The 2019-20 NBA season opened last month and we have an exciting game slate this Wednesday.
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 20 Best Bets
Miami Heat (-10.5) vs Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are hitting a bit of a wall after a surprising start. Part of that is due to an inexperienced backcourt that shoots a combined 41.2% from the floor. That has forced Cleveland to run most offense through Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, who will sit out tonight’s game for rest. Thompson has been Cleveland’s MVP thus far with averages of 14.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 1.5 BPG. Love has also been key to their success, as evidenced by a blowout loss to the lowly Knicks when he sat out with a back issue. While expected to play tonight, Love could be hobbled, and he’ll draw a tough matchup against Miami’s third-rated defense.
Miami has won six straight over Cleveland, including a 108-97 road win last Thursday. The Heat leads the NBA with stellar 61.4% effective FG shooting while winning three straight after returning from a beating in L.A. at the hands of the Lakers. Miami is allowing the sixth-fewest PPG (40.7) in the paint during that span and the Cavs rank 26th in 3-point shooting (32.7%) so this could get ugly for the road team. Miami also happens to be 5-0 ATS with a +11.6 cover margin at home this season.
Charlotte Hornets (+4) at Brooklyn Nets
The feisty Hornets are fully capable of covering this small number in a game where the Nets had their top two scorers, but are a better bet with Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Caris LeVert (thumb) ruled out for this contest. Brooklyn is tied for last in offensive efficiency over its last three outings and that won’t cut it for a team that ranks 28th in PPG (118.5) allowed this season. These Nets are not like the talented young Celtics, who seemed to rally every time Irving missed a game.
Now, the Hornets have struggled defensively as well, but have trimmed up their interior defense while allowing a modest 49.3 PPG in the paint over their last three. Charlotte has an above-average true shooting percentage (52.2%) on the year and a respectable 51.6% effective FG percentage on the road, which has helped the Hornets go 5-2 ATS in those road games. After getting pummeled on Monday by the Pacers, the Nets are now 1-6 ATS when listed as a favorite, and 2-4 with a -5.8 differential ATS in home games. Last season, the Hornets split the season series with the Nets, with both losses coming by 2 points and one contest going to overtime. The teams are on a similar level now with Kemba Walker traded and Irving sitting out.
Houston Rockets (+1) at Denver Nuggets
Houston is being underrated by the public and by oddsmakers due to a poor start defensively. Yet the Rockets are sixth in defensive efficiency over their last three games (Denver ranks 20th) and Houston has now won eight straight by an average of 13.2 PPG. This contest starts a huge week with a trip to the Clippers up on Friday followed by a Sunday afternoon tilt against rival Dallas. Beneficially for the Rockets, Clint Capela returned on Monday with a 20-20 game and Danuel House (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) was even more valuable at SF than his stat line would imply.
The Rockets have owned Denver in recent years, winning 10 of 11 meetings since the start of the 2016-17 season. Granted, the one loss came in Denver this past February, but Houston still owns a +13.7 point differential against the Nuggets over the past two seasons. James Harden has shredded the slower Nuggets with averages of 30.3 PPG and 9.7 APG on .648% true shooting during that span.
As mentioned above, Denver is struggling with its defensive efficiency while yielding a 52.9% true shooting rate over its last three outings. The Rockets actually have a better true shooting rate (54.4%) in road games this year and are leading the NBA with a stunning 16.6 3PTM per game (at a 34.8% clip) on the road.
NBA November 20 Picks Against The Spread
Milwaukee Bucks (-11) at Atlanta Hawks
The Bucks are on fire right now and did a good job of containing Trae Young last season. If Jabari Parker (shoulder) is at all limited, Atlanta will be in trouble.
Golden State Warriors (+13.5) at Dallas Mavericks
The Warriors are young enough to stay competitive on the second half of a B2B set and seem to be finding their rhythm without a go-to-scorer, as they defeated the Grizzlies last night with D’Angelo Russell out.
Toronto Raptors (-3) vs Orlando Magic
Toronto has been so efficient on both ends of the floor lately and Orlando is only efficient on the defensive side.
Boston Celtics (+7.5) at Los Angels Clippers
The Clippers will apparently have both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George tonight, which should elicit the best out of the Celtics and probably lead to a close finish.
Minnesota Wolves (+3) vs Utah Jazz
The Wolves just won in Utah with Andrew Wiggins out and could have their secondary scorer back tonight. Utah tends to play very close games on the road.
Philadelphia 76ers (-12.5) at New York Knicks
The Sixers should be able to contain the Knicks big frontcourt with their own bulky back line. That should lead to a comfortable win, but 13 points is a big number to cover.
Washington Wizards (+3) vs San Antonio Spurs
I’m not taking the Spurs (3-10 ATS) right now, are you? Stay away from this one since Washington could give it away if Bradley Beal comes out cold.