Welcome to the Friday, Jan. 11 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: 20-15 (.571)
ATS Leans: 11-7-1 (.611)
Moneyline: 13-6 (.684)
Over/Under: 9-3 (.750)
1/11/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Atlanta Hawks (12-29) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (27-15)
Over/Under Total: 232.0
As their record implies, the Hawks are in the midst of growing pains part and parcel to a rebuilding squad. And predictably, life on the road has been especially cruel. Atlanta has dropped 19 of 24 games outside of their home arena. They’re coming off a 116-100 loss to the Nets in their most recent contest that’s emblematic of their struggles when traveling. The Hawks held an early 19-point lead at one point before getting outscored 63-42 in the two middle quarters.
That’s far from the only sizable loss Atlanta has sustained on the road. Of the aforementioned 19 away defeats, 12 have come by more than Friday’s 12-point spread. And another was by 11 points. A 113-92 walloping Oct. 29 at the hands of the same 76ers squad they’ll face Friday was one of the losses in that sample. That game pre-dated Philadelphia’s trade for Jimmy Butler as well.
The Hawks’ road metrics reflect their general futility. For example, their current average of 107.1 points per game on the road ranks them in the bottom 10 in the NBA. It’s also nearly four points per game less than the 111.0 they’re averaging at home. Then, Atlanta already comes in allowing the most points per game (117.2) in the league. But they’ve been even worse on the road, yielding 117.9 per away contest. That figure is partly the byproduct of the Hawks permitting 47.9 percent of attempts against them to find the net when traveling. That includes the fifth-highest three-point percentage allowed (38.1 percent) on the road.
Then, Atlanta hasn’t been able to offset their defensive generosity with enough consistent road offense. The Hawks are shooting a pedestrian 43.9 percent outside State Farm Arena. That ties them for the fifth-lowest road figure in the NBA. They’re also sporting the 10th-worst three-point success rate in away contests (33.8 percent). Plus, the Hawks’ league-worst ball security is even more of a liability on the road. Atlanta is now averaging an NBA-high 19.5 turnovers per road game.
Meanwhile, the Sixers have been as dominant at home as the Hawks have been inept on the road. Philadelphia comes into Friday’s game boasting a sparkling 18-3 record on their home floor of Wells Fargo Center. Seven of their victories have come by more than Friday’s 12-point spread. One of those wins is the aforementioned 21-point thrashing of Atlanta. Philly comes into Friday’s game having notched four straight home wins by an average of 17.5 points.
The Sixers have been lighting up the scoreboard at home all season. Their 117.6 points per game at WF Center rank as the fourth highest in the NBA. It’s also a full six points per game more than they average on the road. Philadelphia’s 47.8 shooting percentage on their home floor is a near-perfect fit for the 47.9 percent shooting Atlanta is allowing on the road. The Sixers are also draining an impressive 37.3 percent of their three-point attempts at WF Center — the fourth-highest success rate for any team on their home floor.
The numbers are just as impressive on the defensive end. Philly yields a solid 108.3 points per home contest, compared to 116.6 when traveling. Opponents are also generating the fourth-lowest shooting percentage (43.5) in the NBA against the Sixers on their home floor. Once again, there’s plenty of synergy in Philly’s favor with the Hawks’ numbers in that category, considering Atlanta is finding the net on just 43.9 percent of their road attempts.
Finally, it’s worth noting how good of a matchup the Hawks are for two of the Sixers’ most explosive offensive pieces in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Atlanta is allowing the fourth-highest shooting percentage to centers (56.3), along with the 10th-most rebounds (16.2), third-most assists (4.1) second-most steals (2.2), and third-most blocks (2.9) to the position. Then, they’re also yielding the seventh-highest shooting percentage (45.2) to point guards, as well as the third-most points (25.1), third-most rebounds (6.5), fourth-most assists (8.9), third-most threes (2.9), and most steals (2.3).
By the Numbers
The Hawks are 18-23 (43.9 percent) versus the spread overall this season. That includes a 12-12 mark (50.0 percent) as road underdogs Atlanta is 12-17 (41.4 percent) against the spread in conference games, 10-18 (35.7 percent) versus the number after a loss and 13-14 (48.1 percent) against the spread when playing on one day’s rest.
The 76ers are 12-9 (57.1 percent) against the spread as a home favorite this season. Philadelphia is also 10-4 (71.4 percent) versus the number following a loss and 13-9 (59.1 percent) against the spread when playing on one day’s rest.
The Final Word
The 76ers are undoubtedly the superior team top to bottom and could well have J.J. Redick return from his back injury tonight. Atlanta has struggled on the road all season and will be playing on their third game in four nights. While the Sixers will be doing the same, their starters logged considerably fewer minutes in Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Wizards than the Hawks’ front-line players did in their defeat at the hands of the Nets. The particularly large spread keeps this as a lean, but a strong one still.
The Lean: 76ers -12, 76ers moneyline