Welcome to the Tuesday, Jan. 8 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: 20-14 (.588)
ATS Leans: 10-7-1 (.588)
Moneyline: 12-5 (.706)
Over/Under: 9-3 (.750)
1/8/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Washington Wizards (16-24) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (26-14)
Over/Under Total: 228
If not one thing, it’s been another for the Wizards through the first half of this season. The boys from the nation’s capital have encountered an endless chain of obstacles since the campaign’s opening tip. Their latest challenge is the most formidable. Washington recently lost star point guard John Wall — 20.7 points, 8.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals — to a season-ending Achilles injury.
That development heaps exponentially more pressure on backcourt mate Bradley Beal, who instantly becomes the Wizards’ go-to source of offense. Granted, Beal does have some serviceable help in the form of Jeff Green, Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, and Wall’s replacement, Tomas Satoransky. But none can truly make up for the void created by Wall’s absence. Moreover, Satoransky’s entry into the starting five thins out the Washington second unit.
While most prominent, Wall’s injury is far from the only important one the Wizards face. Porter just returned from an extended absence due to a knee issue. Markieff Morris remains sidelined for at least a few more weeks with neck/upper back problems. And while Dwight Howard‘s back injury has given young big Thomas Bryant an opportunity to develop his game, it still robs the team of overall depth.
Then, defense has been a constant challenge for the Wizards and one of the main culprits for their unsightly record. The Wizards are tied with the Kings for second-most points allowed per game (116.4). That includes 118.1 points surrendered per road contest, also the second-highest figure in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, the generous number of points allowed is largely the byproduct of Washington’s opponents getting open looks. The Wizards are allowing the fifth-highest shooting percentage (48.1) on the road this season. And in their one prior encounter with the 76ers this season — a 123-98 loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 30 — Washington saw eight Sixers score in double digits.
Meanwhile, the Sixers have particularly made their mark as a home team. Philadelphia boasts a 17-3 record at Wells Fargo Center. They come into Tuesday’s game having won three straight on their home floor, with two of those victories coming by double digits. In all, nine of Philadelphia’s home wins have been by more than Tuesday’s 8.5-point spread. That includes the aforementioned dismantling of the Wizards in late November. The Sixers have scored over 115 points in 12 of 20 home tilts, overall.
Given their stellar body of work at home, it isn’t surprising that Philadelphia’s metrics on both sides of the ball are appreciably better there than on the road. The Sixers check in as the fourth-most prolific home squad in the NBA (116.8 points per contest). That’s a notable uptick from the 111.9 points they average on the road. They’re also draining 47.4 percent of their attempts at Wells Fargo Center, compared to 45.9 percent on the road. Plus, Philly is a better shooting team from distance on their home court: their 36.6 percent success rate from behind the arc is a marked uptick from their 33.5 percent road figure.
The sharp home play extends to the defensive end of the floor, as well. The Sixers are allowing over eight points per game less at home (108.0, compared to 116.3). Then, the 43.2 percent shooting they’re yielding at WF Center is not only the fourth-lowest home figure in the NBA but also three full percentage points than what they surrender on the road. The same applies to three-point shooting. Philadelphia allows only 33.6 percent of long-distance tries to find the net on their home floor.
The previous meeting against the Wizards serves as a fitting example of the Sixers’ defensive proficiency at WF Center. They limited Washington to 40.2 percent shooting overall, including 28.6 percent from three-point range. Wall and Beal notably went a combined 10-for-28 from the field during that contest. And those numbers aren’t entirely surprising for another reason: the Wizards are averaging nine fewer points on the road (108.6) than at home (117.6).
By the Numbers
The Wizards are an NBA-worst 16-24 (40.0 percent) versus the spread this season. That includes an NBA-worst 6-16 (27.3 percent) mark against the number as a road team and a 4-11 tally (26.7 percent) as a road underdog. Washington is also 11-15 (42.3 percent) versus the spread when playing on one day’s rest and 10-14 (41.7 percent) against the number in conference games.
The 76ers are 11-9 (55.0 percent) versus the spread as a home favorite this season.
The Final Word
This is an interesting scenario: the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series. However, the Sixers are the deeper and more talented team top to bottom at the moment with Wall out for the season. Provided Jimmy Butler (illness) is back in the lineup and ready to roll for the Sixers — he did manage to practice Monday — this is a game in which Philly should be able to pull away and cover the slightly elevated number.
The Lean: 76ers -8.5, 76ers moneyline