Welcome to the Friday, Nov. 23, 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: 10-7 (.588)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 5-3 (.625)
Over/Under: 4-1 (.800)
11/23/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Miami Heat (6-11) at Chicago Bulls (5-13)
Over/Under Total: 213.0
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To label the Heat as merely a “disappointment” over their first 17 games would be notable understatement. While not expected to be anywhere near a top four seed in the Eastern Conference coming into the season, Miami was largely projected as another borderline postseason-worthy squad again after finishing the 2017-18 campaign with a solid 44-38 record.
Instead a combination of injuries and uncharacteristically poor defensive play has largely been responsible for their downfall thus far. The Heat opened the season with multiple key players sidelined — Dion Waiters (ankle), James Johnson (sports hernia), Wayne Ellington (ankle) and Justise Winslow (hamstring). Then, since the season’s inception, Goran Dragic has been in and out of the lineup with both ankle and knee issues. He’s expected to miss Friday’s game as well. Dwyane Wade just made his return from an eight-game paternity leave.
In other words, the one constant in South Florida thus far has been makeshift lineups. That naturally has made continuity and chemistry an ongoing challenge for coach Erik Spoelstra and his charges. It’s been evident on the defensive end. The Heat went through one stretch where they allowed more than 120 points in three straight games, and they’ve allowed teams to reach that mark on four occasions overall. Miami has also surrendered 115 and 116 points, respectively, in another pair of contests. The Heat’s 110.2 points per game allowed overall is a drastic spike from last season’s 103.6 points per game figure. And, they’ve been most vulnerable away from American Airlines Arena — they’ve yielded 112.1 points per road contest. Finally, Miami is also tied with the Timberwolves for third-highest three-point percentage allowed (37.2). That could spell trouble against the likes of Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Ryan Arcidiacono and Justin Holiday.
Then, the Bulls have encountered many of the same obstacles the Heat has. They too have been handicapped considerably on the injury front. Chicago comes into Friday’s contest with Lauri Markkanen (elbow), Kris Dunn (knee), Denzel Valentine (ankle) and Bobby Portis (knee) all sidelined. Like Miami, Chicago has also been quite generous to opponents on the scoreboard as well. The Bulls allow 113.6 points per game overall, including 120.3 over their last three contests. They’re also surrendering a 46.7 percent success rate from the floor at United Center and the eighth-highest three-point percentage (36.0) overall.
It’s also worth noting that both teams have put their best foot forward offensively in the home/road settings they’ll find themselves in Friday. The Heat’s 110.9 points per game scored on the road is a notable uptick from their 106.5 figure when playing on their home floor. In turn, the Bulls find themselves just over three points per game better (105.6, compared to 102.5) when firing away at United Center.
By the Numbers
The Heat has gone over its projected total in 11 of 17 games this season (64.7 percent). That includes five of seven road games (71.4 percent) and two out of the three road games (66.7 percent) in which they’ve been a road favorite. The Heat has also gone over its projected total in nine of the 13 games (69.2) they’ve played that have qualified as conference games. Four out of Miami’s last five road games have gone over Friday’s projected total of 213.
Although the Bulls have only gone over their projected total in seven of 18 games this season, five of those seven (71.4 percent) have been conference games. Two out of the Bulls’ last three games have ended with totals of 227 and 240, respectively.
The Final Word
Neither team will be at full health, but both have adjusted to playing with their current lineups since injuries have been so prevalent on each club thus far. Defense has clearly been an issue for both teams, and they should certainly be able to put up a solid amount of points against the other. The fact that both Miami (108.1 possessions per game on road) and Chicago (108.6 possessions per game over last three games) will likely play at an accelerated clip should also help the scoreboard stay busy. Given these factors, I’m projecting a game that goes at least slightly over the total.
The Pick: Over 213.0