- The NBA Summer League circuit in Vegas continues Tuesday with five 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.
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 wasn’t the case for the first several days. Before yesterday, underdogs had gone just 13-15-1 against-the-spread, while overs went 12-18 despite a rule change that should speed up the game. Things got back to normal a bit yesterday, with underdogs going 5-5 and overs going 6-4. There are some large spreads today — the Blazers are 6.5-point favorites, for example — so we could see a shift in value toward dogs again.
Anyway, let’s get to the five games on today’s slate.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5) | O/U: 168
4 p.m. ET
- The Spurs are now 2-1 in Vegas but find themselves as large 6.5-point dogs (largest of the summer) against a Blazers squad that has dominated its way to a 2-0 record.
- San Antonio is definitely giving its 2018 first-round draft pick, shooting guard Lonnie Walker out of Miami, run in Vegas. Walker played a team-high 32 minutes in their Sunday victory over Washington and scored 14 points on subpar 5-of-13 shooting. A troubling indicator was him taking just two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. As a shooting guard, that’s an issue.
- That’s been problematic for San Antonio in general. They took just 14 three-pointers on Sunday and 19 in their previous game. They had 25 in their first game, but some of those 3-point heavy players haven’t gotten run of late. They can win without outside shooting, but the room for error is much smaller.
- Portland has been dominant through two games, winning 93-78 against Utah and then 85-68 over Atlanta. They are loaded with rotation players in the starting lineup such as Jake Layman, Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins and Wade Baldwin. Not to mention the bench with guys such as K.J. McDaniels, former lotto pick Georgios Papagiannis, Gary Trent and Anfernee Simons. The difference between the rosters is huge.
Lean: Blazers -6.5 although I’m still scared to bet favorites, especially this large
Utah Jazz (-2) vs. Miami Heat | O/U: 171
4:30 p.m. ET
- Utah is 2-1 so far in Vegas, while the Miami Heat are 1-2 after an opening-day win against Marvin Bagley and the Sacramento Kings.
- Georges Niang and Tony Bradley have been excellent for the Jazz, albeit in somewhat limited minutes. The latter has been incredibly efficient from the field, shooting 13-of-15 (87%) over his past two games.
- Miami’s best player (by far), center Bam Adebayo, will return to the lineup today after getting last game off to rest. The Heat were blown out in their second game, leading to him playing just 19 minutes, but in their first game on Thursday he played 31 minutes and put up 14 points and nine rebounds. If he and Derrick Jones Jr. get more time together in the frontcourt, they’ll be much better than they were on Sunday.
Lean: Heat +2 with Adebayo back
Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls (-3.5) | O/U: 163.5
6 p.m. ET
- John Collins was perhaps the best player in all of Summer League, which is why the Hawks have now sent him home. In the opener, he went for 30 points and eight rebounds. Perhaps most importantly, he went 4-of-7 from behind the arc. He’s already incredibly skilled down low, and if he can add a legit pick-and-pop game, he’ll be a huge asset for the development of Trae Young.
- Speaking of Trae, he’s obviously been disappointing, especially with regard to his shooting efficiency. He went 3-of-16 in Game 1 and then 4-of-12 in Game 2. In Game 3, he left after just nine minutes with a quad contusion. It’s unclear if he’ll play, but considering this is just Summer League, I would guess not.
- Chicago is 1-1 in Vegas; both were low-scoring affairs. Lotto pick Wendell Carter Jr. has shown immense flashes in a variety of ways, especially defensively. There were major questions about the Duke bigs leading into the draft — Coach K went to a zone because they couldn’t play man — but I think the issue is overstated with Carter; it was more of a Bagley issue. Carter picked up four blocks last game, and he’s smart enough to figure things out on that end of the floor.
Lean: Bulls -3.5
Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies (-3) | O/U: 162
6:30 p.m. ET
- The Kings have fallen to 0-3 in Vegas despite having a talented roster with guys such as Bagley, Harry Giles, Frank Mason and Justin Jackson. Bagley has been shut down for the remainder of Summer League with a pelvic bone bruise. It will be interesting to see whether his Rookie of the Year odds move after a subpar showing this summer.
- Memphis hasn’t been great this summer either, notably getting smashed last game by the Orlando Magic, 86-56. The Grizzlies shot just 26.2% from the field and 22.2% from the arc. Hyped rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. struggled in his 22 minutes, going 1-of-9 from the field for just five points.
- The Grizzlies’ largest issue is lack of a dynamic point guard or shot-creator. Kobi Simmons and Jevon Carter combined for eight turnovers last game; the Grizzlies had 18 as a team. It’s very difficult to win in a Summer League environment without a high-level creator, and they just don’t have one on their roster currently.
Lean: Kings +3
LA Lakers (-1.5) vs. New York Knicks | O/U: 169.5
8:30 p.m. ET
- The Lakers are 2-1 in Vegas after eking out a win Sunday night against the Chicago Bulls. Josh Hart and Moe Wagner continue to stand out, and both should have a spot in the rotation come October at this rate.
- Monitor the news for Hart: Apparently the Lakers’ plan was to originally play him just one game in Sacramento and one game in Vegas, but he’s already played two of three in Vegas, and he stated yesterday he wants to continue to play.
- The Knicks are 1-1, and they’ve had no issues putting up points, going for 91 against Atlanta and 85 against a good defensive team in Utah. Top-10 pick a couple weeks ago, Kevin Knox continues to show very high-level flashes, and I haven’t seen word of him not playing.
- It’s not just Knox: Frank Ntilikina has looked solid in Vegas, and Mitchell Robinson has been an absolute freak. He has a lot of personal question marks, which is why he fell in the draft, but if the Knicks can keep him motivated and tease out his potential, he’ll be one of the steals of the draft. He has the talent of a top center in the league.
Lean: Knicks +1.5