Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Friday's Best Bet
Six games in the NBA tonight, as the sports betting market falls back into routine after the holidays. We've got a big weekend of action across numerous sports, and Friday's action on the hardwood puts plenty of quality teams in action this evening.
Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and the LA Lakers are all involved in games tonight, with the Sixers and Rockets doing battle with one another. That game is the biggest on the board tonight, but it's not the one I'm looking at, as the only divisional rivalry on the slate is where I'm going tonight.
Miami at Orlando (7:05 p.m. ET)
Best Bet: Miami/Orlando Over 207.5
Basketball fans that prefer offense waited little time in turning off the Toronto/Miami game last night, as neither side was able to crack 85 points when all was said and done. The 84-76 final had to be one of the lowest scoring games in the NBA this entire year, and now on a back-to-back, you can understand why the betting percentages up at VegasInsider.com are currently showing overwhelming support for the 'under' in this game tonight.
But being contrarian by nature was always going to have me looking to take the 'over' in Miami and likely Toronto's next games, and it just so happens the Heat are up first. And with Miami the more healthy team overall compared to Toronto, I am actually glad it is the Heat up first.
Playing the second game in as many nights does bring a bit of concern for tired legs, but I'm more concerned with the idea that there is little chance Miami's shooting stays as awful as it was a night ago. The 33-for-81 from the field (40.7%) was one of their worst outputs of the year and it's a great candidate for some positive regression.
As is Miami's defense – at least if you are a Magic fan – as the 28-for-89 (31%) the Heat held Toronto too yesterday isn't likely to hold up either. Orlando's not the most explosive offensive unit out there, but they did put up 122 points in their last outing, and despite what yesterday's defense from Miami suggests, the Magic should be able to hit the century mark again today.
Another reason to look high on tonight's total is in how Miami's responded after a sub-90 point effort. Now it's been awhile for Miami to find themselves in that role, as they had topped triple digits in scoring in 12 straight games before yesterday, and even that game 13 contests ago still saw them put up 93 points in a blowout loss. But in games after scoring sub-90 points this year, Miami is a perfect 3-0 O/U with no fewer than 217 points combined in those three occurrences. The Heat are also 3-0 SU and ATS in that role if you are interested in some information on the side as well.
But a floor of 217 points and an average of 224.6 points in those three games gives us plenty of margin for error on this total play. Yes, the specific matchups do matter, and they aren't playing a running team like Phoenix tonight as they did in one of those three previous games referred too, but the other two in that subset of data came against the Pistons and Hornets, two teams that are very comparable to Orlando in both talent level and schematics.
For whatever reason(s), the Heat can rarely put two stellar defensive performances, or two abysmal offensive performances together, and that only leads to grandiose thoughts on cashing this 'over' play tonight. Orlando is a team that's hoping things can go extremely well for them the first half of this month, as things really start to get dicey for the Magic after January 15th, and if they can go into tonight's matchup with the goal of trying to run Miami into extreme fatigue late, success should be able to come.
But it's extreme outlier results like the 'under' in last night's Miami/Toronto game that I love to take advantage of in going the other way of what conventional wisdom would suggest, and the 'over' for this game tonight fits that angle to a T.