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I needed to collect myself after taking one of the worst NBA betting beats I’ve suffered all season when the Atlanta Hawks snuck in the backdoor against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
This clip pretty much sums up my NBA 2022-23 regular season. I’m not going to cry about it but I almost destroyed my TV when Hawks’ Dejounte Murray hit that meaningless 3-pointer.
Regardless of this crappy luck and/or crappy handicapping, I plan on making my money back Wednesday with bets in the Cavaliers-Heat, Hawks-Wizards, and Bulls-Nuggets.
BUYER BEWARE: We are in the NBA’s “load management” and “tanking” eras. It might be best to wait until the final injury reports are released before placing a bet.
You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed Monday-Friday.
Cleveland Cavaliers (41-26) at Miami Heat (35-31), 7:30 p.m. ET
The Cavaliers-Heat are 1-4 Over/Under (O/U) in their last five meetings with a -6.8 O/U margin and an average betting total of 209.6. This Cavaliers-Heat meeting has a 212.5-point total.
Miami is 27th in pace at 96.6 possessions per 48 minutes and Cleveland is 30th at 95.6. The 1st two Cavaliers-Heat meetings this season have played to a 93.0-ish pace.
The only way these Cavaliers-Heat rock-fights will Over the total is if both teams have hot-shooting nights. But, Cleveland is 5th in defensive rating and Miami is 3rd.
The Heat are 2nd in defensive wide-open 3-point-attempt rate allowed and the Cavs are 3rd since the All-Star break. “Wide-open 3s” are when the shooter has at least six feet of distance from the nearest defender.
Also, I favor both defenses over their opponent’s offense. Cavs bigs Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are mediocre offensive players. And Heat big Bam Adebayo is the best defensive player in the NBA.
Miami has two elite defensive wings in Jimmy Butler and SF Caleb Martin to throw at Cleveland All-Star Donovan Mitchell who has struggled vs. the Heat this season.
Mitchell is averaging just 14.5 points per game in the 1st two Cavaliers-Heat meetings this season with a 47.1% true shooting rate (.379/.250/.500).
On the other hand, Miami’s offense sucks. The Heat are tied for 26th in effective field goal shooting and rank 24th in non-garbage time half-court offensively efficiency, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Finally, I dig the idea of fading both team’s previous result. Miami went Over the total in a 130-128 win vs. Atlanta Monday and Cleveland went Over the total in a 118-114 overtime win vs. Boston.
NBA Best Bet #1: UNDER 215 in Cavaliers-Heat (-110) DraftKings Sportsbook, down to 214.5
Atlanta Hawks (32-33) at Washington Wizards (31-34), 7 p.m. ET
Atlanta got swept in a back-to-back (B2B) vs. the Heat Saturday and Monday. Washington eked past the Pistons on the road 119-117 as 11-point favorites last night (Tuesday).
The Wizards won their 1st meeting this season with the Hawks 119-116 sans Kristaps Porzingis in Atlanta as 7.5-point road underdogs on Feb. 28.
Per Pregame.com, more than 90% of the money in the consensus market is on the Hawks most likely due to the Wizards being on the 2nd of a B2B.
However, Washington is 7-5 straight up (SU) on no rest with a +6.5 SU margin and 8-4 ATS with a +8.3 ATS margin. Atlanta is just 3-7 ATS as a road favorite this season with a -4.7 ATS margin.
The Wizards rank 20th in defensive rating and the Hawks are right behind them at 21. Per CTG, D.C. is 15-5 SU vs. bottom-10 defenses with a +5.1 adjusted net rating and 2nd in ATS margin at +5.7.
Finally, Washington has a much better shot profile than Atlanta. According to CTG, the Hawks are 29th in both offensive and defensive shot quality and the Wizards are 4th in defensive shot quality allowed.
Both teams attempt a high-volume of mid-range jumpers. But, D.C. is 6th in defensive field goal percentage vs. mid-range field goals and Atlanta is 16th.
NBA Best Bet #2: Wizards +4 (-110)
- Betting strategy: Wait until closer to the tip-off because money is flooding in on Atlanta and we could get a bigger spread for Washington by being patient.
Chicago Bulls (29-36) at Denver Nuggets (46-19), 9 p.m. ET
We are going to fade the recent Over/Under trends for both teams and look towards the UNDER 225.5 (down to 224.5) in the Bulls-Nuggets.
Chicago has gone Over the total in three consecutive games, Denver has gone Over in three of the last four, and the last seven Bulls-Nuggets meetings in Denver have gone Over the total.
But, styles make fights and this matchup screams “UNDER”. Since the All-Star break, the Bulls are playing at the slowest pace in the NBA and the Nuggets rank 22nd in pace.
Furthermore, Chicago’s defense has been solid this season and the Bulls acquired defensive PG Patrick Beverley around the trade deadline. The Bulls are 6th in non-garbage time defensive rating, per CTG.
Both teams do a good job on the defensive glass and keeping their opponents off the foul line. Chicago is 3rd in defensive rebounding rate and Denver is 7th. The Bulls are 8th in defensive free-throw-attempt rate and the Nuggets are 12th.
Lastly, this is a Pros vs. Joes game in the betting market for the total. Per VSIN, more money is on the Under at DraftKings whereas nearly two-thirds of the bets placed on the Bulls-Nuggets total is on the Over.
NBA Best Bet #3: UNDER 225.5 in Bulls-Nuggets (-110)
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