NBA Betting Picks | October 19

Odds, Previews, And Predictions

The 2021-22 National Basketball Association season is just tipping off, and PlayPicks wants to be your go-to destination for NBA betting picks. Every day throughout the regular season, this page will provide odds, analysis, and betting predictions including moneylines, spreads, totals, and props for several games on the upcoming slate.

Check out our preseason content to get the best info for NBA Futures bets:


Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets – 7:10 p.m. ET

Rick Carlisle is going to enact some changes as he takes over the Pacers, but their style might not change overnight. Indy played at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA and allowed a league-high 54.1 PPG in the paint last season. The Pacers went a stunning 25-11-1 to the Over on the road and 28-15-1 to the Over when facing Eastern Conference teams.

The Hornets averaged 111.1 PPG with LaMelo Ball active, versus 105.5 PPG without him last year. Gordon Hayward has a similar impact on their offense with the team shooting 38% from 3-point range in games with Hayward active. Charlotte should push the pace even more this season with athletic wing Kelly Oubre Jr. added to the fold and speedy PG Ish Smith coming off the bench behind Ball.

Charlotte finished 8th in fastbreak PPG (13.8) last season and the Pacers coughed up the second-most fastbreak PPG. The Hornets gave up 111.8 PPG and the Pacers offense is capable of taking off under Carlisle. They won’t have Caris LeVert (back) yet, but Malcolm Brogdon is looking healthy and Domantas Sabonis – who posted a stellar 115.4 offensive rating last season – should help Indy keep pace and get this game Over the implied total.

Pick: Over 223.5 points or lower (-110 or better)
Lean: Hornets -1.5 (-115 or better)

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks – 7:40 p.m. ET

In many ways, these teams had opposite types of seasons last year. The Celtics have been loaded with talent for years, but underachieved, while Tom Thibodeau got the most out of his hard-nosed lineups and led the Knicks to a surprising playoff berth. With Ime Udoka taking over as Celtics coach and key additions such as Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson adding athleticism on the wing, the Celtics should be very tough this season both sides of the ball.

The implied total (217 at DraftKings Sportsbook) is very low for this game since the Knicks ranked 30th in pace and allowed the fewest PPG (104.7) in the NBA last season. New York benefitted from opponent’s shooting poorly from the perimeter and the Celtics were solid in that department with a 37.2% clip from deep. Boston finished 4th in the NBA in second half scoring and 3rd in opponent’s offensive rebounding rate, which is a key stat against the Knicks.

While Al Horford (COVID) may not be active on opening night, he will provide vital leadership and direction for Boston this season. The Celtics basically never had their full lineup healthy last season and Kemba Walker – now with the Knicks – continues to struggle with knee issues. Marcus Smart and company should be all over Walker and former teammate Evan Fournier, allowing the Celtics to pull away in the second half and win (+110 moneyline). Consider live betting Boston if the C’s fall into an early hole on the road. The Knicks have absolutely no answers for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is an underrated two-way stud who can contain Julius Randle and/or R.J. Barrett.

Pick: Celtics Moneyline (+110 or better)
Lean: Celtics Over 108.5 points or higher (-110 or better)

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns– 10 p.m. ET

At this point, the Nuggets are used to playing without Jamal Murray (ACL) and they shouldn’t be getting this many points due to his absence. Devin Booker (COVID) missed a lot of preseason time with the Suns and they’re coming off a very short layoff after playing deep into July. DeAndre Ayton enters the season mired in contract negotiations that could disrupt the miraculous chemistry Phoenix showcased last year.

Phoenix took advantage of Denver’s tired legs with a decisive sweep in the playoffs, but their regular season meetings have been much closer lately, with the Nuggets winning the last 2 in overtime and the Suns taking the previous game by 3 points last season.

Denver posted the eighth-best net rating (7.8) in Clutch Time last season, i.e. when the game is within 5 points in the final 5 minutes. The Nuggets finished 3rd in FG shooting, 7th in PPG, and 2nd in rebounding rate last season. With reigning MVP Nikola Jokic moving the offense and underrated PG Facundo Campazzo filling in, the Nuggets should keep pace on the road in their opener.

Pick: Nuggets +6 (-110 or better)

Picks are ranked in order of confidence. Odds subject to change after picks are submitted.


