Welcome to the Monday, Feb. 25 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 Leans/Picks: 43-31-1 (.581)
Moneyline: 25-8 (.758)
Over/Under: 17-10-1 (.630)
2/25/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Philadelphia 76ers (38-22) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (27-34)
The 76ers were considered a serious Eastern Conference playoff contender before the season started, even as their starting five was a bit unbalanced in terms of talent. However, the presence of both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid — and to a lesser extent, J.J. Redick, Dario Saric, and Robert Covington — was significant enough to vault Philadelphia into the conversation alongside conference favorites Boston and Toronto.
As it turned out, though, the 76ers were far from done stockpiling talent. Philadelphia made headlines with two major in-season acquisitions that have essentially left the team without weaknesses on its first unit. Both Jimmy Butler (via Minnesota) and Tobias Harris (via the Clippers) represent upgrades over the players they directly replaced, Covington and Wilson Chandler. Their presence helps the Sixers remain viable offensively even when a player like Embiid is sidelined.
That’s currently the case, with Embiid out for at least another couple of games due to knee soreness. Another recent addition, Boban Marjanovic, is now also available to fill the void created by the big man’s absence. Marjanovic was particularly effective filling in for Embiid in the 76ers’ first game coming out of the All-Star break, generating a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double over 27 minutes against the Heat. He was much less productive against the Trail Blazers in the following game, but Marjanovic played only 19 minutes in that contest. With Philly looking to counter the size of Anthony Davis down low Monday, Marjanovic is likely to see an allotment of minutes closer to what he saw versus Miami if he can avoid foul trouble.
It’s worth noting the 76ers put up solid points without Embiid in the lineup more than once this season. Embiid has missed five games coming into Monday’s contest. Philly logged 117 points against the Pistons and 121 against the Hawks in two of those games. Neither Harris nor Marjanovic was on the squad yet for those outings.
Zooming out, Philadelphia has both put up and given up hefty points on the road this season. They come in averaging 112.5 points per road contest, the eighth-highest road figure in the NBA. In turn, they’re allowing 114.7 points per away game, also a bottom-10 number. Oddly enough, the 76ers are shooting 46.1 percent when traveling and allow the exact same rate to opponents on the road.
Then, despite the disparity in their records, the Pelicans’ profile is very similar to the 76ers’ in several ways that support Monday’s game exceeding its projected total. New Orleans is averaging a robust 117.2 points per home game, the sixth-highest home number in the league. That figure is largely the byproduct of a razor-sharp 48.1 percent success rate from the floor at Smoothie King Center. But the Pelicans’ lack of defensive prowess has often sabotaged those offensive efforts. The Pelicans come in allowing the fourth-most points of any team on its home floor (113.7). Opponents are draining 46.9 percent of their attempts at Smoothie King Center, including 35.8 percent from three.
New Orleans has been particularly prone to shootouts of late. The Pelicans’ last game against the Lakers on Saturday featured a combined 243 points. They’ve also recently been involved in contests that matched or exceeded Monday’s projected totals against the Thunder (253 points), the Timberwolves (239 points), the Bulls (245 points), the Spurs (240 points), and the Thunder again (238 points). Plus, they fell just one point short of Monday’s total versus both the Rockets on Jan. 29 and the Pacers on Feb. 22. In all, four of the Pels’ last six home games have gone over Monday’s projected total.
By The Numbers
The Over is 31-29 (51.7 percent) in 76ers games this season. That includes an 8-8 mark (50.0 percent) in their games as road underdogs. The Over is also 19-15 (55.9 percent) in games Philadelphia has played on one day of rest and 11-10 (52.4 percent) in the games they’ve played following a loss.
The Over is 33-28 (54.1 percent) in the Pelicans’ games this season. That includes a 15-14 (51.7 percent) mark in their home games. The Over is also 12-11 (52.2 percent) in New Orleans’ non-conference games thus far and 19-17 (52.8 percent) in the games they’ve played with one day of rest.
The Final Word
A matchup between two teams playing at top-10 paces and replete with talented scorers always has a solid chance of exceeding the total. The absence of Embiid is a reason for pause, but as cited earlier, Philadelphia has proven capable of racking up points without their big man. The total is a bit on the hefty side, but I see it being exceeded at least slightly as the 76ers look to bounce back from their home loss to the Trail Blazers. Additionally, with the game essentially a “Pick ‘Em” scenario, the possibility of an overtime period certainly looms.
The Pick: Over 238.0