of the more talented teams in Vegas, but the Hornets have the strongest starting five going. Their unit of Devonte Graham, Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, and Willy Hernangomez includes all players who should be in the rotation for Charlotte come October — no other team can even come close to saying that.
- The Hornets are 2-0, and they still have upside to get better. They shot just 5-of-20 (25%) from the 3-point line yesterday against the Heat and still won. I’m taking the talented Hornets roster to keep rolling here, especially at a pick’em. – Matt Moore
Lean: Hornets pick’em, Over 170.5
Golden State Warriors (-1) vs. Dallas Mavericks | O/U: 165.5
7:30 p.m. ET
- There continue to be rumblings about Luka Doncic playing, but since the buyout from Real Madrid hasn’t been announced, the chances are almost nil. If Doncic is out, there’s a good chance the Mavs finally shut down Dennis Smith Jr.; if that happens, jump on Golden State heavy.
- The Mavs have so many guys with NBA experience on their roster but just haven’t been great, ranking 26th in defense and 22nd in offense on a per-possession basis.
- The Warriors lost a tough one to Houston Sunday but continue to be one of the better teams in Summer League. – Matt Moore
Lean: Warriors -1
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Denver Nuggets (-1.5) | O/U: 160.5
9 p.m. ET
- Hot point guard alert: Travis Trice has 27 points on 20 possessions in Summer League play for Milwaukee.
- Denver’s offense has been mediocre, but they get after it defensively and beat a really good Celtics team Saturday.
- Malik Beasley won’t play for the Nuggets.
- Milwaukee’s offense makes the underdog play tempting, but here’s the kicker. The Nuggets finally got a day off on Sunday, giving them a fresh day. That can be a double-edged sword in Vegas, but I like the extra rest for a Nuggets team that seems to very much want to actually win this thing.
- The under is 3-0 between these two teams in Vegas.
Lean: Nuggets (-1.5), Under 160.5
Brooklyn Nets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (-2) | O/U: 164.5
11 p.m. ET
- For as much as I’ve bashed the Wolves lately for re-signing Derrick Rose and not featuring future stud point guard Tyus Jones, I need to give credit when it’s due. Wing Keita Bates-Diop, who surprisingly fell in the 2018 draft to the Wolves at 48th overall, has looked outstanding. Second-rounders almost never work out, but he looks the part, scoring 24 points last game and doing a little bit of everything. He had 11 boards, hit three 3-pointers, and added two assists, two blocks, and a steal. Sign me up.
- Josh Okogie, the Wolves’ first-round pick, has also looked solid, and former Dookie and journeyman Amile Jefferson continues to be a Vegas standout. He had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and the smart player should keep on providing value in this summer environment.
- Meanwhile, the Nets are pretty darn bad. Their most intriguing players, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, have yet to suit up. Theo Pinson, who is a national champion and a general hero (I’m a UNC fan, if you haven’t caught that by now), is their main player. Fade the Nets again. – Bryan Mears
Lean: Timberwolves +2
LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets (-1.5) | O/U: 170.5
11:30 p.m. ET 11:30 p.m. ET
- The Rockets are 2-0 to start their Vegas campaign, and they got a solid win Saturday against the Warriors thanks to a nice game from RJ Hunter, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points in 25 minutes. You might remember Hunter from the 2015 NCAA Tournament, when he hit crazy shots to help 14-seed Georgia State upset No. 3 seed Baylor.
- Outside of Hunter, however, the Rockets went just 6-of-22 (27.2%) from behind the arc. Guys such as Trevon Duval and De’Anthony Melton have showed really nice flashes in Summer League, but they’re a little light on shooting.
- The Clippers rebounded yesterday to get to 1-1 in Vegas, mostly thanks to impressive performances from their young, soon-to-be rotation players Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and sophomore Sindarius Thornwell.
- The Clips were atrocious shooting the ball in their first game, going 30.7% from the field against Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, and the Warriors. But that changed in their second game, during which they put up 88 points. The Rockets have gone for 92 and 87 in their two games. I like the over here. – Bryan Mears
Lean: Over 170.5