NBA Best Bets of the Day (2/6)


Welcome to Hoops with Noops! It’s time for a TNT Tuesday of NBA action. We have mostly nonconference matchups with a few division games as well. Nonconference games are always interesting because these teams don’t play each other as often, but they can be harder to handicap because there is less reason for each team to be motivated.


Every win matters, but wins against teams in the other conference don’t help any playoff seeding tiebreakers. That’s always a concern, but we have a few good nonconference games and maybe even a darkhorse candidate for an NBA Finals preview as the Milwaukee Bucks visit Phoenix to play the suns. The two division games should be tightly played contests and great games to watch. Let’s dive into all the action, see what we can expect from each game, and hopefully find some value in the betting markets.

NBA Best Bets for Tuesday

Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Current Line – Heat -3, 213.5
My Projection – Heat 106, Magic 106 
Key Injuries – None.

When will the Heat start playing good basketball? Every season they limp their way through the regular season as they rest players and focus on saving their best for the postseason, but are generally winning games. They are just 2-8 in their last 10 games. Jimmy Butler is starting to look healthier and Terry Rozier seems to be integrated into the lineup, but it hasn’t translated to wins let alone covers against the spread. Despite that stretch of losing, the betting markets have not dropped the power rating of Miami very much, if at all. Generally when teams perform like the Heat have you’ll see their rating drop a few points, but I haven’t seen that kind of adjustment yet. Part of that is likely the due respect for Erik Spoelstra, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo being able to beat any team on any night, but we haven’t seen anything like that from the Heat in weeks. Maybe a matchup against a division opponent is just what Miami needs to inspire their best performance, but I’m not betting on it.

The Magic lost the Heat in their first two games, but they were close losses and Orlando beat Miami by 18 points about two weeks ago. Orlando matches up well in this game. Their roster full of tall, long athletes who play good defense is ideal for facing a Heat team that succeeds playing smaller and faster. The Magic also don’t mind a slow, ugly game which the Heat often play. Orlando is on an upswing having four of their last five including wins over the Phoenix Suns at home and against the Timberwolves in Minnesota. I rate Orlando as the better team on a neutral court and make this game a pick ‘em after I adjust for the Miami homecourt advantage. The books are offering us the Magic at +3 which is a bet for me.


Orlando Magic +3 (-110, FanDuel Sportsbook)

Not For Noops

Games I’m not betting and why I’m not betting them.

Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers -7.5, 242.5

The Rockets have struggled since their hot start to the year. They are just 10-15 in their last 25 games, are actively looking to make a trade, and it was just reported that there is division in the locker with about half of the players supporting their coach, Ime Udoka, and the other half not a fan. They are also without Fred VanVleet and matchup poorly against the Pacers who can handle the Rockets aggressive style of defense. I think Indiana deserves to be a strong favorite, but I have this spread only six. Tyrese Haliburton is still on a minutes limit and it really seems to be messing with the team’s rhythm. If I knew Haliburton was playing 30-plus minutes then I would probably back the Pacers, but that’s just not the case. I show a little value on Houston, but it’s a bad spot and bad matchup. No bets for me in this game.

Dallas Mavericks at Brooklyn Nets +2.5, 236.5

We don’t have an official injury report for either team yet because they both played last night and don’t have to file one until this afternoon. The Nets have been healthy, but the Mavericks have been juggling injuries to Kyrie Irving and Dereck Lively II while trying not to run Luka Doncic into the ground. Kyrie and Luka each played 35-plus minutes Monday night, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either rest Tuesday. Lively is going to miss this game and the next few. If both Luka and Kyrie play, this looks like a great spot to play an over and maybe the Mavericks. I make it Dallas -5 with a total of 240 with both Luka and Kyrie playing. We just have to wait and see what happens, so check the FTN Bets Discord for any bets I place later in the day when we know who’s playing.

Memphis Grizzlies at New York Knicks -14.5, 213

The Memphis roster is basically a G-League team at this point. Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke and Marcus Smart are out. Jaren Jackson is doubtful. Santi Aldama, John Konchar and Vince Williams are questionable. It’s just a mess of a team. The Knicks generally dominate bad teams, and this Grizzlies is definitely bad, but I can’t bring myself to lay almost 15 points or even play a Memphis team total under 99.5 points. I think the Knicks are the right side, but this game is going to be played on the extremes of a standard projection for an NBA game. Said another way, this is likely to be an outlier and a game that I will back out of the data that fuels my model. It’s hard to project who’s even going to play for Memphis let alone how they will play. There’s also the chance that Knicks take a huge lead into the fourth quarter and empty the bench while the Grizzlies keep pushing the ball and getting up shots. That means the backdoor cover opportunity will be there. Again, I don’t hate a wager on the Knicks, but I shy away from betting games that are likely to be outliers.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls +5.5, 217.5

The current spread and total are close to my projections. I make this game Timberwolves -4.5 with a total of 216. Minnesota has the best defense in the NBA and Chicago doesn’t have an offense good enough to counter that defense. At the same time, the Timberwolves don’t have a great offense and the Bulls defense is good enough to keep them from scoring too many points. It profiles as an ugly game and Minnesota likes to play ugly games. It is a nonconference game on the road for the Timberwolves which can always lead to a bad performance, but Minnesota had Monday off and have no lookahead games to distract them. I lean Bulls, but it’s a small edge and an edge that basically goes away if Alex Caruso, who is questionable, can’t play. I’m going to pass on this game.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz +3.5, 242.5

The Jazz are a great team as an underdog at home. Salt Lake City isn’t as high up as Denver, but it’s over 4,000 feet in altitude, which makes it hard for road teams that aren’t adjusted to the thinner air. It gives Utah one of the stronger homecourt advantages in the league. The Thunder closed as three point favorites a few weeks ago in Utah, and we see basically the same spread here. Oklahoma City was in a bad rest spot last game and don’t have Jalen Williams. The Thunder covered, but it was very close and I think the market is underrating the loss of Williams who is OKC’s best defender and second, maybe third, most important player. I make this game OKC -2 which is a small edge on Utah, but not a big enough edge for me to bet. The Thunder matchup well in this game even without Williams and can contain the 3-pointing shooting that wins Utah most of their games. No bets for me here.

Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns -3.5, 243.5

This should be a fun game full of points, but it’s a hard game for me to see any value in betting. The Bucks continue to struggle to play their best basketball and have been dominated by great guards all season. Tuesday, they face the Phoenix Suns who have Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. Both of them will be able to get any shot they want and are likely to have great nights. The Suns are playing better, but they are beating teams with offense and not their defense. Phoenix has no good answers for Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the MVP candidate should be able to fill up the stat sheet. I make the Suns 2.5 point favorites with a total of 242. This game likely comes down to which team shoots the best and makes the most threes. I think either team could do that, so I can’t pick a side here. I wanted to bet an over, but the Suns occasionally slow their pace and my projections are just under the current total. I can’t suggest any wagers.

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