The 2019-20 NBA season opened last month and we have an exciting game slate this Monday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA November 18 Best Bets
Milwaukee Bucks (-7) at Chicago Bulls
When these teams met last Thursday, the Bulls gave the Bucks a scare for three-plus quarters, but still lost by 9 (124-115). That makes this a comfortable spread in what could be more of a lopsided result.
Milwaukee hasn’t had much trouble with a 33-21-2 record ATS as a road favorite since 2017. The Bulls are just 14-24 ATS as a home underdog since the start of last season. Chicago ranks 21st in net rating (-3.3) and the Bucks are second (8.6) with the best PPG average (118.8) in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Bulls have coughed up 241 points over their last two games, including 117 in a loss to the Nets without Kyrie Irving or Caris LeVert.
The Bucks lead the NBA in defensive efficiency (0.961) over their last three games and are scoring a league-best 64 PPG in the paint during that span. Like all other teams, the Bulls have no answers for Giannis Antentokounmpo and Milwaukee’s supporting cast can rally around the MVP for an easy win.
Houston Rockets (-7) vs Portland Blazers
The Rockets have taken flight with 7 straight wins by an average of 13 PPG and the Blazers are struggling mightily. Hassan Whiteside has been a disaster in pick-and-roll defense and Portland doesn’t really have other options down low with Zach Collins (shoulder) and Jusuf Nurkic (leg) out indefinitely. Look for James Harden and the Rockets to exploit Whiteside’s slow feet with Clint Capela (concussion, probable) slated to return as his “roll” partner. If the Blazers go small to get Whiteside off the floor, P.J. Tucker can create problems as a small-ball center and Danuel House (back) is also expected to return as a great two-way forward.
Houston was won four of its last five home games against Portland by an average of 8.8 PPG. While the Blazers usually sport a top 10 defense, they rank 19th in defensive rating this year. Houston has turned around its woes with the fourth-best defensive efficiency rating (0.977) over its last three games. The Rockets held Damian Lillard to 24.3 PPG in three meetings last year and C.J. McCollum hasn’t picked up the slack for Portland when Lillard needs help.
Boston Celtics (+3) at Phoenix Suns
These teams are mirror images in some ways and this could be yet another nip and tuck game for the road-tripping Celtics. Boston is third in net rating (8.0) and the Suns (6.5) rank fourth. The Celtics are third in offensive rating and Phoenix is fifth, so the 226.5-point total is certainly in play.
The Suns rank 20th in DvP against both SGs and SFs, which bodes well for Boston’s wing-heavy offense that can run through Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Boston is 25-20 ATS when listed as a road underdog since 2017 and has the best overall record (111-87-6) ATS in the NBA during that span. The Suns are playing very well, but are just 5-3 ATS at home and allowing opponents to shoot 35.5% from downtown in those contests.
NBA November 18 Picks Against The Spread
Cleveland Cavaliers (+2.5) at New York Knicks
The Knicks got up for games against the Mavericks, but can still be regarded as the worst team in the NBA. They depend on their bullying front court to produce points and Cleveland has the personnel necessary to contain those forwards.
Dallas Mavericks (-4.5) vs San Antonio Spurs
It’s tough to predict anything in this heated rivalry game, but the Spurs are posting the worst record ATS (3-10) this season and have lost five straight.
Brooklyn Nets (-4) vs Indiana Pacers
The Pacers play great team defense, but Kyrie Irving can wreck the best game plans with his incredible playmaking ability.
Toronto Raptors (-9) vs Charlotte Hornets
Toronto’s defensive efficiency has been impressive over the past couple of weeks and the Hornets have struggled against teams with a ton of length on the perimeter.
Utah Jazz (-10) vs Minnesota Wolves
With Andrew Wiggins likely out and Karl-Anthony Towns facing Rudy Gobert, the Wolves could struggle to score against a Jazz team that is rocking a +10.2 PPG differential at home.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+8.5) at Los Angeles Clippers
While the Clippers are 7-1 ATS at home this season, this has the makings of a close game with so many players seeking revenge against their former team.