Welcome to the Tuesday, Jan. 29 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: 20-16 (.555)
ATS Leans: 16-12-1 (.571)
Moneyline: 20-8 (.714)
Over/Under: 12-6 (.667)
1/29/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Philadelphia 76ers (32-18) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (26-24)
Over/Under Total: 230.5
The Lakers are hanging on to a winning record by a thread, which is admirable considering the key losses they’ve endured. Sure, there are teams that outnumber Los Angeles in terms of injured players. But LeBron James‘ extended absence due to a groin injury arguably has the same impact as losing 2-3 lesser pieces. Then, Lonzo Ball (ankle) has already missed three games and is scheduled to be out for multiple weeks. And, second-year sensation Kyle Kuzma, who’s stepped up as a pivotal source of offense in James’ absence, is now also among the walking wounded. Kuzma already missed Sunday’s win over the Suns with a hip injury, failed to practice Monday and is consequently very questionable for Tuesday’s contest.
The Lakers do own a solid 16-11 record on their home floor of Staples Center. However, Los Angeles has unsurprisingly struggled overall since losing James on Christmas Day, including at home. The Lakers are 6-10 overall since that point, including 4-6 at Staples. Of those six defeats, half have come against teams with winning records. And all but one of their six Staples Center stumbles during James’ absence preceded the current absences of Ball and Kuzma. For the season, L.A. is a respectable 6-6 versus teams with winning records at Staples, but 0-3 against them there subsequent to James’ injury.
The Lakers have interestingly been a less potent offensive team at home, but a better defensive one. Los Angeles is averaging 111.3 points per contest, compared to 113.4 on the road. In turn, the Lakers allow 113.6 points per away contest, but just 110.1 at home. Yet it’s worth noting that in those aforementioned 12 home games versus teams with winning records, that number bumps up to 115.0 points per contest. Predictably, defense has also been more of a liability without James in the lineup, as well as without Ball over the last three games. Since Dec. 27 — the first game the Lakers played without LeBron — the Lakers have allowed over 115 points on seven occasions. That includes two tallies of 120 or more, and another pair over 130.
Meanwhile, the 76ers have admittedly looked a lot sharper on their home floor than on the road. Philadelphia is a lackluster 11-13 when traveling. However, even though they’ve still been interspersed with some hiccups, there have been glimmers of improvement in recent games. Philadelphia is a solid 5-3 over its last eight road tilts. That sample includes wins over the Pacers, Clippers and Jazz in terms of victories over teams with winning records.
And while the Sixers were walloped by the Nuggets at Pepsi Center in their most recent game Saturday night, it’s worth mentioning Philly was missing both Joel Embiid (rest) and Jimmy Butler (wrist) in that contest. Both will be available Tuesday.
Finally, in making a case for a Sixers cover and win Tuesday, it’s worth noting that their four top players all have better road metrics in at least one major category as compared to their home numbers:
- Embiid: 13.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.2 BPG on road (13.3 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.7 BPG at home)
- Ben Simmons: 10.1 RPG on road (9.0 RPG at home)
- Butler: 20.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.9 APG on road (18.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.4 APG at home)
- J.J. Redick: 19.2 PPG, 46.6 percent overall shooting, 39.4 percent three-point shooting, 2.3 RPG, 3.0 APG on road (17.8 PPG, 42.7 percent overall shooting, 37.0 percent three-point shooting, 2.2 RPG, 2.6 APG at home)
By The Numbers
The 76ers are 8-9 (47.1 percent) against the spread in non-conference games. Philadelphia is also 11-6 (64.7 percent) versus the number in games following a loss.
The Lakers are 22-27-1 (44.9 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes an 11-15-1 (42.3 percent) mark versus the number as a home team, and a 1-4 tally (20.0 percent) as a home underdog. Los Angeles is also 4-10-1 (NBA-low 28.6 percent) against the spread in non-conference games and 11-16-1 (40.7 percent) versus the number when playing on one day’s rest.
The Final Word
This is a game I’m leaning toward the 76ers winning regardless of Kuzma’s status. However, I do feel his availability, or lack thereof, is the pivotal factor in whether Los Angeles covers or not. The Lakers certainly have enough to get by lower quality squads with as many key injuries as they have now. But a well-rested Philadelphia team should prove to be a bit much for them to handle with James and Ball definitely out. However, Kuzma’s presence would, in my view, give them just enough to cover a somewhat elevated number.
The Lean if Kuzma is out: 76ers -7, 76ers moneyline
The Lean if Kuzma is in: Lakers +7, 76ers moneyline