Welcome to the Thursday, Nov. 15, 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 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: 8-7 (.533)
ATS Leans: 4-3 (.571)
Moneyline: 4-3 (.571)
Over/Under: 3-0 (.1000)
11/15/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Golden State Warriors (12-3) at Houston Rockets (6-7)
Over/Under Total: 219
The Warriors come into Houston in the midst of a tiring week, one that’s taxed them both physically and mentally. Golden State will be playing their third game in four nights Thursday. That stretch included an overtime loss to the Clippers on Monday. Additionally, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green had a much-publicized dust-up during that contest. That cost Green a one-game suspension without pay, which he served versus the Hawks on Tuesday. He’s expected back in the lineup Thursday. A tired Warriors squad got past Atlanta sans Green and the injured Stephen Curry (groin) by a 110-103 score.
Then, the Rockets have overcome some early-season adversity of their own. They’ve dealt with a key suspension (Chris Paul), a key injury (James Harden), an apparent square peg that’s caused some disruption to their rotation (Carmelo Anthony), and a 1-5 start. All of those situations have been or are in the midst of getting resolved. Houston comes into Thursday’s game having won two in a row and five of seven. Despite the recent resurgence though, there’s still plenty of work left before they’re fully back to their expected level of performance. Houston is scoring a modest 103.2 points per game — third fewest in the league. That shortfall is partly the byproduct of the Rockets tying the Celtics for the second-lowest team shooting percentage (42.6).
Even without Curry in the lineup, the Warriors are able to muster plenty of offense. They proved as much Tuesday while missing both Curry and Green. They posted 116 points apiece in their first two games without Curry but with Green in the lineup. Golden State sports the top team shooting percentage (50.9) in the NBA. Durant leads the way for the defending champs with a 53.1 percent success rate. Curry’s replacement, Quinn Cook, sports an impressive 51.2 percent figure of his own. Klay Thompson (46.4 percent) and Green (46.2 percent) have been solid as well. Alfonzo McKinnie is currently draining 51.4 percent of his attempts off the bench, including 50.0 percent from three-point range.
Then, the Rockets have four players averaging double-digit point totals, even when factoring Anthony out of the equation: Harden, Paul, Clint Capela, and Eric Gordon. Despite the current shooting struggles, those players all have the ability to break out on any given night. Moreover, the shooting percentages for Harden (42.0), Paul (41.9), and Gordon (32.3) are all well below each player’s career norms. That forecasts a gradual and inevitable bounce-back for each, considering their talent. Houston is also playing at a faster pace at home (103.0 possessions per contest at home, compared to 98.8 on the road). That should help create additional opportunities against a Warriors squad allowing a healthy 111.0 points per contest.
By The Numbers
The Warriors have gone over their projected total in eight of 15 games thus far (53.3 percent). That includes going over in five of six road games (83.3 percent).
The Rockets have gone over their projected total in three of five home games (60.0 percent) thus far. Houston has scored 112 and 115 points in two of the three home games they’ve played with Harden in the lineup.
The first five meetings (three regular season, two postseason) between the teams last season went over Wednesday’s projected total.
The Final Word
These two teams tend to generate fairly high scores when they get together. Granted, it’s a bit harder to have faith in such scoring in this meeting given Curry’s absence and the Rockets’ struggles. However, the fast pace this game should be played at will help generate more points. Moreover, with Cook’s contributions, the Warriors have proven capable of keeping the offense humming at a solid pace even without Curry. Assuming Green is indeed back in action Thursday (listed as questionable), I see this game going at least slightly over a total that’s a bit more modest than it typically would be when these two clubs meet.
The Pick: Over 219