LaMelo Ball (Pacers at Hornets)

Over 6.5 Total Assists (-105 or better): The odds are great to take the Over on Ball’s assist total tonight in what we expect to be a fast-paced matchup with the Pacers. As a rookie, he averaged 6.1 APG over just 28.8 MPG and he’s expected to be handed the keys to the offense with more playing time in his sophomore campaign. The Pacers allowed the third-most APG (28.2) last season and Ball averaged 6 APG over 28.2 MPG in 2 meetings with Indy.

Jusuf Nurkic (Kings at Blazers)

Over 28.5 Total Points, Rebounds, and Assists (-120 or better): Nurkic was limited last season while coming back from a devastating leg injury and he only averaged 23.8 MPG during the regular season. He averaged 17.3 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per 36 minutes and is almost a lock to top 30 p/r/a in the opener if he can stay out of foul trouble. Sacramento is one of the least threatening teams down low and Nurkic should be able to stay on the floor against a team that yielded the second-most PPG in the paint (53.5) and the highest offensive rebounding rate in the NBA last season.

NBA odds for October 21, 2021

How To Bet On The NBA


Moneyline betting is very straightforward and easy to understand, so it is the most common choice for novice bettors. It involves simply picking the winner of the game, regardless of the margin of victory. Each team is assigned a moneyline, with the favorite having a negative line and the underdog having a positive line.

Below is an example of what an NBA moneyline may look like:

  • Milwaukee Bucks -200
  • Los Angeles Lakers +170

When betting the favorite, think of the moneyline as the amount you’d have to risk to win $100. For underdogs, the moneyline is the amount you stand to win if betting $100. Once this is kept in mind, the math becomes simple no matter the amount you wish to wager.

The Bucks are -200, meaning bettors will have to bet $200 to win $100 in profit on Milwaukee winning the game. On a smaller scale, that’s $100 to win $50, or $20 to win $10.
The Lakers are +170, so a $100 wager can win $170 in profit. A $10 bet would net $17 in winnings, and betting $50 could win $85. All moneyline bets include overtime unless otherwise stipulated.

Point Spread

Point spreads are incredibly popular when to comes to the NBA, similar to NFL betting. Teams aren’t all equal in quality, and the spread is how oddsmakers level out the game from a gambling perspective. The spread represents the sportsbook’s projected winning margin for the favorite and losing margin for the underdog. An example would be:

  • Milwaukee Bucks -5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Lakers +5 (-110)

When betting favorites, the winning margin needs to be more than the number to ‘cover’ the spread. In this case, the Bucks would have to win by six or more points to win a spread bet. Underdogs don’t need to win the game and can even lose by less than the spread and still win the wager. If Los Angeles loses by four or less, the Lakers still cover the spread.

With a standard -110 line attached to both sides, bettors would have to risk $110 to win $100 no matter their bet. While oddsmakers set many spreads at -110, these lines can range anywhere from -125 to +100 depending on the situation. If the favorite wins by the exact point spread, the bet is graded as a push and your original stake will be returned to your account, regardless of which side you take.
Totals (Over/Unders)

Betting on totals, also known as over/unders, involves picking whether the combined score of the game will go over or under a predetermined number set by oddsmakers. NBA basketball has quite a bit of scoring compared to most other sports, even the college game, so totals are quite high.

  • Bucks-Lakers Over 233.5 (-115)
  • Bucks-Lakers Under 233.5 (-105)

The total is really self-explanatory. If the Bucks and Lakers combine for 234 or more points, the over is a winner. If the final tally adds up to 233 or fewer points, the under hits. Similar to spreads, the juice for a total is likely to be in the -125 to +100 range.

In this example, we’ve shaded the juice toward the over to show an example of what you might see when you open your sportsbook app. At -115, betting Over 233.5 means risking $115 to win $100. On the other side, taking Under 233.5 only requires a $105 risk to win $100.

Prop Betting

Prop bets are wagers on in-game events excluding the standard moneyline, run line, and total, which are the three most conventional and popular basketball bets out there. Many NBA props are centered around whether a specific player will reach a statistical milestone set by oddsmakers, though there are also many team and game props to choose from as well. Some of the options include:

  • New York Knicks Team Total: Over 206.5 (-108), Under 206.5 (-118)
  • Khris Middleton Three-Point FG Made: Over 2.5 (-130), Under 2.5 (+115)
  • GSW-PHX First Basket Scorer: Steph Curry (+350), Chris Paul (+500), etc.

