I got back on track on Wednesday, as the Bucks and Grizzlies topped a 216 Total to get me to 15-5 on the year with my NBA picks. I took a break due to Thursday’s tiny three-game slate, as there just wasn’t much there to like. Sometimes it pays to just sit bad slates out, rather than forcing wins or value that simply isn’t there.
I probably would have taken the Warriors as +4 underdogs, I liked the Spurs to beat a +6.5 spread and I probably was never pulling the trigger on the Nuggets with a nasty -13.5 spread against the Hawks. Golden State got housed, Denver won by a million and my only spot on call would have been San Antonio beating the spread.
Needless to say, I’m not sad I stepped away from the NBA betting scene for a day.
Fortunately I’m back at it for a fun 8-game slate on Friday night. There are a number of betting routes to take tonight, but my favorite wager resides in Philly where the 76ers will host the Utah Jazz. The 76ers are looking stacked these days, even though they lost their first game with star wing Jimmy Butler on the roster.
I think they rectify that tonight, while they look to add to a perfect 7-0 home record. There is a lot to like about Philly tonight, so let’s dive into this matchup and see what the best bet is:
Utah Jazz (+3, -109) @ Philadelphia 76ers (-3, -109) Total: 215 (-115/-105)
There are a lot of things to consider tonight. The one thing I’m not doing is betting in favor of the Jazz. They’re a fine team, but they’re just 7-7 on the year and 2-4 away from home this year. For whatever reason, they are not playing elite defense (20th in defensive efficiency) and they’re playing faster than they have in the past.
Rudy Gobert can be a menace down low defensively, but he’s weirdly given up some huge games to big man over the past year or so. I’m sure he’ll be motivated to slow down Joel Embiid, but this dude has looked like the league MVP and I’m not about to bet against him. The best case scenario is a wash here and I’m obviously giving a reasonable edge to The Process.
Embiid is a huge reason why Philly is so good at home and also why they rank inside the top-10 in defense. Philly plays fast and while they’re not as efficient as they were last year due to losing some key shooters, they should pick things up slowly with the addition of a go-to shot-maker like Butler. Butler also enhances their defense, so I’m digging Philly quite a bit in this spot.
The against the spread data doesn’t help us much. Utah is a middling 4-4 ATS on the road this year (1-1 as a road dog) and the Sixers are 4-3 against the spread when favored at home. I’m not getting anything from that, but the spread is pretty light (-3) so backing Philly to cover isn’t asking a whole lot. The 76ers also offer value as a straight up winner (-150). That’s usually about as steep as I go with moneylines, but it’s a solid one to attack tonight.
The other big play is the Over (-115). This 215 Total is very low given Philly’s pace (6th in the NBA), home dominance and offensive upside. Utah also plays faster than they have in the past and can score the ball pretty well when they’re dialed in. Their struggles on the road have me pause a bit here, but let’s keep in mind both teams have winning records with the Over (9-5 and 9-6). Utah is averaging over 107 points per game and allowing over 108 and Philly is putting up and giving up a little over 112.
I honestly think all three bets are in play tonight, but the best value is Philly covering at -3. It’s really not a bad spread and the price is obviously the best you’ll get in this game outside of rolling with the Jazz. Chase the Over and tack on the -150 as a straight up pick if you want to triple-down here, but the spread is where I’m going tonight.