Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Wednesday's Best Bets
It's a busy day in the NBA as the entire league takes Thursday off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Nearly the entire league is on the court tonight with 14 games on tap, which means like most Wednesday cards there is plenty to break down from a betting perspective.
What's interesting to note off the top is the fact that we've got three teams laying at least nine points tonight – Philadelphia, Toronto, Milwaukee – and teams in that role the past two years on Thanksgiving Eve have not fared well. Heavy favorites of -9 or more are 0-5 against the spread (ATS) and just 3-2 straight up (SU) the past two years on this night, as maybe some grandeur visions of a day off to spend time with loved ones has these quality teams overlooking their weaker foes. It's hard not to take a long look at taking the points with Sacramento, New York, and Atlanta respectively, so if you are looking for more action tonight, starting there isn't a bad option.
But there is one side and one total that do appear to be more attractive from my view tonight, so let's get right to the plays:
Miami at Houston (8:05 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #1: Houston Rockets -7
The Rockets have had a tough go of it lately as they've lost three in a row after rattling off eight consecutive wins (7-1 ATS during that run). But the quality of foe picked up dramatically for Houston, as these three losses have come @ Denver, @ LA Clippers, and at home vs Dallas. Tonight's home game against Miami is another above average foe with the Heat sitting at 12-4 SU, but this has the feel of one of those “get right” spots for Houston all the way around.
For one, this is Miami's 4th game in six nights and 5th in eight evenings, as they've been jumping around between being hosts and visitors throughout. They return home after tonight to celebrate the holiday before welcoming in a very bad Golden State team on Friday night, so there is a chance that Miami no-shows on that alone. Should the Heat get down early and things continue to spiral from there, packing up shop and moving on to Thanksgiving festivities is a distinct possibility.
Secondly, thanks to Miami's great start – both SU and ATS – the market is hesitant to want to go against the Heat as they are on this roll. A 6-1 ATS run will be supporting evidence for Heat backers, especially when combined with Houston's three-game losing streak. Betting percentages up at VegasInsider.com already show the majority (70%+) support on the visitors for this game, as Miami finds themselves in the dreaded public underdog role. You put that on top of the notion that Miami could throw in the towel should things go south early, and that's a market majority that's easy to fade.
Furthermore, Miami's a team that's outperformed their market expectation so far this year, and that great run lately (6-1 ATS) is something the market definitely notices. But considering they've only played one team with a winning record in that span (Philadelphia) and they got the Heat got their asses handed to them in that game (113-86), stepping up in competition level may not treat Miami all that well.
Yes, there were extenuating circumstances in that Philly game with Jimmy Butler's return to a team he didn't exactly mesh with last year, but the concept remains the same. Miami's great at beating up on bad teams and they've been dealt a ton of them so far during their first 16 games of the year. But if you include a 15-point road loss to the Lakers and a 20-point road loss to Denver, over their past 10 games – the only three teams with a winning record they've played in that span – Miami's a team you should probably want no part of. Make a note the Butler (illness) is listed as 'doubtful' and likely to sit this one out tonight.
Finally, we can't forget about the fact that 11 games ago, Miami put a beating on this Rockets team themselves (129-100) in what is one of Miami's two wins this season against a team with a winning record currently. That may be used as another piece of evidence for Heat backers tonight, but I view it as Houston is the side that hasn't forgotten about that embarrassment and would love to repay the favor tonight. Houston's clearly capable of putting together a dominant performance like that, and with a 6-0 ATS run for the Rockets after getting two full days off, and a 4-1 ATS run going at home, laying the chalk here is the way to go.
Chicago at Golden State (10:35 p.m. ET)
Chicago/Golden State Over 215.5
Best Bet #2: Chicago/Golden State Over 215.5 Two of the worst teams in the league meet in this nightcap tonight, and although the market has moved against this play, it's still a game that probably turns into a track meet.
Golden State's steep decline from spending years atop the mountain in this league is well documented, and there is no need to get into that in much detail here. But what is important to note is the fact that after a decent defensive effort for this Warriors team – ie allowing 100 points or less – they tend to follow it up with a clunker at that end of the floor. It's only happened two other times prior to their last outing, but after allowing 100 or less, the Warriors have gone 2-0 O/U in their following game, allowing an average of 130 points per game.
Remember this is a Golden State team that allows 117.6 points per game on the year as it is, and while things have tightened up on that end since the rough start to the season in that regard, they are still a team that just doesn't have the roster continuity right now to be sound on the defensive end. Guys on the floor are still learning where they need to be at times, which leads to massive breakdowns and easy buckets for the opponent.
At the same time, Chicago's defense isn't much better (allow 110.8/game), and have watched their opponents put up 115 or more in six of their last seven games overall. There last two road games have finished with at least 231 points combined, and while a 4-4 O/U record away from home doesn't exactly provide an edge either way, not one of those 'unders' have come on a total that closed lower then this 215.5 number.
In the end you've got two teams that know they are going nowhere this year and will likely go up and down the court on one another with a day off on the horizon. There will be no urgency to play tough defense for long stretches of time from either side, and as long as we don't get drastically poor shooting nights from at least one of the sides, this game should see 220+ points.