Last Updated: 2017-11-05
We’re starting to get a better idea of what we are working with around the NBA. There was a lot of offseason player movement and it can take time for teams to gel and figure things out. With a lot of teams approaching the 10-game mark as we head into a new week, oddsmakers are going to be able to price these teams more accurately.
Everything we write about here at BangTheBook.com and everything we talk about on BangTheBook Radio is about trying to get an edge. Using the NBA schedule to handicap is probably the best edge that we have in that market. Some of these situational spots might be priced in by a point or so, and some may not even be priced in at all. In the daily winter sports, that may not be enough and those are the edges that we look to use to our advantage.
Here are the NBA situational spots for the week ending November 12:
Monday November 6
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks – The Celtics are good and the Hawks are not. That is pretty much what we expected this season from those two squads. But, one of the great equalizers in the NBA is the schedule. The Celtics are playing their third road game in four nights on Monday. The Hawks are also playing their third game in four nights, but they won’t play in Atlanta again until November 15. With the Celtics kicking off a nice three-game homestand to fill out the rest of the week, we may not get Boston’s best effort here. The Hawks will be catching a juicy number at home and they look like the play.
Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns – The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play here. The Suns bested the Nets in Brooklyn last week and now host the same Nets on Monday. This is the second game of a back-to-back with travel for Phoenix after a visit to San Antonio on Sunday. That Spurs game was also the start of a stretch of five games in seven days. For the Nets, they’ll have two days off before this one, plus the revenge factor. The next night, the Nets are a good fade in Denver, as we’ll discuss in a minute, but this should be a good spot to back them.
Miami Heat at Golden State Warriors – How things have changed. The Warriors made the regular season a point of pride last year. After securing a regular season record and an NBA title, it seems like the team’s motivations are dramatically different this season. This is the third road game in four nights for Miami with stops in Denver and Los Angeles prior to this one. For the Warriors, this game comes off of a road trip with stops in San Antonio and Denver. With an exciting Timberwolves bunch coming to Oracle Arena on Wednesday, this feels like a bit of a flat spot for the host team. Road teams tend to come with an A+ effort at Oracle and Erik Spoelstra is a solid head coach. It’s Heat or nothing here with a big number on the board.
Tuesday November 7
Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets – This road trip for the Nets is a weird one. After playing the Lakers on Friday, the Nets had two days off before a back-to-back against Phoenix and Denver. Following this Denver game, the Nets have two more days off, with a stop in Portland and a return to LA to take on the Clippers. The Nuggets are just sitting around waiting for this home game. The altitude is an obvious consideration in this game, but the spot is just far better for the Nuggets. Look to lay it, even the big price. Or, if you don’t want to lay the big full-game line, take a look at some live betting opportunities or a second half play when the Nets start to get fatigued.
Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors – Speaking of a lay it and play it scenario, the Bulls head to Toronto to visit the Raptors. The Bulls have two days off before and after this game. Toronto’s nightlife has tripped up its fair share of teams over the last several years and with a standalone road game and time off afterwards, the players will probably go out and have some fun on Monday night. Not to mention, this is a complete lost season for the Bulls. The Raptors need to play well for the duration of the season for seeding purposes. If this was the first game back after a long trip, it would be a tougher spot, but off the Wizards game on Sunday, it’s all systems go on the Raps.
Dallas Mavericks at Washington Wizards – Isolating flat spots in the NBA can be a big help. The Wizards look to have one on Tuesday night against the Mavericks. For Washington, this game comes after games against the Cavs at home and Raptors on the road. This is the start of a nice four-game homestand, so a little bit of complacency could very well set in. For Dallas, they’ve had a couple days to get situated in DC and will have three days off before hosting Cleveland. The Mavericks are off to such an embarrassing start that they are motivated in just about every game. Dallas is a great look catching a big number on Tuesday.
Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavaliers are still being priced like an elite team, but they have played anything but to start the year. Tuesday’s tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks is an interesting one. Cleveland rolled Milwaukee at home in the second game of the season and has been a disaster since then. The Bucks have revenge on their minds. Also, when you get a new, upstart contender, slaying Goliath is a big motivating factor for David. The Bucks were beaten by 19 at home in that game, so it was a very embarrassing outcome. The Bucks are still trying to find their way, but I’d look for a game effort here in this spot.
Wednesday November 8
Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons – One of the concerns about the Pacers coming into the season was depth. That will be tested on Wednesday against the Pistons. For the Pistons, this should be as good as it gets in terms of situational spots. After a long west coast swing, the Pistons hosted a back-to-back with the Bucks and Kings to get back into rhythm at home. They have three days off prior to this game to tend to family business and continue to get comfortable at the new Little Caesars Arena. This is the fourth game in six days for the Pacers, including three with travel. They also played in Cleveland the previous Wednesday, so the Pacers have racked up a little bit of mileage. It is the back end of a back-to-back after hosting the Pelicans. The Pistons at any reasonable number is the grab on Wednesday.
