Welcome to the Thursday, 10/25/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 3-3 (.500)
ATS Leans: 2-0 (1.000)
Moneyline: 1-0 (1.000)
10/25/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Portland Trail Blazers at Orlando Magic
Over/Under Total: 218.0
The Trail Blazers are just two points shy of a perfect 3-0 record. Their only blemish thus far is a 125-124 overtime loss to the Wizards in their most recent contest on Monday. Portland is playing at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA (111.9 per game). They also came into Wednesday night’s action averaging the third-most points per contest (124.3).
The Magic have been a tough team to figure out. They followed up a season-opening 104-101 win over the Heat with a 120-88 blowout loss to the Hornets. Yet they’ve given two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference fits over the subsequent pair of games. Orlando fell just short to the Philadelphia 76ers by a 116-115 margin. They followed that with a 93-90 road upset of the Boston Celtics.
However, offense has mostly been a shortcoming for the Magic. Their numbers pale in comparison to those of the visitors. Orlando comes in averaging the second-fewest points per game (100.0). That’s partly the cause of the fifth-worst shooting percentage (41.5) in the NBA. Nikola Vucevic’s solid-but-unspectacular 18.8 points per game pace the Magic. Then, Evan Fournier (17.5 points) and Aaron Gordon (16.0 points) have also been solid, but fellow starters Jonathan Isaac (8.5 points) and D.J. Augustin (8.0 points, 28.6 percent shooting) have underwhelmed.
Finally, there are two sets of metrics worth noting. The first is the two Portland stars’ solid numbers against the Magic in a pair of wins last season:
Damian Lillard: 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steal (two games)
C.J. McCollum: 22.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals (two games)
The second involves those of Gordon in his two contests against the Trail Blazers. The star forward notably fell short of his averages while often dealing with the above-average defense of Al-Farouq Aminu and Jusuf Nurkic down low:
Aaron Gordon: 12.5 points (on 40.0 percent shooting), 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals (two games)
By the Numbers: The Trail Blazers were 22-19-2 (53.2 percent) against the spread as a road team last season, including 10-7 (58.8 percent) versus the number as an away favorite. Portland was also 16-12-2 (57.1 percent) against the spread in non-conference games. Then, the Blazers are 11-6 (64.7 percent) against the spread since the beginning of last season when playing on at least two days’ rest.
The Magic were just 17-24 (41.5 percent) against the spread as a home team last season. Notably, they were a respectable 14-14 (.500) against the number as a home dog. But they dropped both games to Portland last season, incurring losses by seven and five points.
The Final Word: These two teams have comparable talent levels in several spots, with one notable exception — point guard. Lillard is head and shoulders above Augustin, giving Portland a clear advantage at a key spot. The rest of each team’s first unit helps neutralize the other. However, Lillard is an x-factor who should be enough to help carry the Blazers to a close road win.
The Lean: Trail Blazers -3, Trail Blazers moneyline (-146)