Betting Trends, Analysis, Prospects to Watch for NBA Summer League Day 1

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Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett

  • The 2019 Vegas NBA Summer League begins today at 3 p.m. ET, and it's headlined by Pelicans vs. Knicks at 9:30 p.m. ET for Zion Williamson vs. RJ Barrett.
  • Below we'll walk through each game, giving prospects to watch, betting trends to know, analysis on the matchups and more.

Vegas NBA Summer League is finally here, headlined tonight by the matchup of the summer: Zion Williamson and the Pelicans vs. RJ Barrett and the Knicks.

There’s a ton of games on the schedule today, though, and below I’ll walk through each, giving prospects to watch, betting trends to know, analysis and any leans on the game I might have.

Note: Odds via Westgate. Odds seem to vary greatly depending on the book, so make sure to shop around for the best line.

Detroit Pistons (-6) vs. Croatia, 165.5 — 3 p.m. ET

  • Prospect to watch: Sekou Doumbouya (Pistons)
  • Betting Trend to Know: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Analysis: The Croatia team for this tournament features no current NBA players, while the Pistons feature several prospects, including 2019 first round pick Doumbouya, as well as Bruce Brown, Khryi Thomas and Svi Mykhailiuk.
  • Betting lean: Pass.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks (-1.5), 168.5 — 3:30 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Zhaire Smith (76ers), Matisse Thybulle (76ers), DJ Wilson (Bucks), Sterling Brown (Bucks)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: Unpopular dogs at Summer League have produced a 22% ROI historically. The 76ers are currently +108 on the ML.
  • Betting Trend to Know #3: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up a half point since opening.
  • Analysis: Both of these teams have several NBA-caliber players, with the 76ers’ Smith being the guy with the highest long-term upside. That said, the Bucks’ main guys, Wilson and Brown, will have the most NBA experience on the court.
  • Betting lean: 76ers +1.5, Over 168.5

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (+2.5), 170.5 — 5 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Jarrett Culver (Wolves), Josh Okogie (Wolves), Darius Garland (Cavs), Dylan Windler (Cavs), Jaron Blossomgame (Cavs), Kevin Porter (Cavs)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up 5.5 points since opening.
  • Analysis: The Wolves’ two best players are Culver and Okogie, the latter of whom got a ton of run in the NBA this year. That said, both of those players are more defense-first types, and the Wolves will likely want to give them some on-ball experience, which may or may not go well. The Cavs will give the keys to Garland, and they have more shooters.
  • Betting lean: Cavs +2.5

Miami Heat (-4) vs. China, 170.5 — 5:30 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: KZ Okpala (Heat), Tyler Herro (Heat)
  • Betting Trend to Know: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Analysis: The China team features no current NBA players, and most of them are quite old in relation to the Heat’s younger prospects. Five of their players, for reference, are at least 30 years old. The Heat won the California Classic this past Friday and will look to keep momentum in Vegas.
  • Betting lean: Pass.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets (-1.5), 174.5 — 7 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Cam Payne (Mavs), Jarrett Allen (Nets), Nic Claxton (Nets), Rodions Kurucs (Nets), Theo Pinson (Nets)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: Unpopular dogs at Summer League have produced a 22% ROI historically. The Mavs are currently +110 on the ML.
  • Betting Trend to Know #3: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up a full point since opening.
  • Analysis: The Mavs have an NBA-seasoned guard in Payne, although he’s disappointed at every stop. The Nets team is loaded, especially with center Allen, who should easily be the best player on the floor when he’s out there. (One piece of news to monitor: Allen hurt his thumb and might not play.)
  • Betting lean: I don’t like taking favorites, but this Nets team is too good if Allen plays. Nets -1.5 and over 174.5.

