In an effort to keep you updated on the NBA betting scene on a daily basis, our NBA betting page will provide overall advice while highlighting the best bets and promotions of the day. We’ll be updating this page every day throughout the season into the NBA playoffs, giving you a great starting point to research betting angles for any slate of games.
Picks are ranked in order of confidence. Odds subject to change after picks are submitted.
NBA Betting Picks for April 19
Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
We’re waiting on the Team Total for the Wizards to be released at most books, but it is opening be around 120 while the implied combined total rises to 231 points in this contest. Washington is highly likely to fill it up against a tanking Thunder team that has lost 10 straight and is allowing 123.9 PPG during that span. OKC ranks 29th in defensive rating since the All-Star Break and has coughed up 136.3 PPG in their last 3 games on the second leg of a B2B set. The Over is 9-4 in Thunder games when they’re playing on 0 days rest this season and Washington is scoring 117.1 PPG at home this season.
Will the Thunder be able to keep pace to get the combined total of 230? That seems a little more iffy than backing Washington to roll, with Russell Westbrook leading the charge. The fiery competitor went after his former franchise with a 38.2% usage rate over his last 2 meetings with OKC when he was on the Rockets. He’s recorded a triple double in 7 of his last 8 games and you can get near even money (-108) at FanDuel Sportsbook by combining a Wizards win with a Westbrook triple double. Combine Westbrook to top 13-plus rebounds against a terrible rebounding team, and you get +112 odds at FanDuel. And keep an eye out for the Wizards team total, then bet it aggressively in a matchup between two teams that are Top 5 in pace since the ASB.
The Pick: Wizards Over 120.5 points or better
Secondary Pick: Russell Westbrook 13-plus rebounds in a win (+112 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley are expected to return for Utah tonight after sitting out Saturday’s game for rest. The Jazz coughed up 127 points in a loss at the Lakers without those starters and will still be without Donovan Mitchell (ankle) in the rematch, but the implied total (214.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook) is still too low in this game. Utah is 3-1 and still averaging 115.5 PPG in 4 games without Mitchell this season. The Jazz are scoring a ridiculous 49.4% of their points off 3-pointers over the past week and shot 39% from deep in their recent loss at Staples Center.
The Lakers are yielding 42% of opponent’s points off 3-pointers over their last 3 games, and 7 of their last 8 games have gone Over the implied total. Oddsmakers are still adjusting to a different style of play from Frank Vogel’s squad without LeBron James. They rank 13th in pace since the ASB after hovering around 29th for most of the year with LBJ at the controls. Utah is ruthlessly efficient on offense, and if you pitted the Jazz against a 220-point total over their last 24 games against teams in playoff position, 21 of those games would have gone Over.
The Pick: Over 214.5 or better
Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Pistons are giving their young guys a long look at the end of a lost season and that means Mason Plumlee (rest) and Jerami Grant (quad) will sit out tonight. Without Grant, their defensive rating jumps up to 116.7 and they’ve been dead last in offensive efficiency without him over their last 3 games. Over their last 7 games, Detroit ranks 26th in offensive rating and 28th in rebounding rate. They’re allowing a league-high 63% of opponent’s points on 2PT field goals over the past week and Cleveland scores a league-high 57% of their points on 2PT field goals.
The Cavs have won 4 straight over the Pistons, including a couple of relatively high-scoring affairs this season that went over the implied total by 14 and 23 points. The last 9 meetings between these teams have gone Over and the total sits at a modest 213.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Cleveland should earn the win against a Pistons team that is 0-9 against division foes this season and 3-12 ATS over their last 15 division games. The Cavs have a huge advantage in the paint and Detroit yields the third-most PPG (50.8) down low. Back Cleveland and consider a parlay with the Over.
The Pick: Cavs -3.5 or better
Parlay Pick: Cavs Moneyline + Over (+227 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
NBA odds for April 19, 2021
Best NBA betting apps
The biggest provider of Daily Fantasy Sports is also taking serious betting handle on U.S. sporting events for residents of states with legalized gambling. New Jersey is the east coast hub for sports betting, with Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Indiana joining in offering online or live sportsbooks. Many other states are in the process of passing legislation to follow suit.
Users who sign up at DK Sportsbook are eligible for three bonuses for up to $1,025. That includes a $25 bonus for signing up, a 20% matched bonus for the initial deposit up to $500 and a $500 risk-free bet with the first wager.
DraftKings employs several wrinkles to the sports betting experience. There are Odds Boosts to give bettors a chance at more value before a big game. There are “DraftKings Pools” where users can bet on every game in a slate with prizes awarded to the top three finishers.