New York Knicks at Orlando Magic – Unfortunately, this is a pretty high-variance game given how Orlando has been shooting at the outset of this season, but the spot sets up very well for the home team. The Knicks are on a back-to-back with a standalone road game in this one. After hosting the Hornets on Tuesday, the Knicks hopped a plane for Orlando and then head back home with a couple days off to host Sacramento. Orlando has two days to sit around and wait on this one. This is the last game before the Magic embark on a long road trip beginning on Friday in Phoenix. It’s Magic or nothing in this game.
Thursday November 9
Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets – If the Cavs don’t shape up by Thursday’s game, they might get run out of the building by the Rockets. Houston has three days off prior to this game, so a little bit of rust or sleepy legs may be the only thing that can help Cleveland. On the other hand, we’ve seen LeBron go out in these TV spots and simply put on a show. Houston views this as a statement game. The Cavs are just trying to look decent. The line will tell us a lot about the spots that these two teams are in and the Rockets will probably be the right side.
Los Angeles Lakers at Washington Wizards – The breakneck pace that the Lakers have been playing at this season is going to challenge them in back-to-backs. That is especially true with back-to-backs in Eastern Standard Time against playoff teams like the Celtics and the Wizards. If Washington falls flat on Tuesday against Dallas, as I predicted, then this becomes a great bounce back spot given the situation for the Lakers.
Friday November 10
Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder – We’ve got some good spots this week, but this is one of my favorites. The Clippers are in a really good spot here. The Clippers have two days off prior to this one, so they can get situated in OKC and get a good practice in. The Thunder play on Thursday night against Denver in a division game. This is a tough turnaround, despite the relatively short travel. The Thunder will be priced at a very high level given the individual talent, but they’re still trying to find their way. The Clippers lost some talent as well, namely Chris Paul, but Doc Rivers is doing a good job. In some respects, it is easier to replace a player early in the year than it is to incorporate new ones, especially dudes like Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. The Clippers should be getting points here and I like them to cover those and win outright.
Miami Heat at Utah Jazz – Obvious spot is obvious. The more obvious the spot, the more it is built into the line, which is why we try to look at a wide range of good situational betting opportunities. Miami is playing its fifth game in eight days on this miserable road trip. It started with a game in altitude and the Heat will head back towards the East Coast with a game in altitude. It’s hard to see how this team would have the legs to be competitive here. Utah has two days off prior to this game. You’ll be paying a premium on the spot, but it still might be good enough to overcome that inflated line.
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls – The Bulls are in a rare decent spot here on Friday. They’ll be catching a small number at home, but it sets up well. With two days off before this one, and a surefire loss in San Antonio coming up the next night, this is a spot that the team has circled in terms of grabbing a rare win. For Indiana, the Pacers come home and host Houston on Sunday, but this is the third game in four nights with travel for all of them. The Pacers have been better than people thought so far, but remember that this team still wasn’t projected to be very good. That generally comes through when a team takes on inferior competition. The Pacers aren’t superior to a whole lot of teams, but this is one and this spot is dicey.
Saturday November 11
Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans – If we’re backing the Clippers on Friday, we’re fading the Clippers on Saturday. The Pelicans have such a huge interior presence that it stacks up well with what the Clippers’ strengths are. As such, we’ll look at the perimeter, where no Chris Paul means no advantage for Los Angeles. This is the first game back off of a long trip for New Orleans, but the back-to-back is probably worse in terms of the level of competition and the fact that the Clippers head back home to host Philadelphia on Monday. I’d be looking at the Pelicans here and be hoping to catch them as a slight dog.
Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets – Obvious spot is obvious. Back-to-back with travel, playing in elevation, which is something Orlando does once or twice a year. You’ll be paying a stiff premium here, so it may not be worth it, but with Golden State on deck and built in regression, Denver may run and hide here.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Utah Jazz – Obvious spot is obvious. A back-to-back in the altitude for Brooklyn with what has been one of the weirdest road trip schedules I’ve seen in quite some time. The only worry here is that Utah has a hangover from the Miami game, but that seems unlikely.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks – The Cavs have this game sandwiched between facing Houston and then visiting New York City. LeBron loves the big lights. The lights aren’t all that bright in Dallas anymore. This is a team that Cleveland should hammer, but they haven’t been able to hammer much of anybody this season. We’ll see a line that would suggest a rout, but I’m not sure we’ll see a performance that would support the line. Pay attention to what Cleveland does leading up to this game.
Sunday November 12
Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons – Another good spot for the Pistons this week as they host Miami. The Heat are working their way back to South Florida from a brutal road trip. Detroit spends the entire week at home. We may see this one built into the line a fair amount, but it is still a great spot for Detroit. The Pistons aren’t the best of teams when it comes to living up to expectations, but this should be a big week and this game should be part of it.
Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers – It’s hard to see the Rockets excited for this one. After playing Cleveland and Memphis at home, Houston plays a standalone road game as the back end of a back-to-back. The Pacers have a day off before this one and a couple days off afterwards. This looks like a good spot to take the points with the Pacers.
Keep an eye out for these situational betting tips every Sunday at BangTheBook.com!