Welcome to the Tuesday, Feb. 12 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/Leans: 40-30-1 (.571)
Moneyline: 24-8 (.750)
Over/Under: 15-9-1 (.625)
2/12/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Boston Celtics (35-21) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (36-20)
Over/Under Total: 225.0
Coming into the season, the Celtics appeared to be the consensus pick to emerge from the Eastern Conference if both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were at full health. Despite their own impressive talent, the 76ers were considered to be at least a notch below. Seemingly on cue, Boston dominated Philadelphia by a 105-87 margin on Opening Night. Preseason prognostications seemed right on target.
Of course, a great deal has changed since then. The Sixers have arguably surpassed the Celtics with two highly significant acquisitions. The first was the trade with the Timberwolves for the disgruntled Jimmy Butler. While Butler was undeniably a fine addition, there was still a notable gap in Philadelphia’s attack following that transaction. Shipping Dario Saric to Minnesota landed Wilson Chandler in the starting power forward job. The veteran never got on track, leaving Philly with a nightly hole in its offense. However, the trade deadline move to obtain Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers changed that in an instant.
Harris currently boasts career-best averages in points (20.8), overall shooting percentage (49.8) and three-point percentage (44.0). He’s already shooting 57.7 percent, including 62.5 percent from three-point range, in his first two games in a Philadelphia uniform. The floor-spacing big gives the 76ers one of the most impressive starting fives in the entire NBA, one that has virtually no offensive weaknesses when at full health. Notably, the Sixers have exceeded Tuesday’s projected total of 225 points in the first two games with Harris in the lineup.
The 76ers have actually been thriving offensively at home all season. They check in with the second-most points per home game (119.4), just a tick below league leader Milwaukee’s 119.6. Unsurprisingly, the Sixers also own the second-highest home shooting percentage (48.8) in the NBA, including the second-highest three-point percentage (38.3). Philadelphia just racked up 143 points against the Lakers in their most recent home contest Sunday. The Sixers have scored 115 points or more in 20 of 29 games on their home floor of Wells Fargo Center, including eight of their last nine home tilts. That sample includes five contests in which they’ve scored over 130 points.
On the defensive end, the Sixers have been more effective at home than on the road, but they’re still allowing a relatively high number of points on average: 109.8 points per WF Center contest. That ranks them in the bottom half of the NBA. It’s also worth noting that 10 of the 76ers’ last 12 home games have gone over Tuesday’s projected total. And in all, 17 of Philly’s 29 contests at WF Center have exceeded 225 combined points.
For their part, the Celtics are averaging an impressive 112.9 points per game on the season. That number does dip to 109.8 on the road. However, Boston has shown a penchant for getting into shootouts lately. To begin with, Boston has allowed over 120 points in three of its last four. Moreover, five of their last eight games have exceeded Tuesday’s projected total. On the season, eight of the Celts’ road games have gone beyond 225 points, while a ninth hit that number exactly.
The one elephant in the room Tuesday when evaluating the possibility of the Over is that Irving will miss the game with a knee strain. However, Terry Rozier has proven a capable replacement on multiple occasions this season and the bulk of last year too. The fourth-year guard has posted double-digit scoring tallies in three of the last four spot starts he’s made in Irving’s stead. That includes a season-high 26 points against the Cavaliers on Jan. 23. It’s also worth noting the Celtics are outpacing their season scoring metric over the last three contests: 114.3 PPG during that span.
Finally, here’s a couple of other relevant nuggets of information bear mentioning. First, Tuesday’s total has been exceeded in only two of the nine games Irving has missed for Boston this season. Yet the offensive quality of the opponents in those other seven games was far below Philadelphia’s. The Celtics faced the Cavaliers, Hornets, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Pelicans, and Nets (twice) in those contests. With the exception of New Orleans, the five others are all ranked in the bottom half of the league in points per game. Accordingly, they all scored 104 points or less in those contests. Second, none of those clubs play at a faster pace than the Sixers, which average 106.1 possessions per contest (seventh highest in NBA).
By The Numbers
The Over is 33-23 (58.9 percent) in the Celtics’ 56 games this season. That includes a 14-12 mark (53.8 percent) in Boston’s road games and 5-2 (71.4 percent) in their games as road underdogs. The Over is also 11-9 (55.0 percent) in games following a Celtics loss and 6-6 (50.0 percent) in Boston’s division games.
The Over is 29-27 (51.8 percent) in the 76ers’ 56 games this season. That includes a 16-13 mark (55.2 percent) in Philadelphia’s games as a home favorite, which constitutes all their home games. The Over is also 19-16 (54.3 percent) in games following a 76ers win, 18-14 (56.2 percent) in games Philadelphia has played with one day of rest, and 6-6 in Philadelphia’s division games.
Finally, the most recent meeting between these teams on Christmas Day featured a 235.0 point total.
The Final Word
Irving’s absence naturally hurts the Celtics’ overall offensive firepower. But Rozier has proven capable of turning in very solid starting efforts. The total is hefty but not insurmountable, even with Irving’s absence. Then, the Sixers appear to have taken it to another level with the acquisition of Harris, which gives them an above-average, ultra-consistent source of points at a position that was previously a black hole for offense. Given all these factors, I see the game at least slightly exceeding 225 total points.
The Pick: Over 225.0