Top Game to Bet: Nets at 76ers (-3.5)
This spread jumped from -1 to -3.5 with the news of Kevin Durant's (health and safety protocol) availability looking bleak for Saturday's action. However, Durant's listed as questionable as he pleads on social media to play. Joel Embiid is questionable (knee) as well, with Ben Simmons (knee) tagged as probable after missing the last game.
The Nets are 7-3 SU when James Harden plays and won two straight on the road with him in the lineup. The Nets are 9-7 SU when Kyrie Irving plays and 11-7 SU when Durant plays. When the three have played together, they are 3-2 SU.
The 76ers are 10-2 SU at home and 8-4 ATS this season. Last season, Philly won an NBA-best 31-of-35 games at home, and they have continued that dominance even without fans. The Nets are 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings in Philadelphia and 2-7 in the previous nine games overall.
A lot of this game is going to depend on the injury report. If Durant plays, this spread is going back down to +1 for the Nets or -1. If Embiid is out, Brooklyn will be the favorite regardless if Durant suits up, and I expect Simmons to play no matter what. If Durant is out and Embiid is in, play the 76ers, but any other situation and this game becomes a toss-up in favor of Philly winning SU based on their track record at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Nets are leading the league in scoring since Harden joined the team, averaging 126.1 per game. In that same span, the 76ers are ranked 14th at 112.8 points per game. The Nets lead the league with a 51.5% field goal percentage and rank second in three-point percentage (41.1%). During the same span, the Nets are last with 124.0 points allowed per game. Brooklyn ranks 22nd overall with 47.4% from the field and 23rd with 24.3 free-throw attempts allowed per game.
The Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Philadelphia and 4-0 in the previous four meetings overall. If everyone suits up, take the Over on 236.5 as Embiid will want to show out after the embarrassing loss to Portland. Kyrie, KD, and Harden's Nets have averaged 120.4 points per game as a team with them in the lineup.
Bet Locked In: Over 236 (1u) - IF Durant and Embiid are IN
Top Team to Fade: Orlando Magic
I told you yesterday everyone in the world would be on the Chicago Bulls to win yesterday, and the better play was the Over. Well, I was right, and today, if you bet the Bulls last night, you probably don't want to read the rest of this, but today is the day to bet on Chicago.
Nikola Vucevic went wild in Friday's victory, scoring a career-high 43 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in a 123-119 win. I won't say that was uncharacteristic because Vuc is one of the hidden gems in the NBA, but it is unlikely that rolls over in tonight's performance. An interesting stat, the Magic are 0-7-1 ATS after he was their high scorer by double digits in the previous game.
The Bulls are once again tagged as the favorites, this time by a -1 point spread. I will take the Moneyline as a one-point victory, and the push would be nothing more than Chicago-like with the way they close out games. Orlando now owns a two-game winning streak over Chicago after the two teams alternated wins for five straight meetings. Prior to that, Chicago won five straight and seven of the last eight between the teams.
Evan Fournier and Vucevic accounted for 63-of-123 total team points (51.2%), and if that regresses, Chicago should see the light of day and will not need 119 points to contend for a win. I expect the scoring to level out and Chicago to regain some control of their season after losing five out of the last six games, with the previous three coming by four or fewer points.
The Bulls are 2-4 SU in the second game of a back-to-back set with two losses of four or less. However, versus the same opponent in consecutive games, Chicago is 1-1 SU in the second game and 3-1 SU over the four games in general.
Orlando is 2-2 SU in the second game of a back-to-back, and versus the same opponent in consecutive games, the Magic are 3-1 SU in the second game. Orlando has played Cleveland (2-0), Charlotte (1-1), Washington (2-0), Toronto (0-2) in consecutive games. Only Charlotte and the Washington games were played on back-to-back nights, and both were wins. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Magic have lost to Brooklyn and Dallas, beating Charlotte and Washington.
I am backing the Bulls to give the Magic their first loss of the season in back-to-back nights. A win for Chicago would aslo hand Orlando their second straight loss when playing the same opponent after losing to Toronto on Sunday and Tuesday. Bet the Bulls to even up the early season series with the Magic 1-1.
Game Pick: Chicago Bulls ML (1u)
Saturday Betting Notes:
Blazers at Knicks: Knicks +1
The Knicks get a matchup with the depleted Blazers, and despite the matchup being a toss-up, I like a player prop in this game. Julius Randle of the Knicks has been one of my favorite players to bet on this season, and he's rarely let me down.
In this spot, Randle has a favorable spot as he meets the Blazers for the second time. This is more than a winnable game for the Knicks, and at home, he is averaging 25.0 points and 22.7 in wins. Portland allows the third-most points per game to centers (24.88) and the 14th-most to power forwards (21.08).
Randle scored 25 points in the first meeting, and the Blazers' defense hasn't improved since then (Jan. 24). The Blazers allow 50.3% field goal percentage to opponents and 43.8 field goals made, both the third-most in that span. They are allowing 117.2 points per game (25th) and a 117.7 defensive rating (26th).
Randle could go for 25 points, and if the Knicks win this game or come close, Randle should hit the Over. Randle has scored 23 and 27 (twice) over the last three games. He has also scored 21, 27, 29 and 30 points in his last four home games.
Bet Locked In: Julius Randle Over 22.5 to 23.5 Points (1u)
Nuggets at Kings: Nuggets -3.5
The Kings are on fire right now, going 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall and winning five of the previous six games. Denver is 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings against Sacramento, which is not a positive sign headed into this matchup.
The Kings have scored 116 points or more in four of the last five games and rank 10th with 117.0 per game. Denver enters as a road favorite and is 4-1 ATS in the five games fitting this trend. Better beware as Denver could be a trap today, and Sacramento holds value as a home dog, going 4-0 in the last four games fitting this trend.
Warriors at Mavericks: Over/Under 230.5
These two teams combined for 263 points in the last contest and meet with just one day off in between. The total for that contest was 229.5, so only one point has been shaven off that total.
There were plenty of stats and trends pointing towards the Under before the starting lineups were announced in the last meeting. Golden State went small ball with Draymond as their big and spread Dallas out with Kelly Oubre dropping 40 and Steph Curry's 28. It's hard to bet on a game that featured a score of 147-116 the previous meeting, but the Over is 6-0 in the last six meetings, so either ride that train or live bet this matchup.