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NBA

Jan 07, 2020

Tuesday's Best Bets

It's not the best of cards in the NBA on Tuesday, as the six-game slate does leave a bit to be desired. Of the 12 teams involved, chances are only two of them will end up being playoff bound when all is said and done this year (Toronto and L.A. Lakers), and in general, betting markets can have a tough time putting much faith into sub-par teams.

But the betting market sleeps for no one, and when you do have suspect teams squaring off with one another, there may be a bit more potential for value out there, simply because you know that certain sides won't be as skewed as they can be in terms of betting support.

So let's try and grab a few winners on tonight's board as we've got one favorite, and one underdog on the card.

Oklahoma City at Brooklyn (NBATV, 7:35 p.m. ET)

Best Bet #1: Oklahoma City -2.5

The Thunder have been a covering machine this year at 24-12 ATS against the closing number, and managed to sneak in under the closing line last night in a seven-point defeat at Philadelphia catching +7.5 points. Oklahoma City was toe-to-toe with the Sixers for the majority of that 2nd half, and only put an ATS win in jeopardy in the final minute or two when they were forced to play the foul game.

The back-to-back situation for the Thunder may have some bettors turning away from supporting that side, but Brooklyn's in the exact same scenario after falling to Orlando last night as well. The 101-89 loss for the Nets was their sixth straight – both SU and ATS – as they've not been able to play a strong full 48 minutes on the court. I'm not sure if not having any of their superstars available is finally starting to wear on this team, but whatever it is, the Nets are just a team I really want no part in backing right now, especially when the spreads are in a range that's close to pick'em.

Understandably there may be more concerns for OKC then just this being the latter half of a back-to-back, as it is also the end of a four-game road trip. Sometimes you can see teams lay an egg in that type of travel scenario as tired legs start to catch up to them, but Oklahoma City has such youth and energy about them right now that this is a game they know they should get.

What it basically boils down to is backing the better team, playing the better basketball, and that's clearly the Thunder right now. OKC is on a 5-0 ATS run away from home as it is, are 6-0 ATS the last six times they have played the 2nd game of a back-to-back – which speaks to their youth – and have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five against a losing team.

With the current betting percentages at VegasInsider.com currently showing about a 60/40 split in OKC's favor, and the spread showing more support coming for the home dog, I'm actually a bit surprised that the Thunder aren't more popular here. Again, those negative scheduling scenarios likely have something to do with it (end of a road trip, back-to-back), but I'll support the visitors here as they look to end their road trip off with a W.

Minnesota at Memphis (8:05 p.m. ET)

Best Bet #2: Minnesota +3.5

Speaking of betting percentages up at VegasInsider.com, it was very surprising to see all the love Memphis has gotten early today, as support of 80%+ have pushed an opener of Memphis -2.5 up a full point already. The Timberwolves are never a franchise that will get overwhelming support in the betting market on the regular, but for a team that's won three of four just like the Grizzlies have, this spread does look a little disrespectful to me.

Without question the Grizzlies have been playing some great basketball lately, as their 140-114 win at the L.A. Clippers over the weekend is a game that really sticks out.

Performances like that are hard to forget about for the general betting market, and when Memphis was able to follow that up with a 121-114 win at Phoenix catching nearly a touchdown (+6.5), it only solidifies those strong perceptions of a team. It's like an upstart tennis player breaking a legend like Nadal or Federer and then consolidating that break with a dominant service game right after.

But to continue that Tennis metaphor, that player is still an 'upstart' and over the longer course of the match, chances are they will end up falling to the legend. Now, in no way, shape, or form are the Minnesota Timberwolves the legend in this comparison, but they've been playing decent basketball themselves and are seemingly get cast aside here.

The point of that comparison is more about the notion that Memphis will eventually come crashing back down to earth, and as a favorite getting steamed by the masses, this does appear like a solid spot to go against that bandwagon.

It's not like Minnesota has beaten the league's best teams during this three wins in four games stretch, but they are 4-0 ATS in that time. The lone loss came by a single bucket at Milwaukee – the league's best team – and the last two wins have come in dominant fashion as they should have against Golden State and Cleveland.

Minnesota is definitely a live dog here as they've appeared to find something with Karl-Anthony Towns on the shelf of late. Sometimes when a team's star goes down, it's actually a benefit as they can't force possessions to said player anymore, and have to play more fundamentally sound 'team' basketball where the passes are humming around the court and guys are getting open shots everywhere.

They've also played much better team defense during this brief run with Towns on the shelf – again, forced to adopt a more team-based approach on both ends of the floor – and as much as basketball is a game that can be taken over by one or two dominant guys, their is always going to be a place (and success found) for those that operate well as one cohesive unit.

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