Welcome to the Tuesday, March 5 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: 47-33-1 (.588)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.743)
Over/Under: 17-12-1 (.586)
3/6/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Orlando Magic (30-35) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (40-23)
The 76ers are set to play their sixth straight game without Joel Embiid (knee) on Tuesday. Thus far, Philadelphia has actually done an admirable job of holding down the fort without their star big man. The Sixers are 3-2 over the five contests that Embiid has missed. The fact they’ve also played the last two without Embiid’s capable backup Boban Marjanovic (knee) — games in which they beat the Thunder by four on the road and lost to the Warriors by only three — is even more impressive.
One of the reasons the 76ers have managed to continue playing at a respectable level without Embiid’s 27.3 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.9 BPG is the strong supporting cast they’ve built around him. Naturally, that starts with point guard Ben Simmons, who has a trio of 20-point efforts, back-to-back triple-doubles, and two double-doubles in Embiid’s absence. Then, there are the contributions of Jimmy Butler, who continues to stuff the stat sheet nightly while offering stellar defense. Finally, there’s Philadelphia’s most recent acquisition, Tobias Harris, who’s averaging 21.7 PPG (on 52.2 percent shooting, including 39.3 percent from distance), 7.9 RPG, and 2.7 APG over his first nine games in a Sixers uniform.
When evaluating Tuesday’s game, it’s also worth noting how dominant Philly has been on their home floor of Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers are 24-9 at WF Center overall. What’s more, they own an 18-2 record there against teams with losing records. One of those wins came against this same Magic squad back on Oct. 20, a contest they won by a slim 116-115 margin. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while Embiid was available for that game, neither Butler or Harris were yet with the team. And Simmons played just eight minutes due to back tightness.
Philadelphia checks in scoring the third-most points per home game (118.5) in the league. In turn, they’re allowing a respectable 110.5 per home tilt. And although the Magic impressively allow the fewest points per road game of any team (104.6), the Sixers have averaged a solid 111.0 points in their two prior games versus Orlando, without Harris having played in either. The Magic also often struggle to match that stellar defense with offensive contributions. Orlando still sports a poor 13-19 road mark despite their strong defense because they’re scoring just 104.3 points per road tilt, the third-lowest figure in the league.
Another important consideration with respect to Tuesday’s game is the rest factor. Orlando has been burning the proverbial candle at both ends recently. Tuesday will mark their third game in four nights and their fourth in six. Moreover, four of those contests have been on the road, including the last two. The later into the season, the more arduous stretches such as those are to a team’s energy level.
Finally, the fact Butler missed practice for the Sixers on Monday with back tightness certainly bears monitoring. There is some belief that his absence may simply have been precautionary and he’ll play tonight. Philly last took the court Saturday night, so Butler and the rest of his teammates have had the benefit of two full days off from game action coming into Tuesday.
By The Numbers
The Magic are 18-14 (56.2 percent) against the spread as an away team, including 15-11 (57.7 percent) as away underdogs. Orlando is also 25-13 (65.8 percent) versus the number when playing on one day of rest and 17-15-2 (53.1 percent) against the spread in games following a loss.
The 76ers are 17-16 (51.5 percent) against the spread as a home team, including 16-16 (50.0 percent) as home favorites. Philadelphia is 8-8 (50.0 percent) versus the number when playing on two days of rest and 14-8 (63.6 percent) against the spread in games following a loss.
The Final Word
This is a bit of a challenging game to prognosticate due to the 76ers’ injuries, the relatively small line, and the difference in rest between the teams. Ultimately, I expect Butler to take the court, and I’m leaning toward the fact the Magic are on their third game in four nights to make enough of a difference at this point in the season to carry the 76ers to the modest cover.
The Pick: 76ers -4, 76ers moneyline