As mentioned in our inaugural Summer League piece last Friday, it’s been highly profitable the past two seasons 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
Friday is when Summer League betting gets really fun. It’s the third day of the playoffs, and this is different than the regular NBA playoffs. Not only is it single elimination, but it also includes a consolation bracket. Some of these squads aren’t really playing for anything (were they ever really, though?), and they’ve already had a good look at their future prospects. We could have some surprise scratches of good young players, and handicapping motivation is going to be quite tough.
Yesterday, dogs went 4-4 and overs went 3-5. However, the two dogs I was most excited about — the 76ers (+7) and Bucks (+2) — not only covered, but won their games outright. The Heat-Pelicans game, which had a very high total of 178, still shot-out with 216 points.
All this to say: I think sportsbooks are catching up to the overall dogs/overs trends, so we’ll have to continue to pick our spots here. But dogs might be more intriguing today with all of these teams in the consolation bracket.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers (-5) | O/U: 175.5
4 p.m. ET
- The Nets have been one of the worst teams in Vegas this summer. They’re the only 0-4 team, and their -9.0 point differential is behind only the Warriors’ mark of 9.5. The Pacers are 1-3 but have a better point differential of -1.0. Again, all of these games are part of the consolation bracket.
- The Nets have Jarrett Allen on their roster, who should be their center of the future, but … that’s about it. They lost by seven to the 4-0 Rockets on Wednesday to get slotted into the consolation side, and it was mostly because they lack any shot-creators. They turned it over a whopping 26 times, and they turned it over 23 times on Monday against the Timberwolves. Not great.
- The Pacers have been better than their record this summer but got Trae Young’d in the first round. As I mentioned in my piece yesterday, he completely took over the final part of the game, which happens sometimes with good players. This team still has superior talent to the Nets, especially at the guard spot with rookie Aaron Holiday. Point-guard play is so important in Vegas.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. New York Knicks (-1) | O/U: 180.5
4:30 p.m. ET
- The Pelicans are 2-2 in Vegas with a solid +6.8 point differential. The Knicks are 1-3 with a poor -6.8 point differential.
- The Pelicans lost yesterday to a 1-2 Heat team that didn’t play its best player in big man Bam Adebayo. New Orleans played just nine players, and three of its starters went for 32 minutes. Cheick Diallo looked awesome, going 9-of-12 from the field for 28 points and 13 rebounds. He hit all 10 of his free throws, which is a great sign as well. He’ll need another big game to hang with this talented Knicks squad.
- Speaking of the Knicks, they lost by seven yesterday to a now 3-1 Boston squad. Frank Ntilikina still didn’t suit up, but they got stellar play from rookie center Mitchell Robinson, who went for 17 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, and six blocks. I’ll say it: I wouldn’t be surprised at all if MitchRob ends up better than first overall pick DeAndre Ayton.
- Kevin Knox really struggled with his shooting, going 5-of-20 with five turnovers as well. The Pels are first this summer with 100.8 points per game, and I’m expecting a better offensive showing from Knox and the Knicks. I don’t mind the over despite it being high at 180.5.
Lean: Knicks -1, Over 180.5
Washington Wizards vs. Dallas Mavericks (-2.5) | O/U: 162.5
6 p.m. ET
- The Wizards are 1-3 in Vegas with a subpar -5.2 point differential. The Mavericks, meanwhile, are 2-2 with a +3.2 point differential.
- The Wizards lost by 15 on Wednesday to a talented Clippers squad, and their starters got completely waxed. All five guys posted plus-minuses of -18 or worse, and that’ll happen against a team with such as the Clips that has top-level talent. The jury’s still out on Troy Brown, a 2018 first-round draft pick, and it’ll likely take him a while to get adjusted. He’s still only 18 years old.
- The Mavericks potentially had a loaded roster to start Summer League with rookie Luka Doncic and sophomore Dennis Smith Jr. in the fold. Luka never got to suit up, however, and DSJ has apparently already graduated from playing after a couple games. He didn’t play in Wednesday’s loss to the Bulls, and I’m not expecting him to go in a consolation game like this one.
Lean: Wizards +2.5, Over 162.5
San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns (-2.5) | O/U: 160.5
6:30 p.m. ET
- The Spurs are 1-3 in Vegas with a -4.8 point differential. The Suns have been great this summer, going 3-1 with a +7.8 point differential. Unfortunately for Phoenix, its one loss came last night in the first round against the 76ers.
