NBA Betting Plays for Week of 8/3 – 8/9
August 3, 2020
Philadelphia 76ers vs Portland Trail Blazers
Opening Line: Blazers -2 and 229.5
Current Line: Blazers -2.5 and 229
We get a matchup today between two playoff teams, however I believe there are levels between them at this juncture. The 76ers actually have a better record than the 3-2 Blazers inside the bubble at 3-1. However the level of competition faced has been at completely different levels. The Blazers two losses have come to the Celtics and Clippers, arguably the best team in their respective conferences. Their wins were all against current playoff teams while the 76ers lone loss is against the only team they’ve played sporting better than a .500 record. The Blazers having Nurkic and Collins back remains a huge boon for their roster while the 76ers are now without Ben Simmons for at least this game. A 2.5 point line is simply far too little and I believe the pace and scoring of the Blazers will separate this one somewhat easily. Take the Blazers today.
Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets
Opening Line: Jazz -1 and 222
Current Line: Nuggets -1.5 and 222
With the Nuggets continuing to be a mess defensively, they will continue to be a target for us until they can get back to full strength, and perhaps even then if they don’t show any improvement. The Jazz enter this game on a back to back, but they did hold out their top four players for the front leg of this back to back and should be at full strength today. We know the Nuggets remain the least efficient defensive team in the bubble and the Jazz can exploit that, as they are top ten in offensive efficiency in the bubble, and match that mark on the defensive end as well. Good teams are simply going to be able to outscore this version of the Nuggets and the Jazz today should fit that bill. With the money coming in on the Nuggets and moving the Jazz to underdog status, they are very attractive with the only requirement being an outright win.
Betting Play: Jazz +1.5
Play ruled out.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets
Opening Line: Blazers -3.5 and 233.5
Current Line: Blazers -4 and 232.5
We were able to capitalize Wednesday on the Nuggets defensive ineptitude thus far in the bubble with an over play smashing. We get to go right back to that well, except this time with the Nuggets opponent. The Nuggets are dead last in defensive efficiency since the restart and despite being the third slowest paced team, have allowed the seventh most points per game. Enter the Trail Blazers, who have a new level of danger to them with the return of both Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic. The balance and depth this team now possesses should be a worry for the rest of the western conference, and the early returns are impressive. They are second in the league in offensive efficiency since the restart and third in the league in points scored per game. This is an absolute nightmare for the Nuggets who simply can’t figure out how to stop teams while missing three starters, and this game should be a runaway for the Blazers. They are the play today laying a comfortable four points.
Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs
Opening Line: Nuggets -5 and 224.5
Current Line: Nuggets -3.5 and 224.5
We have reached the point of the bubble portion of the season that we have enough data to attempt to understand trends from each team. We can get a feel for pace and the expected output and output allowed from each team. This information is what highlighted this game, the total in particular as the one to attack on Wednesday.
We simply don’t think of the Spurs or especially not the Nuggets as teams that allow a ton of points and try to get them back quickly, but their bubble performances so far paint a vastly different picture. This version of the Spurs that lacks their quality bigs has played at the third fastest pace thus far. The quicker pace has brought scoring output and they are sitting at sixth in the league at 122.3 points per contest. The pace has also brought scoring from their opponents as they allow 119.3 points per contest, which is sixth worst in the league. The Nuggets are playing their typically slow style, but the absences of Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Gary Harris has seen been crippling for their defensive effectiveness as they also allow 119 points per contest and are sixth worst in defensive efficiency. We also need to consider opponents. Denver is the second slowest team in the bubble, but they have played the slowest and third slowest teams thus far. Even with what should be an expected snail’s pace, their game totals have been 230 and 234. The faster pace and lack of defense overall in today’s contest should see us cruise over the 224.5 mark. Take the over.
Dallas Mavericks vs Sacramento Kings
Opening Line: Mavericks -5.5 and 237
Current Line: Mavericks -6 and 236
This is a matchup between two teams that have started off 0-2 in the bubble, but are not at all equal. These games are for playoff seeding and berths and these two teams have two very different trajectories. The Kings are on the outside looking in, and have what I would deem the smallest chance of the remaining teams in the Western Conference of getting the 9 seed play-in series berth. They currently sit 12th in the conference and the young team has not meshed as a unit since the return. Their 0-2 start is marred by allowing at least 129 points in both losses, and those losses were not to the cream of the crop, they were to the Spurs and Magic, teams who are a combined 61-72. The Mavericks on the other hand are locked into the postseason, and have lost competitive games to the Rockets and Suns since the return. By my view, they should be wholly focused on chasing down the Thunder for the 6th seed, as that would be the difference between playing the Clippers and playing the Nuggets in the first round. If the bubble so far has been any indication, the Mavs, and specifically Luka Doncic, will be able to score at will, and at a pace the Kings won’t be able to keep up with. Take the Mavs to get back on track and roll on the Kings.
Another potential look on Tuesday is the roster the Nets are trotting out against the Bucks. Already without Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie and Deandre Jordan, the Nets will also be without Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris on Tuesday. The current line is a whopping 17.5 points but it may well be worth laying that. The Bucks second unit would likely have an easy time beating this version of the Nets by double digits.