NBA Situational Sports Betting Tips November 20-26, 2017
By Adam Burke
Holiday weeks are interesting in the NBA. Unlike Christmas, a day when marquee games are spread throughout the day, the league is dark on Thanksgiving. What that means, however, is that a lot of teams play on Wednesday and Friday, so we’ll have some strong situational betting angles to consider.
Our quest to find value in the NBA focuses on the schedule. There are so many built-in spots to consider that may or may not be incorporated into the betting odds, but sometimes there is no way to put enough emphasis on these situations. You have to respect the power ratings and put up a number that induces the most balanced action possible. Because of that, we can use the schedule dynamics to our advantage.
Here are the NBA situational betting spots for the week ending November 26:
Monday November 20
Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons – The Pistons have been an outstanding home team at the new and shiny Little Caesars Arena. The Cavaliers have been anything but outstanding this season. With Detroit’s home-court dominance and Cleveland’s everywhere struggles, we could see a little bit of line value on the Cavaliers here. Cleveland has played when it has wanted to play and that typically means against upper echelon competition and division foes. This is both, though it remains to be seen how long the Pistons will be among the league leaders. Expect Cleveland to show up here.
Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs – Standalone road games are a big enough challenge in the NBA without the fact that you’re going to get blown out. The Hawks head to the Lone Star State to interrupt a long string of home contests with a road tilt against the Spurs. San Antonio should be able to name the score in this spot. The Spurs have two days off after playing the Thunder the previous Friday, so they are plenty rested and don’t have any look-ahead situations. This is a “hide the women and children” type of game.
Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks are in a pretty good spot at home on Monday night against the Wizards. This is the back end of a back-to-back for the Wizards and is the fourth game in six nights, all in different cities, for Washington. Milwaukee has a day off to get ready for this one and it is the last game before a road trip out west. Washington will get in late from playing in Toronto. The Bucks are a bit of an underachiever to this point in the season and this is a good spot for them to grab a notable win.
Los Angeles Clippers at New York Knicks – It turns out that life without Chris Paul isn’t that easy after all. The Clippers started hot, but have progressively tailed off without CP3 at the helm. The third road game in four nights on this Eastern Conference roadie features the Knicks, who are not a very good team. The Knicks have two days off before this one, so they should be ready to go, but this is the game with an off day for the Clippers. It will be interesting to see how the oddsmakers line this one. I think you’ll get some good insight into how these two teams stack up based on that number. Context clues in the line are very important and this line should have a story to tell.
Tuesday November 21
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers are in a great spot on Monday night. They’re wrapping up a long homestand, so they’ve been able to enjoy the comforts of home for over a week. The Bulls have a night off in Los Angeles to get in some trouble prior to this game. For a team going nowhere this season, this is hardly a business trip to Hollywood. It’s Lakers or nothing for me in this spot, even with a line that is likely going to make you uncomfortable. Interestingly enough, this is the only game on Tuesday.
Wednesday November 22
Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings – Unlike Tuesday night, this spot is the Lakers’ opposition or nothing. The Kings have been awful to this point in the year, but is there a worse spot for a team than a standalone road game the day before a holiday? Allow me to answer for you. No. This is as bad as it gets. To top it off, the Lakers are the “road” team at the STAPLES Center on Monday against the Clippers. They have the entire holiday weekend off. These players are humans just like us. They want to be gluttonous and then go Black Friday shopping. Sacramento should steamroll in this spot and this is my favorite situational play of the week.
Chicago Bulls at Utah Jazz – This is not a good spot for the Bulls, although, to be fair, are there any good spots for a team this bad? Chicago is in a back-to-back off of what I expect will be an embarrassing effort in Los Angeles. With a night to party, a day to lose, and another day to lose before spending Thanksgiving in an Oakland hotel with a return trip to California, the Bulls are in line to get pummeled again. This is the first home game back for the Jazz, though, so they may not bring a full effort off of a long East Coast road trip. This looks like a live betting game where you let Utah get the bad out of its system and then play them as the game goes along.
Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets – The fifth road game in eight nights seems like a bad spot for the Wizards. The Hornets are playing their fifth game in eight nights as well, but this will be the fourth one at home in that stretch. Perhaps there is a look-ahead spot to Friday’s trip to Cleveland, but this is a division game, so we should get the best from the Hornets. Given the bad travel spot for Washington, Charlotte looks like the play here.