The majority of props are simply over-under picks for in-game occurrences and player statistics. Depending on the market, some props have long odds and handsome payouts, while others have more conventional lines you see with spreads and totals. Most online sportsbooks offer dozens of prop markets for every single NBA game, offering tons of unique ways to take in the action.

NBA Futures Betting

Futures betting involves placing bets on markets that will be settled down the road. Many futures come with handsome odds and they also provide a rooting interest for much longer than a standard game does. While most markets are team-related, you can also place futures bets on players as well. The most common NBA futures are the following:

  • NBA Champion
  • Eastern/Western Conference Winners
  • Division Winners
  • Team Win Totals
  • To Make/Miss Playoffs
  • Player Awards (MVP, Sixth Man, Scoring Champion, Rookie of the Year, etc)

Bettors should keep in mind that many futures markets remain open after the start of the season with updating odds based on the action that takes place on the court. Depending on the player or team you’re considering a bet on, odds could fluctuate throughout the course of a season. Certain markets, however, do close once the season begins.

If you’re on the hunt for the longest odds and the largest payouts, consider under-the-radar teams or go right for the high-paying markets like NBA champion or NBA MVP.

Live Betting

Live betting is the process of wagering on a game that has already begun, and it’s become wildly popular with the widespread growth of mobile betting. As a game progresses, sportsbooks will update the odds of the moneyline, spread, total, and certain props, allowing bettors to wager throughout the game. Live betting on the NBA requires quick reactions, as quick trips up and down the floor can result in odds changing every few seconds.

NBA Betting Strategies

Fade The Public: You hear this in every sport and while you shouldn’t blindly bet against a side that is popular, you should always be looking for situations in which going against the masses is the sharp play. One way to do this is to look for reverse line movement by tracking down public betting percentages. If the majority of the public is all over one team or side but the line moves in the opposite direction, that would be an example of reverse line movement.

Say the Lakers are -6 against the Suns and because Devin Booker is out, the public is all over Los Angeles. But rather than the number growing to -6.5 or -7, it drops down to -5.5 or -5. This is an example of reverse line movement.

It’s never a guarantee, but this type of movement can be an indication that professional bettors are against the public. Even if this group represents a much lower percentage of bettors, this small group accounts for a ton of the money in the market, and sharps are far more respected by sportsbooks than the Average Joe.

Underdogs And Unders: This NBA betting strategy ties directly into fading the public on many occasions. Again, this isn’t a call to blindly take all underdogs and unders. But it is a warning that favorites and overs can often be overvalued, and the less popular sides are many times the winning ones.

Most commonly, this will happen for nationally televised games in which a large audience is expected to tune in. More eyeballs on the game means more casual bettors in the space. Recreational gamblers tend to side with the favorite and the over, almost without fail. This is because the Average Joe usually defaults to picking the ‘better’ team that oddsmakers label as more likely to win. When it comes to totals, casual bettors love nothing more than to root for points, especially in a basketball game.

For example, the Nets could be a seven-point favorite on the opening line. But once the public gets a hold of that game, that number could be double digits by the time tip-off arrives. Oddsmakers could set a number at 227 but by the time the game starts, it could be at 235 because the game is on TNT and everyone who is watching started to put some money down.

A couple of points may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but that’s all it takes to turn a win into a loss when oddsmakers are oftentimes right on the money. Bettors lose a ton of closing-line value on favorites and overs once the masses place their wagers. So if you have a lean, try to do your research early and bet your favorites and overs before the market prices you out of the right number.

NBA Prop Betting: The NBA is one of the most popular sports to bet on, which means oddsmakers are constantly fine-tuning the moneyline, spread, and total of every single game. Basketball lines are ‘tight’ and sometimes, there’s more value in markets that aren’t poured over so closely.

We’re talking about props. There are dozens of options with hundreds of individual bets that can be made for every game. Betting over or under on a player statistics is by far the most popular way to wager on NBA props, but you can also focus on an individual team, a specific portion of the contest, or some kind of in-game event.

Many player props are accompanied by a line that is around the same as spread or total (+100 to -125), but some can be much more volatile depending on the market. The highest-paying props involve markets that can be much harder to predict including specific winning margins and the first basket scorer of a game.

The point is, these markets are much less popular and there can be much more value on some of these bets compared to the conventional ones everybody is making.

