After another miserable night betting the NBA, I'm back with a 3-pack of gambling looks in the Lakers-Magic, 76ers-Wizards, and the Suns-Grizzlies.
(Buyer beware: The NBA's "load management" stuff is bogus and players are sitting out more and more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports are released before betting.)
My recommendation is to wait betting on LA-Orlando and Suns-Grizzlies because we are fading the market in those games, but take the Sixers now since they are a public favorite.
Los Angeles Lakers (13-20) at Orlando Magic (13-21)
Granted, this is a buy-high spot for Orlando and I don't like that. But, quietly, the Magic have been ballin' over the past few weeks. Orlando is 8-2 straight up (SU) and 10-0 against the spread (ATS) in the last 10 games.
The Magic beat the Clippers, Raptors (twice), Hawks and Celtics (twice) during this stretch. Their two losses were to the Bucks and the Hawks in a revenge spot, 126-125. The Lakers have lost four straight games (0-4 ATS).
Role players perform better at home typically
This month, Orlando’s bench has the best +/- in the NBA at +3.5 while LAL’s -1.5 bench +/- ranks 25th. The Magic are 5-1 straight up (SU) with a +7.5 SU margin at home in December. They are 6-0 against the spread (ATS) with a +12.3 spread differential in those games.
The Lakers are 3-6 SU on the road in Dec. with a -7.2 SU margin and 3-6 ATS. They are allowing 125.3 points per game (PPG). LAL’s defense cannot stop a nosebleed and the …
Lakers could be screwed without AD
LAL leading-scorer and rebounder, Anthony Davis, has been sidelined since Dec. 18 with an injury and will be out for the foreseeable future.
When AD is off the floor, the Lakers are scoring 10.9 fewer points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
LAL is 1-7 SU in the eight games AD has missed this year with a -8.5 SU margin. Their only victory came against the San Antonio Spurs who are the worst team in the NBA by net rating (nRTG).
With that in mind ...
Orlando’s size will give LAL headaches
The Magic have a plethora of bigs in their rotation and the Lakers attempt the highest volume of field goals at the rim, per CTG. Orlando can pack the paint because LAL is one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA.
Also, the Lakers get to the charity stripe at a high rate. But, it’ll be easy for the Magic defenders to keep their men in front of them because, again, LAL cannot shoot.
It’s a ‘bad spot’ for the Lake Show
LAL last played on Christmas Sunday and Orlando last played Friday. When playing with a rest disadvantage this season, LAL is 0-4 SU and ATS with a -14.0 SU margin and -5.6 ATS margin.
The Lakers are 3-12 SU and ATS as a road ‘dog with a -9.8 SU margin and -3.1 spread differential this season. They are 1-4 ATS as underdogs of 3-to-4.5 points.
All of these reasons explain why this is a Pro vs. Joe's game in the betting market. Per Pregame.com, more cash is on the Magic while more bets have been placed on the Lakers.
Typically, you want to follow the money when it's counter to the public because professional bettors wager a lot more money than you or I.
NBA Best Bet #1: Magic -3.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Philadelphia 76ers (20-12) at Washington Wizards (13-21)
The Sixers won their eighth consecutive game (7-1 ATS) Christmas 119-112 at the Knicks. The Wizards have lost eight of their last 10 games but upset the Kings 125-111 in their last outing, Friday.
You would’ve made a lot of money if you faded the Wizards coming off a victory. Since the beginning of last season, D.C. is 15-30-2 ATS following a win with a -3.1 ATS margin and 3-7-2 ATS this year.
Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid plays very well in the nation’s capital
Embiid has shot at least 50.0% from the field and scored at least 26 points in five of his last six visits to D.C. That other game Embiid scored 23 points in 20 minutes of action in Philly’s 26-point blowout win.
Most importantly ...
Philly is much better from behind the arc
The 76ers have the best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA and the second-best defensive 3-point shooting. The Wizards are 19th in 3-point shooting and 28th in defensive 3-point shooting.
Lastly, the Sixers are 4-2 ATS as road favorites this season and 4-1 ATS as 3-to-4.5-point favorites.
NBA Best Bet #2: 76ers -4.5 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Phoenix Suns (19-15) at Memphis Grizzlies (20-12)
Memphis wrapped a four-game road stand Christmas with a 123-109 loss at the Golden State Warriors. The Grizzlies were 1-3 SU and ATS in that trip and cashed four consecutive Unders.
Their lone win over the last four games was a 125-100 whooping of the Suns Friday. But, Memphis has the best defensive rating at home in the NBA.
The Grizzlies have allowed 105 or fewer points in seven of their last nine games. The embarrassing beatdown Memphis took at the hands of a hobbled Warriors team on Christmas will motivate the Grizzlies to step it up on D at home.
There’s “reverse line movement” heading South of the total. According to VSIN, nearly 85% of the action is on the Over but the Suns-Grizzlies total has fallen from 227.5 down to the current number (225.5).
Both teams have a below-average true shooting percentage, rank eighth or better in offensive turnover rate and opponent’s second-chance PPG allowed. Phoenix is 24th in pace and fifth in opponent’s fastbreak PPG, Memphis is fourth in fastbreak PPG allowed.
The Suns are without three of the best 3-point shooters including leading-scorer Devin Booker. They score 14.4 fewer points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Booker is off the floor and Phoenix’s effective field goal shooting drops by 6.6%, per CTG.
Also, in sports betting there is value in fading what we just saw. The Warriors rained buckets on the Grizzlies on Christmas. The Suns vs. the Denver Nuggets went Over their total by 23.5 points Sunday too.
However, both Golden State and Phoenix shot out of their asses the other night. The Grizzlies contested many of the Warriors’ made jumpers. Suns’ F Torrey Craig, SG Landry Shamet and G Damion Lee hit a combined 14-of-26 from behind the arc.
I’m literally willing to bet these things don’t happen again.