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder – The NBA’s version of Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres just might be this game between the Warriors and the Thunder. We’re still waiting for Billy Donovan to put all the puzzle pieces in place in OKC, but this team has the talent to beat anybody. Golden State is wrapping up a long road trip and can look ahead to getting back home to eat some of Ayesha Curry’s holiday feast. If OKC was playing better, this would be a spot where I would expect Golden State to make a statement. A Golden Statement, if you will. Instead, I think this is just a regular game. The Kevin Durant back in OKC angle doesn’t carry much weight anymore. I’d look to take the Thunder catching a home number here.
Friday November 24
New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns – Let’s get back on track with a pretty bad spot for the visitors again. You’ll notice that we’re home-heavy this week, which is probably by design with these holiday week games. The Pelicans are in a horrendous spot, to be honest. They host the Spurs on Wednesday, after hosting the Thunder on Monday. New Orleans will be in Oakland on Saturday to face Golden State. One of these things is not like the other and that is the Phoenix Suns, Friday’s opponent. The Suns might not be good enough to help this spot hold up, but it’s going to be a real attractive price tag on the home dog.
New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have a chance to win a game. Man your battle stations. Look, when teams get the chance to win, they want to take it. We’re not at the tanking part of the season by any means. Atlanta is playing a back Knicks team on the front end of a back-to-back with a postgame flight to Houston to take on a much better Rockets team. Do we really want to trust the Knicks with any sort of expectations? That’s not to say that New York will be favored here, but you certainly won’t be laying a big price on the Hawks. This looks like a buy game on a bad team and those are the money makers in these pro leagues.
Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics – Let’s talk about a road team, eh? How about the Magic in Beantown to take on the Celtics on Friday night. This is the front end of a back-to-back with Philadelphia on deck, but beating Boston carries a lot of weight for teams right now. The Magic catch Boston in a standalone home game spot with a flight to Indianapolis right after the game. This seems like a win and get out type of spot for the C’s, who will be tasked with covering a big number. I’d be wary of their ability to do that. The Magic are inherently high-variance because they’re shooting a bunch of threes and they’re not real good at it, but I think they’re in a good spot here.
Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers – The Hornets are looking for revenge against the Cavaliers after Cleveland topped Charlotte 115-107 in North Carolina last Wednesday. The Hornets were right there in that game, but LeBron took over and that was all she wrote. In this spot, the Hornets might be a good look. Cleveland will be favored by a lot, as usual. The Hornets actually opened a favorite this past Wednesday when these two squared off, but the market bet Cleveland into a favorite. Books seem to have overadjusted the Cavs off of the bad start. I think we see that perception swing back in the other direction now and overvalue the Cavs again.
Saturday November 25
San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets – So, the Hornets head right back home to host the Spurs. The Spurs have two days off before this game to just chill in the Charlotte area and get ready for this one. With Dallas on deck, there is no look-ahead. For Charlotte, this could be a flat spot off of a Cleveland game or a letdown spot, so the spot will favor San Antonio no matter what. They’ll be a road favorite, but with injuries and whatnot, probably not a big one. This sets up like a San Antonio or nothing type of situation.
Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers – The Pacers are in a really strong spot on Saturday night. Indiana returns from Orlando on Monday night and then has three days off to enjoy the holiday. This is a back-to-back, but both games are at home for the Pacers. This is a standalone road game for Boston that precedes a five-game homestand. Do we really expect to get Boston’s best here? Brad Stevens will have some distractions with a return to Butler Bulldogs country, so there’s that element as well. Give me Indiana on Saturday.
Portland Trail Blazers at Washington Wizards – The Wizards are in a buy spot on Saturday. Washington has two days off after wrapping up that brutal stretch of five games in eight days. Portland hits the floor for this one for its sixth game in nine days, with five of those on the road, including the third game in four nights in the Eastern Time Zone. Portland probably won’t have much in the tank here. If things play out as mentioned for the Wizards, they’ll be in a bounce back spot. You’ll be laying a number, but it should be pretty reasonable given the spot.
Sunday November 26
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls – The best spot on Sunday probably features the Bulls, but who wants to trust the Bulls? This visit to Chicago is sandwiched between road games at Minnesota and at Cleveland for the Heat. This is the flat spot of the trip. Miami will still be a road favorite against a Bulls team coming off of a four-game road trip, but this number may be enticing enough for a buy on the Bulls. Bet at your own peril, though.
Last Edit: 3 weeks 4 days ago by Blade.
