NBA Best Bets of the Day (3/12)


Welcome to Hoops with Noops! It’s a TNT Tuesday of NBA action with seven games that fall into two, starkly different groups. Three, possibly four, matchups featuring good teams or promising young players in games with teams with clashing styles of play. There are fast teams playing slow teams and physical teams playing finesse teams. The other four, possibly three, games are classic examples of the struggles of the regular season.


Teams are struggling with injuries, lack of rest, and no incentive to play their best basketball in an attempt to win. It’s a part of the season that’s full of uncertainty. There’s a lot to unpack and that’s why I’m here to help. Let’s go through each game, sort through the important factors, and try to find some value in the betting markets.

NBA Best Bets for Tuesday

Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Current Line – Thunder -6, 240.5
My Projection – Thunder 124, Pacers 115
Key InjuriesBennedict Mathurin is out. Jalen Williams is questionable. 

The Pacers have had a roller coaster of a season. Their record setting fast pace and high volume three-point shooting took the league by surprises early. Teams struggled to slow them down and build a defense that could keep up with the ball movement. Indiana started the season 23-15 and made the In-Season Tournament final. They are 13-14 since. Opposing teams found ways to slow them down, Tyrese Haliburton missed a few weeks, and they’ve changed their style since the All-Star break. They are fifth in the league in pace and 25th in the league in three-point attempts. They started the season first in pace and seventh in three-point attempts. Indiana acquired Pascal Siakam at the trade deadline and he’s fit well, but the Pacers have become a more conventional team and lost the edge they enjoyed to start the season.

The Thunder have been arguably the most consistent team in the NBA. Their deep, talented roster has allowed them to win the second-most games in the league. They have a star player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, two potential All-Stars in Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams, and a plethora of athletic, skilled players to surround them. They are one of the best teams in the NBA and should be for years to come. They matchup very well with the Pacers and should win just about every phase of the game. I show some value on them against the full game spread, but I’m going to instead bet them early in the game. The Thunder are one of the best first-quarter and first-half teams, especially at home, and the Pacers have been slow starters. Oklahoma City regularly opens up big leads early and I expect them to do just that tonight. I’m betting on the Thunder -1.5 in the first quarter and -3.5 in the first half.


Oklahoma City Thunder First Quarter -1.5 (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Oklahoma City Thunder First Half -3.5 (-105, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Not For Noops

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

Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks -6, 208.5

Friday, the Knicks and Magic played the lowest scoring game of the season in a 98-74 Knicks win. Just two days later, the Knicks beat that record by 20 points in a 79-73 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Tuesday’s affair should be much more entertaining, but the scores are likely to be low. The Knicks and 76ers have the slowest and third-slowest pace in the league and also take the most and third-most seconds per possession. Both squads are dealing with several injuries to key players and in response, have slowed games down to limit the burden placed on the few players they do have to use each night. Luckily, help is coming. Tyrese Maxey is returning from a concussion and OG Anunuoby is expected to play for the first time in weeks due to an elbow injury. That will improve the offense for each team, but the pace might remain very slow. I show a little value on the 76ers and the over, but this is a hard game to handicap and my edges are small. I’m not going to bet this game.

Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies +2.5, 219

It’s hard to think the Wizards should be favorites on the road against any NBA team, but here we are. The Grizzlies are likely starting Luke Kennard, GG Jackson, Jake LaRavia, Santi Aldama and Lamar Stevens. With all due respect to professional athletes, this is the worst starting five in the league. A few of these guys would struggle to play minutes as backups for most teams. Memphis has been competitive and even won a few games with at least Jaren Jackson playing, but without him they are the worst team in the NBA. Now, the Wizards are among the worst teams in the NBA, but clearly better than this Grizzlies team. Washington is on a two-game win streak, which would be a spot for a lot of tanking teams to ensure that streak ends, but the Wizards have lost enough games to be more or loss locked into the best odds possible for the No. 1 draft pick. That means they can win games and not mess up their future. I make this game Wizards -4 with a total of 222. That gives me some small edges, but none big enough for me to bet a game so devoid of NBA-level talent.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs +3, 222

I played the Rockets earlier with the expectation that Victor Wembanyama would be resting. The Spurs played Monday, and the No. 1 draft pick hasn’t played both games of a back-to-back just a few times this season as San Antonio tries to ease him into the grind of the NBA. They also have incentive to rest Wembanyama to help them lose games. The teams with the three worst records in the league get the best odds for the top draft pick. San Antonio is currently third worst with 14 wins, which is just two games better than the Charlotte Hornets who have 16 wins. Well, Wembanyama is playing, and if the Spurs are trying to win this game, they can. Houston has some good players and more depth than San Antonio, but they struggle on the road. I do still show some value on the Rockets, but only 1.5 points which is smaller than the edge I normally play. No bets for here.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz +7, 230

So, do you want to bet your money on the Jazz getting only 6.5 points without Lauri Markkanen, or do you want to bet your money on the Celtics laying 6.5 points when they might most, if not all, of their starting lineup? There’s just no good choice to make here. Utah has struggled for weeks and it’s been even worse since Markkanen got injured. Boston should be able to win this game comfortably, but they played in Portland last night. That means we don’t have an official injury report yet and even if we did, the starting lineup would likely be listed as questionable. The Celtics haven’t rested their players much this season. They win enough games by a big margin to keeps stars on the bench late to keep their minutes low. Boston can win this game with just a few of their six best players, but they might not have even a few. This game is a mess right now so I’ll pass. 

Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings +1.5, 235.5

This is an interesting game because each team plays a much different style of basketball. The Bucks are a bigger, more physical team that plays at a slower pace with a focus on keeping their opponents from generating fastbreak chances. The Kings want to play as fast as they possibly can, which is a style that fits their roster of smaller, more athletic and skilled players. If Milwaukee can control the speed of play and keep Sacramento from getting extra possessions with offensive rebounds or easy points on the break then the Bucks can win this game comfortably with a low total. If the Kings can push pace and get the Bucks out of their comfort zone then Sacramento can put up a big score and win this game. This makes it a tough game to handicap, but also means there’s some correlation between the spread and total. Said another way, if you like the Kings, I would be betting a team total over and some alternate spreads. If you like the Bucks, look at betting a Sacramento team total under and under on player props. I make this game Milwaukee -3 with a total of 234, which is close to the market. Nothing for me here.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers -6.5, 215

Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are listed as questionable. Those are the two best players on each of these teams. How can we possibly bet this game until we know what’s going to happen with that group of players? Edwards played Sunday, but Gobert did not. Neither Kawhi nor PG played Sunday night. If that’s the case tonight, Edwards in and everyone else out, then Minnesota should be favored. The current line tells us that the market thinks the Clippers will have everyone available or the Timberwolves will be missing Gobert and Edwards. There are just too many possible scenarios to account for to bet this game right now. If I do make any wagers, I will post them in the FTN Bets Discord, but I’m not expecting to have any plays. It could be a fun game to watch, but it doesn’t look like a good game to bet.

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