NBA Best Bets of the Day (11/20)


Welcome to Hoops with Noops! We’re about 15% through the season, and it feels like teams are finally getting into a groove and playing better basketball. The average closing total for an NBA game over the last six days is up to 227 from the low of 224 points per game in early November. Looking at the standings, the top 10 teams in the Eastern Conference are not surprising, although the order is very surprising. 


Looking at the Western Conference, I’d be amazed if anyone projected this order of seeding before the season. Again, it’s still very early, but we’re starting to see things take shape and help us determine what to expect going forward. Each team has one or two games before the quick Thanksgiving break, and it will be interesting to see how they perform. As happens every Monday, there is a video version of this preview as well on the FTNBets YouTube channel. Please subscribe to that channel, give me a thumbs up, and leave a comment. On to basketball!

Denver Nuggets at Detroit Pistons

Current Line – Nuggets -8.5, 224.5
My Projection – Nuggets 116, Pistons 105
Key Injuries – Jamal Murray (DEN), Jalen Duren (DET) and Bojan Bogdanovic (DET) are out. 

This is a great example of the type of NBA game that is difficult to handicap. Anytime you have one of the best teams in the league playing on the road against one of the worst teams in the other conference, there is a high chance of shenanigans and tomfoolery. Luckily, this spot has a few factors to clarify things. The Nuggets have lost their last two games, including just last night in Cleveland. Historically, Mike Malone’s teams have been great on the second night of a back-to-back after losing the first game. The Pistons are also playing their second game in as many nights, and this is their first home game after a road trip ahead of a three-day Thanksgiving break. It’s a sleep spot for the Pistons, and I expect the Nuggets to be focused and play good basketball. I show value on laying the points with the favorite, but I think the better angle is to bet the Detroit under team total. The Pistons are one of the worst offenses in the NBA and arguably the worst shooting team when Bojan Bogdanovic isn’t playing. I don’t expect them to put up a big number on tired legs and against a Nuggets team that plays at one of the slowest paces in the league. This could get sweaty in the fourth quarter if this is a true blowout, but there’s no reason for Detroit to make a hard push late if they’re even close enough to get to 108 points.


Detroit Pistons Team Total Under 107.5 (-105 FanDuel Sportsbook)

New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves

Current Line – Timberwolves -3, 213
My Projection – Timberwolves 109, Knicks 103 
Key Injuries – None 

The New York Knicks have crushed the bad teams they’ve faced this year. Four of their eight wins were against the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets twice. The Knicks won those games 124-104 on average, covering the spread easily in all four games. I think the market is overreacting to those wins given the rating for a team that is 1-5 against the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans with an average score of 98-102. Tonight, on the last game of a five-game road trip before a three-day Thanksgiving break, the Knicks face a Timberwolves team that is one of the best in the Western Conference. Minnesota is 9-3 with several wins against some of the best teams in the NBA. Handicapping isn’t quite this simple, but it really looks like the Knicks are overrated and the Timberwolves are underrated in this game. I make Minnesota six-point favorites, and a lot of outcomes have them covering an even bigger number than that. The Timberwolves match up well with the Knicks. Their bigs are better than New York’s, and Anthony Edwards will not face a defender that can slow him down. I might add some alternate spreads once we get closer to game time and more markets open, but for now I’ll happily back the Timberwolves at -3. Check the FTN Bets Discord to see if I add an alt-spread.


Minnesota Timberwolves -3 (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Sacramento Kings at New Orleans Pelicans

Current Line – Kings -1, 238
My Projection – Kings 121, Pelican 119
Key Injuries – CJ McCollum (NO) is out. Jose Alvarado (NO) is questionable.

This game should be a lot of fun to watch because neither team is going to be able to stop the other from scoring for most of the game. The Sacramento Kings are devoid of any big men who can stop Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas. Those two players attack the basket relentlessly and will face little opposition. Damontas Sabonis will be hard for them to guard, but he’s not stopping Zion or Valanciunas tonight. I haven’t bet over the points prop for either New Orleans big man yet, but I think they’re good looks and may add them later on the FTN Bets Discord. The New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with a cluster injury at the guard position, which means they don’t have an adequate defender to match up with the lead guards for their opponents. That means De’Aaron Fox should be able to do whatever he wants. It is the second game of a back-to-back for him, but he played only 31 minutes last game, and the trip from Dallas to New Orleans is short. If Jose Alvarado can play, it will be a little tougher, but I love Fox’s point total over. Let’s bet the Sacramento guard to score 30+ and 35+ points in what could be a very high-scoring game.


De’Aaron Fox 30+ Points (+110 0.75U & 35+ Points +270 0.25U, FanDuel)

Quick Thoughts on Games I’m Not Betting

Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets +9, 233 – My projections are right in line with the market on this game. It’s the second night of a back-to-back for Boston and the last game of a four-game road trip. That’s usually a perfect recipe to fade a team, but I can’t do it with these Charlotte Hornets. Maybe bet the over if for some silly reason you have to bet this game, but don’t bet this game.

Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards +9.5, 245.5 – This is another big road favorite with a spread and total that were close to what my model says it should be. It feels like a Bucks destruction spot to me, and I could see Milwaukee winning by 20+, but I’ll pass on this game.

Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls +1.5, 208.5 – This is a rematch from Saturday night when the Bulls outscored the Heat 34-21 in the fourth quarter to come back and win the game by five. The spread is basically the same and the total dropped 3.5/4 points. I didn’t bet this Saturday and I’m not betting it tonight. Maybe it’s an “easy” Miami bounce-back game, but my numbers are basically the same as the betting markets.

Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs +8, 230.5 – My projections like the Spurs, but it’s hard for my model to understand how terrible the Spurs are. San Antonio is 4-9 against the spread this year and haven’t covered in their last four games. This is the first of a two-game series against the Clippers, and I think the Spurs will cover one of them, but I don’t know if it’s tonight or Wednesday night. I’m definitely not betting on it.

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors -7, 220 – I make this game only 4, but that’s before adjusting for a bad spot for Houston and a glaring bounce-back spot for Golden State. This is the last game of a road trip for the Rockets, their third game in four nights, and the second night of a back-to-back spot. The Warriors under Steve Kerr lost four games and five games in a row for the first time and all of them at home. Now most of those have been without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but it’s concerning, and I’m expecting maximum effort and focus on getting the win tonight before heading to Phoenix to play the Suns on Wednesday. It’s hard to know exactly what that means for the spread, but I think the 4 I came up with is too low and will pass on backing the Rockets.

Previous MNF Plays: Best Props for Monday Night Football, Week 11 Next NHL Prop Bets with Chris Meaney (11/20)