- The Spurs lost as the favorite yesterday to the Bucks, and all of their flaws are still right there today. I remained concerned with the play of Lonnie Walker, who scored just five points in 26 minutes yesterday. Rookies can overcome poor SL showings, but it’s his style of play that’s sticking out to me: He attempted two 3-pointers two games ago, and he went 0-of-3 yesterday. I want more floor-stretching than that out a true SG.
- The Suns are loaded with guys such as Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Dragan Bender, but they lost as seven-point favorites to an intriguing 76ers roster yesterday. Ayton struggled, turning it over six times in 30 minutes, and Bridges and Bender combined for just 13 shot attempts. This is easily a better roster than the Spurs’ — more than 2.5 points certainly — but monitor news carefully to ensure those three youngins are going to suit up now that they’re in the losers’ bracket.
Lean: Monitor for news, take Suns -2.5 if the young guys play
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Denver Nuggets (-2.5) | O/U: 157.5
8 p.m. ET
- The Wolves are 2-2 in Vegas with a +3.5 point differential. The Nuggets are 3-1 but are right below Minnesota with a +3.2 point differential.
- The Wolves managed just 59 measly points in their opening-round loss Wednesday to the Detroit Pistons. This team isn’t super loaded with knock-down shooters, but it should still regress a bit from its 2-of-25 three-point showing last game. Keita Bates-Diop went 1-for-9, and fellow intriguing rookie Josh Okogie went 0-of-4. That will hopefully reverse a bit today.
- The Nuggets oddly lost their first-round game to a pretty terrible Raptors squad. It was mostly due to their bench, which went 9-of-24 from the field. They have some talent with guys such as Malik Beasley, who has been up and down this summer, and they should also bounce back. Which team will hit positive regression the hardest? I don’t know, but I’ll take the points.
Lean: Wolves +2.5
Orlando Magic (-2) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder | O/U: 161.5
8:30 p.m. ET
- The Magic are 2-2 in Vegas with a +3.2 point differential. The Thunder are also 2-2 but have a slightly superior point differential of +4.0.
- The Magic lost by five yesterday, although they didn’t play any of their best guys: Both Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac sat, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve played their last minutes in Vegas. If so, that definitely changes the outlook of this game, as Isaac especially was easily their most dominant player.
- The Thunder lost to a poor Grizzlies team in the first round, and they aren’t exactly loaded with talent either. Sophomore Terrance Ferguson really struggled last game, going just 1-of-6 from the field and 0-2 from the 3-point line in 29 minutes. That’s not a good sign at all, especially against a Memphis squad without a whole lot of NBA talent minus Jaren Jackson Jr. If you’re going to take a game off today, this should be the one if the Magic young guys don’t suit up again.
Sacramento Kings (-1.5) vs. Golden State Warriors | O/U: 160
10 p.m. ET
- The Kings are 1-3 in Vegas with a -4.0 point differential. The Warriors are 1-3 and own the summer’s worst point differential of -9.5.
- The Kings lost in the first round to a Cavs squad that sat NBA rotation players Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman. Top-10 draft pick Collin Sexton had a nice game, going 9-of-15 from the field for 25 points in 25 minutes. The Kings have played a bit below their talent level this summer with guys such as Harry Giles and Justin Jackson starting, so we’ll see if they can end the weekend on a high note.
- The Dubs have been perhaps the worst team this summer, especially after sophomore Jordan Bell left. The remaining roster doesn’t have a ton of NBA talent on it, and it’s been consistently outclassed as a result. The Warriors got smashed by 18 against the Hornets in the first round, and I don’t expect a win or cover here if the Kings play their young guys.
Lean: Kings -1.5, assuming no scratches
Atlanta Hawks vs. LA Clippers (-2.5) | O/U: 172.5
10:30 p.m. ET
- The Hawks are 2-3 in Vegas with a -6.2 point differential. The Clippers are also 2-3 but boast a better point differential of -1.6.
- The Hawks got a surprising win in the first round Wednesday thanks to brilliant play from Trae Young down the stretch. They then had to play a super-talented, rested Blazers squad, without Trae, on a back-to-back. They got predictably demolished, 95-69. John Collins is done for the summer, and I have no clue what the Hawks will do with Trae. If he’s out, it could get brutal.
- The Clips lost in the first round, although they didn’t really try: They rested first-round draft pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has been their best player this summer. Other first-round pick Jerome Robinson didn’t suit up. For this game more than any other today, get news on those guys plus Trae. There will be a ton of value on the spread if we get word on who will play before the tip.
Lean: Watch for news