LA Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls (-2), 170 — 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Talen Horton-Tucker (Lakers), Chandler Hutchison (Bulls), Coby White (Bulls), Shaq Harrison (Bulls)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up 2.5 points since opening.
  • Analysis: The Lakers are old and feature a lot of guys playing overseas hoping to make a splash in the states. The Bulls, meanwhile, feature at least three NBA-level guys, headlined by top-10 pick White.
  • Betting lean: The talent on the court will be underwhelming, so I’m not expecting a ton of defense. Further, White should have the keys for the Bulls, and he’s coming from Roy Williams’ up-tempo system at UNC. Over 170.

Charlotte Hornets (-2) vs. Golden State Warriors, 171.5 — 9 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Devonte Graham (Hornets, Dwayne Bacon (Hornets), Miles Bridges (Hornets), Damian Jones (Warriors), Eric Paschall (Warriors), Jacob Evans (Warriors), Jordan Poole (Warriors)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: Unpopular dogs at Summer League have produced a 22% ROI historically. The Warriors are currently +110 on the ML.
  • Betting Trend to Know #3: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up 3 points since opening.
  • Analysis: Bridges and Jones are the highest-profile players in this game, and the Warriors had a good showing at the California Classic last week. Bridges should be the best player on the floor, but both squads are relatively deep with fringe NBA talent.
  • Betting lean: Pass.

New York Knicks (-4) vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 175.5 — 9:30 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Allonzo Trier (Knicks), Kadeem Allen (Knicks), Kevin Knox (Knicks), Mitchell Robinson (Knicks), RJ Barrett (Knicks), Frank Jackson (Pels), Jalen Adams (Pels), Jaxson Hayes (Pels), Kenrich Williams (Pels), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Pels), Zion Williamson (Pels)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: Unpopular dogs at Summer League have produced a 22% ROI historically. The Pelicans are currently +153 on the ML.
  • Betting Trend to Know #3: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up a full point since opening.
  • Analysis: Man, these squads are absolutely loaded with NBA players, both with fringe guys and high-end prospects like RJ and Zion. The Knicks are rightful favorites to win Summer League, as they feature not just Barrett but proven NBA commodities in Robinson and Knox as well. This is a juggernaut matchup and definitely the one to watch.
  • Betting lean: The Knicks roster is clearly better, but the Pels aren’t short on talent, either. Plus Zion might come out and make a statement. I’ll take plus odds on the moneyline for that chance. Also over 175.5.

Orlando Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs (-3.5), 170.5 — 11 p.m. ET

  • Prospects to watch: Mo Bamba (Magic), Keldon Johnson (Spurs), Lonnie Walker (Spurs), Luka Samanic (Spurs)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up a full point since opening.
  • Analysis: The Magic will feature high draft pick Bamba plus a lot of journeyman; they don’t have any teenage players on the roster. The Spurs, meanwhile, will look to feature Walker, who they invested a first-round pick in last season and has theoretical high upside as a shooter.
  • Betting lean: The Spurs went 2-1 last week, eventually falling to the Jazz in a game they didn’t play Luka Samanic or Keldon Johnson. I’ll pass on this game, as there are question marks about several of these prospects.

Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets (-1.5), 171 — 11:30 p.m. ET

  • Prospect to watch: Cam Johnson (Suns), Elie Okobo (Suns), Ty Jerome (Suns), Jarred Vanderbilt (Nuggets), Michael Porter (Nuggets)
  • Betting Trend to Know #1: Underdogs in the Summer League are historically 171-108-7 (61%) ATS, good for a 18.0% ROI.
  • Betting Trend to Know #2: It has been profitable in SL to follow movement on overs. This total has moved up 2.5 points since opening.
  • Analysis: It’s unclear if we’ll get the Nuggets debut of Michael Porter, who has looked good, albeit in Twitter practice videos. He reportedly tweaked his knee in practice. The Suns roster has a bunch of capable ball-handlers, including Okobo, Jerome and Jared Harper.
  • Betting lean: The Nuggets are likely favored because of Porter, but this Suns team is set up with ball-handlers to be intriguing in Vegas. I’ll take the points on this one, especially if Porter can’t go.
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