NBA betting: Weekend insights and best value bets
Chris Sheridan finds the value in the NBA this weekend, including some player props and a couple of futures to keep an eye on.
We can extrapolate very little from the first two days of the NBA season as we head into the first full weekend of hoops, but very little ain’t nothing, and that is what we are seizing upon this particular Friday.
If you followed nothing but mainstream media, you would believe that there are only three stories in the NBA: The Ben Simmons drama in Philadelphia, the Kyrie Irving disappearance in New York and the Russell Westbrook suckage dilemma in Los Angeles.
But there is so much more, and the trick for all gamblers heading into this weekend is to take a step back, take a sober look at what we have seen and proceed accordingly. Most important: The Miami Heat and Tyler Herro look damn good, and Herro for Sixth Man is something you may want to jump on sooner rather than later because those odds tend to take big swings, and Herro is still priced nicely (+700).
The other: Steph Curry does not exactly look bad, and there may come a point when folks start to believe that Steve Kerr’s team has as good of a chance as anyone of coming out of the West. Realizing that now on Oct. 22 is important, because the Dubs are currently the +500 second choice to come out of the West, and their win total is 48.5 – four less than the Lakers.
Golden State won’t be back in action until Sunday night when they play the Sacramento Kings, with both teams wondering what Curry will do for an encore after dropping 45 on the Clippers on Thursday night. Steph is the +650 second choice for MVP (along with Kevin Durant) behind Luka Doncic (+400). It is early, but if we are going to go off what transpired on the first two days of the season it may be worth putting a flyer down on Jaylen Brown of the Celtics, who was out of his mind at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night in a double-overtime loss to the Knicks. Brown is on the MVP board at +8000, and he is one more 46-point game away from being listed at about half of those odds.
When it comes to bad teams, we have not seen the floor yet for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Orlando Magic, but perhaps we have seen enough to make some assumptions. The Thunder were beyond miserable in their opening loss to Utah, and they will be facing a brutally bad Houston Rockets team on Friday night before greeting the train wreck known as the Sixers on Sunday night. The temptation is to bet against them before the lines start shooting into Houston Texans territory, but with them we counsel a wait-and-see approach. The bottom will drop out for some teams sooner than others, and OKC will not get there until January or February. They were the only team to keep their arena closed throughout last season, so when fans return Sunday night it’ll be a little of an event. Sit tight on the Thunder.
The Magic, on the other hand, are a G-League team in disguise who should be bet against at every opportunity. They are the biggest ‘dogs on the board Friday night against a Knicks team that looked superb for all but a few moments of their season-opening double-OT victory over Boston, and we will be very consistent throughout this season in telling you that Tom Thibodeau’s squad if more dangerous that folks would have you believe. They are back at MSG on Sunday evening to play the Magic again, and it would not surprise us to see them carrying a better record into their first matchup with the Nets on Nov. 30 than the Nets themselves.
Another disconcerting loss happened in Portland on Wednesday when the Blazers lost at home to Sacramento in Chauncey Billups’ first game as Portland’s head coach. The Blazers were down 13 at halftime and had no answer for Harrison Barnes, and this is a situation that bears watching because the Blazers did very little to improve their roster in the offseason, fueling speculation that Damian Lillard is going to be asking out. So the Blazers are under a little more pressure than their Western Conference brethren at this early point of the season, and their slope can get awfully slippery awfully fast if they falter against Phoenix tomorrow or the Clippers on Monday. Pile on Portland if they start looking bad.
Another area to key on over the weekend is player props, because at this early point of the season it is tough to make blanket statements about several teams, although it is not difficult to see who has come out of the gate stoked. Like Curry.
In the Toronto-Boston game in which the Celtics are 6.5-point favorites, Brown’s point total over/under is only 22.5. Given how weak the Raptors were in their opener, a 15-point home loss to Washington, it would seem logical to go with the Celtics All-Star hitting the over.
In the Knicks-Magic game, Julius Randle’s blocks and steals have both been set at 0.5, and Evan Fournier (four steals in the opener) also has a 0.5 over/under on steals. With the Knicks’ attention to defense and the Magic having committed 16 turnovers in a season-opening 26-point loss at San Antonio, the play here is the over on all three of those defensive stats.
The Lakers will be on only once this weekend, tonight against the Suns as Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies has been relegated to local broadcasts. The focus in L.A. the past couple of days has been on whether Westbrook can shake off a poor first game, which he undoubtedly can and will. But will that game come against Chris Paul tonight or against Ja Morant on Sunday? Westbrook’s turnover over/under is 3.5, which has “stay away” written all over it. But what about assists? Last season, when Westbrook had a single-digit assist game for Washington, he came back the next game and had double figures eight consecutive times. Also, over the final 40 games of the regular season, Westbrook reached double figures in assists in 37 games. So, yeah, we like the over on his assists (7.5) tonight.
Remember: Pick your spots; kick ‘em when they’re down; recognize who put in the work over the summer. It’ll make your first couple weeks of NBA gambling weeks in which you set yourself up to play with house money.
Jaylen Brown over 22.5 points v Toronto -120
Julius Randle over 0.5 blocks v Orlando -225
Julius Randle over 0.5 steals v Orlando -145
Evan Fournier over 0.5 steals v Orlando -210
Russell Westbrook over 7.5 assists v Phoenix -135