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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 6
bY Al McMordie
Last week was certainly a crazy one in the NBA, as there were several huge comebacks made by teams that were down by more than 20 points earlier in their game. On Monday, LeBron James' Cavaliers roared back from 23 down to upend the Knicks. Then, on Friday, the Spurs upset the Thunder after trailing by 23, while the Pacers stunned the Pistons after falling behind by 22. Finally, on Saturday, the Warriors spotted the 76ers a 24-point lead before storming back for the victory. Let's take a look at the upcoming action on the hardwood over this Thanksgiving holiday.
The Boston Celtics have certainly been very, very good throughout their 16-game win streak. But Monday's 110-102 win (as a 6.5-point favorite) was also very fortunate. And not just because they needed the overtime session to cover the point spread. Dallas actually led by 13 points midway through the 4th quarter, and by five points with a minute-and-a-half to go, but could not seal the deal. Boston is now an NBA-best 16-2 straight-up, and 15-2-1 against the spread (including 6-0-1 ATS its last seven). This week, the Celtics will play the Heat, Magic and Pacers, as they will attempt to stretch their win streak to 19 games, which would tie the longest in franchise history (set in November/December 2008). I'll be surprised if they succeed, however, as the game vs. the Heat looks like a huge stumbling block. Boston won't be a big favorite in that game. And since 1990, NBA teams on an 11-game (or greater) win streak have gone just 51-63 straight-up and 46-67-1 ATS if they weren't favored by more than four points. Take Miami on Wednesday.
Tom Thibodeau's Minnesota Timberwolves are starting to reflect the nature of their defensive-minded head coach. After ranking dead-last in October in defensive efficiency, the T-Wolves have played much better this month, and rank an impressive fourth in November in defensive efficiency. Not surprisingly, Minnesota's Over/Under numbers have taken a 180-degree turn. The Timberwolves were 6-0-1 'Over' the total in October, but are 9-1 'Under' so far this month! This week, Minnesota will welcome Orlando, Miami and Phoenix to the Target Center. None of those three teams have very good offenses, as the Magic rank 20th in offensive efficiency, while the Heat and Suns are 26th and 24th, respectively. I like the game vs. Orlando to be relatively low-scoring, as the Magic have gone 'Under' in eight of their last 11 contests. Even better: Orlando was upset in its last game, 105-97, by Indiana. And the Magic have gone 11-0 'Under' the total off an upset loss over the past two seasons.
The Memphis Grizzlies were dealt a severe blow last week when Mike Conley's Achilles tendinitis reached the point where he will be sidelined indefinitely. Memphis' staff will review his progress in two weeks, and issue an update then. So, he could be out for a couple of weeks, or it could stretch into months. Regardless, it is awful news for a Memphis squad which was over-achieving in the early part of this season. The Grizzlies will turn to veteran Mario Chalmers to absorb Conley's minutes as the starter. But the problem for coach David Fizdale is that he doesn't have a point guard to then turn to for the 2nd unit. This season, the Grizzlies have gone 0-4 SU/ATS without Conley on the court, so Memphis' current hold on the eighth (and final) Playoff position is precarious, at best. This week, Memphis will host Dallas (Wednesday) and Brooklyn (Sunday), with a road game, Friday, in Denver, sandwiched in between. I like Dallas to rout Memphis on Wednesday. These two teams have already met twice this season, and the Mavericks covered the spread in each -- and Conley scored 21 and 22 points for the Grizzlies in those two games. Take Dallas to upset Memphis.
With the Thanksgiving Day holiday break almost upon us, let's see if we can take advantage of the NBA schedule to make some $$$$. One thing that I have done for years is go against certain road teams on the night before, or the day of Thanksgiving, as such teams may not have the requisite focus. They may have one eye on the court, but the other eye on the airplane to take them back home to their family. And I've found that the best road teams to go against are the complacent ones off a SU/ATS win. Indeed, since 1990, NBA road teams off a SU/ATS win have gone just 47-68-1 ATS in games played on the eve of Thanksgiving, or on the Holiday. This Wednesday, there are six road teams that "fit the (turkey) bill." Toronto will travel to Madison Square Garden to take on Kristaps Porzingis & Co.; Boston will be in South Beach to play the Heat; Washington will be at Charlotte; Denver at Houston; Portland at Philly; and San Antonio at New Orleans. Of those six games, I like the Knicks the most, as they will be playing with revenge not only from a 23-point blowout loss suffered last Friday, but also from eight straight losses in the series. Take New York on Wednesday.
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