Bet According To The Schedule & Injury Reports: The NBA schedule can be harsh at times throughout the season and it’s imperative to know whether the team you’re betting on or against is at a scheduling disadvantage.

Fatigue is definitely a factor during the NBA season. All teams are forced to play a certain amount of back-to-backs and three games in four nights. These are typical situations in which bettors would target the opposite side.
Another example would be at the end of a lengthy road trip when the away team just wants to get home. These situations are incredibly tough, and they often come with lineup changes to be aware of. They can also come with players sitting out due to rest or injury.

Speaking of players sitting out, there are plenty of roster changes night-to-night due to injuries. Being aware of who is available and who isn’t can help explain why the line has arrived at its current position. Placing bets without all the information is never recommended.

Bankroll Management: This is absolutely crucial if you want to be successful in gambling on basketball, or any sport for that matter. Conventional wisdom estimates that gamblers who win 53% of their straight bets are successful, with the best-case scenario sitting somewhere around a 60% success rate. You can’t expect to win every wager, but if you manage your expectations and your wagers wisely, you can stay afloat and avoid having to deposit again into your account.

Not everyone plays with the same stakes, so we often refer to wagers in “units” that represent a tiny percent of a bettors’ bankroll. Sticking with a consistent bet in terms of units can help you track your wins and losses and determine where you’re succeeding or failing as a bettor.
To conservatively manage a bankroll, consider a flat one unit on every play, or only consider an increase for plays in which you’re more confident, regardless of previous results.

Best NBA betting apps

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings has been one of the biggest names in sports betting for a while now, and it now operates in over a dozen states across the country. Known for its huge range of betting markets, ongoing list of promotions, and generous welcome bonus, DK remains a go-to destination throughout NBA season.

New customers can receive a welcome bonus up to $1,050 at DraftKings. That consists of a $50 free bet handed out once you deposit into your new account, but it also includes a 20 percent deposit bonus up to $1,000 on your very first investment into the site!

For every game on the schedule, bettors have dozens of markets and hundreds of options to choose from.  And throughout NBA season, DraftKings gears a seemingly endless stream of promotions toward basketball bettors, including frequent 33% parlay profit boosts!

FanDuel Sportsbook

In the pantheon of sportsbook brands, FanDuel sits beside DraftKings as an industry leader in double-digit states. As legalized wagering spreads across the United States, so too does FanDuel, and NBA bettors flock to FD on a daily basis during the season.

FanDuel is another sportsbook with a truly massive catalog of betting options to choose from for every game on the NBA slate each day. There are dozens of props, some unique to FD, and live betting on this platform is easier than any other. The layout of the app and the ease in which we can place in-game bets can’t be underrated when we’re talking about the NBA.

Although many sites have adopted it, FanDuel was first with the same-game parlay feature. It instantly became incredibly popular among the NBA betting public and remains so to this day. FanDuel frequently offered risk-free bet promotions to those wagering on basketball SGPs, which essentially means bettors could be refunded in site credit even if they lose.

New bettors can receive a risk-free bet up to $1,000 when they sign up, in addition to some other advantageous deals that are offered once you go to place your first bet.

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM has always been a huge name in the entertainment industry, but the act has been brought to sports betting and it’s a massive success. As sports betting continues to spread across the United States, BetMGM has established itself as another premier option in over a dozen states.

The first thing to note about BetMGM is that it has nearly as much for bettors to choose from as DraftKings and FanDuel. In fact, it has unique options that the other two don’t even offer. It also has a wide range of moneyline and spread/total parlays for many sports including NBA, and the odds can oftentimes exceed what is offered in the same-game parlay feature on FD or DK.

Those with new BetMGM accounts can receive a $1,000 risk-free bet when first signing up and bettors can also enjoy promotions including parlay boost and weekly free bets.

Caesars Sportsbook

In its current form, this is a product of a merger between two of the biggest names in their respective industries. When William Hill and Caesars came together to form the new Caesars Sportsbook, you just knew this was going to be one of the most popular sites in the space.

Caesars, similar to the above sportsbooks, offers a massive catalog of betting options for all sports, but especially NBA. Bettors have access to dozens of different prop markets and may even find some better prices compared to some of the other big-name operators.

Bettors can earn an absolutely massive $5,000 risk-free bet by signing up before taking advantage of an expansive list of promotions. This includes reload bonuses for existing customers, a large number of odds boosts, and more!

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