Welcome to the Wednesday, March 6 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: 48-33-1 (.593)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.750)
Over/Under: 17-12-1 (.586)
3/6/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Philadelphia 76ers (41-23) vs. Chicago Bulls (18-47)
The 76ers continued their admirable run in the ongoing absence of Joel Embiid (knee) on Tuesday night, topping the Orlando Magic at home 114-106. It was Philadelphia’s fourth win in six games without their star big man. It was also their fifth game in that span in which they scored 115 points or fewer, a tangible indicator of a slight offensive downturn. Philly had exceeded that 115-point mark in six of the 11 games prior to Embiid’s injury.
Philadelphia has also been a notably less potent offensive squad when traveling all season, with or without Embiid. The Sixers are averaging 112.3 points per road game, a respectable number that nevertheless represents more than a six-point-per-game drop from their home figure of 118.4. And Philly has been even less successful in the two away contests they’ve played thus far in Embiid’s absence, averaging 109.5 points in wins over the Pelicans and Thunder.
Philadelphia has been more vulnerable on defense when traveling as well. The Sixers yield 114.2 points per road game. But there are few teams less equipped to take advantage of that generosity than the Bulls. Chicago is averaging the second-fewest points per home game (104.3) and generating the eighth-lowest home shooting percentage (45.4). It’s worth noting the Sixers have yielded a respectable 45.9 percent success rate from the floor in their away contests. That ranks them in the top half of the league.
Then, despite the fact Chicago has been involved in several high-scoring home games recently, some of those have come against quite poor defensive teams — the Hawks, Wizards, and Pelicans, to name a few. It’s often been a different story when the Bulls have faced teams with records of .500 or better at United Center. Under those circumstances, 11 of Chicago’s 16 non-overtime home games have checked in under Wednesday’s projected 226-point total.
Then, there’s the rest factor. The Bulls will be playing their third game in four nights Wednesday. They’ve done that on 11 previous occasions (factoring out an overtime contest) this season and haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard. Outside of a 125-point showing versus the defensively challenged Wizards, Chicago has posted scoring tallies of 105, 99, 97, 88, 83, 96, 107, 105, 89, and 102 in the other 10 non-overtime games they’ve played under such conditions. That equates to a meager average of 97.1 points per contest.
The 76ers are playing on the second game of a back-to-back after having traveled late Tuesday night following their home win over the Magic. Philly has a spotty offensive record itself when playing on consecutive nights. Yes, they do have 132- and 126-point hauls on the second game of back-to-backs against the Suns and Knicks, respectively. However, the Suns allow the third-most points per game (116.1) while the Knicks currently surrender the sixth most (114.3). In five other non-overtime second games of back-to-back sets, the Sixers have mustered relatively modest point totals of 108, 112, 97, 96. and 106 — that’s 103.8 per contest.
By The Numbers
The Under is 33-31 (51.6 percent) in 76ers games. That includes a 16-14 mark (53.3 percent) in Philadelphia’s away games and 7-6 (53.8 percent) in games as away favorites.
The Under is 34-29-2 (54.0 percent) in Bulls games. That includes an 18-13-1 mark (58.1 percent) in Chicago’s home games and 15-11-1 (57.7 percent) as home underdogs. The Under is also 27-17-2 (61.4 percent) in Bulls games following a loss, 6-4 (60.0 percent) in the second game of their back-to-back sets, and 24-17 (58.5 percent) in their conference games.
The Final Word
Both of these teams have been involved in their share of high-scoring games this season, but this scenario sets up differently. The 76ers clearly have less offensive firepower with Embiid out, and they’re playing on the second game of a back-to-back after having traveled late last night. Then, the Bulls are on their third game in four nights. The overall lack of rest for both clubs is much more likely to take its toll at this late juncture of the season. I, therefore, see the two teams falling a bit short of an elevated total.
The Pick: Under 226.0