This NBA season, I’m trying something new. I’m going to write a daily piece that highlights everything bettors and DFS players need to know for that night’s slate. For more on what to expect, read the inaugural piece.
Yesterday I finished 4-5 across spreads, totals and props for -0.48 units. While I don’t want to get sucked into the past, I think it’s worth reviewing things each day.
The best way to do that is to look at closing line value (CLV), which is just measuring whether the line you bet moved for or against you by closing.
- I bet Warriors +8 and it closed at Warriors +9 (lost)
- I bet Spurs-Wolves under 227 and it closed at 228.5 (lost)
- I bet Clippers +2 and it closed at +2 (lost)
- I bet Wizards-Celtics over 229.5 and it closed at 230 (won)
- I bet Grizzlies-Hornets over 221.5 and it closed at 221 (won)
- I bet 76ers-Magic over 206.5 and it closed at 207.5 (won)
- I bet Magic -1 and it closed at Magic -2.5 (won)
I had a bit of a mixed night in terms of CLV, gaining a bunch in the Magic game but losing some at the last second with the Warriors and in the Spurs-Wolves game. Those held pretty much all day and moved right at the last second.
The most interesting movement (or lack thereof) was in that Clippers-Rockets game. Kawhi Leonard was ultimately ruled in, which was personally surprising to me for reasons I detailed yesterday.
Long story short: Kawhi is not playing back-to-backs, and the Clippers seemingly have prioritized playing him against the weaker team in that situation, plus they are incentivized to get Kawhi and Paul George (who is reportedly making his debut tonight) reps together.
I thought it set up for Kawhi resting yet again on the front leg of the back-to-back, as he’s done in each of the Clippers’ first two B2Bs. I thought the market would be in line with my thoughts on the situation, but apparently it was not yet again. The line did not budge at all following the Kawhi news; it closed at the same number as before the injury news.
There are a couple interesting takeaways here. First, the market apparently thinks these teams as they stood last night — with Kawhi but no George and no Landry Shamet; no Eric Gordon or Danuel House for the Rockets — were even on a neutral court or the Rockets slightly better. I was skeptical that was true given the teams’ play this year, although the Rockets ultimately won this game largely thanks to a free throw disparity.
Second, it seems the market does not really know what to do with the Kawhi situation on these back-to-backs. I was shocked they listed the Bucks +1 last week when Kawhi was likely to rest, and that number moved to Bucks -6.5 after the Kawhi news.
I thought yesterday they’d hedge a bit and account for the uncertainty, but the lack of line movement showed that to be false. They were fully accounting on him playing, which I think was risky. If Kawhi didn’t play, they would have been wide open to getting hammered on the Houston side.
This is something to monitor moving forward — how the market is going to treat load management. Yesterday, the Magic moved from -1 to -2.5 after the Joel Embiid news, which suggested they accounted for the uncertainty and hedged the line. They didn’t with Kawhi, which is curious. This will definitely be a focus of mine moving forward in this piece, as either way it’ll provide some value if we’re able to predict these situations.
Anyway, let’s get to today’s six-game slate and find some angles. This is a long post, so use the jump links below to skip ahead to whatever you’re looking for.
Note: For updates, see the chat at the bottom of this post.
- Overall: 69-52-1
- Spreads: 21-22-1
- Totals: 14-10
- Moneylines: 5-0
- Props: 28-20
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Betting Odds and Analysis
- 6 p.m. ET: Miami Heat (-4) at Cleveland Cavaliers, 215
- 8 p.m. ET: LA Clippers (-3.5) at New Orleans Pelicans, 234
- 8 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks (-7.5) at New York Knicks, 215
- 8 p.m. ET: Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks (-11.5), 229
- 9 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns (-8), 228
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets (-7.5), 223.5
Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
Let’s run through a couple situations for today.
Nets at Nuggets
Note: Kyrie Irving has been upgraded to probable. If he’s ruled out, the below obviously applies. If he plays, this game is a stay away for me.
Kyrie Irving is questionable with a shoulder injury, and Caris LeVert is out several weeks with a thumb injury. That’s … not great. If Irving is ultimately unable to go, that leaves Spencer Dinwiddie as the sole positive playmaker on this team going against a Nuggets squad that ranks sixth in defensive efficiency so far this year.