In addition to the NBA, DK Sportsbook takes bets on events in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA, PGA, MMA, MLS, and more. There are a wide array of betting options for point spreads, totals, propositions, as well as a season-long and futures bets.
Right up with DK Sportsbook in terms of providing an excellent mobile platform with live betting options in New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook is another great place to wager. It offers almost all of the same betting options at DK Sportsbook in the same states and often has slightly different odds to create opportunities for value.
FanDuel also offers a $500 risk-free bet for first-time users. The site will refund your wager up to $500 in site credit if you lose. FanDuel also has daily Odds Boosts and Multi-Sport Parlay Insurance, which offers kickbacks to bettors who win most (but not all) of their picks in a parlay. FanDuel offers a loyalty program for accomplished DFS players on their platform.
Run by the casino titan, BetMGM offers an online platform in New Jersey, Indiana, and West Virginia with expansion planned for other states. MGM is partnered with several sports leagues including the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Like DK and FD, MGM offers a $500 risk-free bet for new users. This is one of the best apps to use for live betting on sporting events in progress.
There are a ton of promotions offered at the live MGM Sportsbook location in Atlantic City, New Jersey. These include a free $10 bet on Mondays for bettors that wagered at least $50 the week prior, a 20% kick back for all handle placed on live basketball games, and a Power Parlay Leaderboard where wins and losses earn bettors points towards weekly prizes.
How to bet the NBA and win
Moneyline picks: The simplest way to bet on an NBA game is to take the Moneyline, which means betting on a team to win without any point spread. In order to level the playing field, favorites are given worse odds on the ML and underdogs get plus odds. For example, when the Kings play at the Lakers earlier they could be listed at +330 on the ML, while the Lakers are listed at -450. So a $45 bet on the Lakers would pay out $10 if they won and a $10 bet on the Kings would pay out $33 if they won.
Usually, we look for ML bets on games with close spreads because of the superior odds. A game with a +1.5-point spread might have the underdog listed at -120 odds to cover that small number, but +110 on the ML. In a close matchup, it can often pay to take a winner rather than worrying about 1 or 2 points on the spread.
Spread picks: Betting the point spread can be trickier since the end of NBA games fluctuates due to the amount of intentional fouls and free throws converted. Home teams are often listed as the favorite with spreads usually ranging up to -14.5 or higher if a title contender is hosting a weak opponent. Spreads can fluctuate rather drastically if teams are in a B2B situation or if a star player is out with injury. Based on the circumstances, it can be possible to identify value when those numbers change, such as the Nets consistently getting listed as underdogs despite performing better when Kyrie Irving missed a wave of games.
Total (over/under) picks: Point totals indicate the expected combined score between teams. In today’s NBA, high-scoring games are becoming the norm, which makes a typical total in the 220-230 range. In order to properly bet against totals, it’s important to check stats on the pace of play for each team per 100 possessions. Faster teams such as the Rockets and Pelicans will routinely top 230 points in their contests. Checking the offensive and defensive rating of each team is also vital information. When identifying a poor defensive team, or a decent defensive team that could be tired on a road trip or back-to-back situation, it makes sense to bet the Over. For example, the Sixers rank sixth in defensive rating, but their games played on zero days rest are 7-2-1 in terms of going Over the total.
Props picks: Many sportsbooks will offer propositions on how a team or a player might perform on a given night. You can bet team totals per quarter, which team will be ahead at the half, and even take a proposition on the estimated range of victory (5-10 points). Player propositions are even more popular and profitable, since there are a range of outcomes that can allow some of those props to cash. Star players are often given a prop on their expected total for points, rebounds, and assists. When Damian Lillard was on his tear in January or Jayson Tatum couldn’t be stopped in February, those players were virtual locks to top their props for combined stats even if they didn’t top their prop for points scored.
Teaser picks: Sometimes a point spread is just too dicey to bet confidently against either way. After all, oddsmakers are great at what they do and are invested in setting a competitive line. If you want to bet a game but don’t love the spread, you can “tease” the number down a few points at worse odds. While “buying” a few points on an individual game can cause a swing from -115 to -140 odds, teasing multiple games can afford bettors 4, 6, or more points at slightly diminished odds. These odds are better because every bet in the teaser has to be correct in order for the bettor to cash anything. On a night where three favorites are giving -6.5 points at home, it could be prudent to tease all three teams down to -2.5 or -0.5 to bet with more confidence.
Parlay picks: A parlay is similar to the idea of a teaser, but with no changes to the spread. These wagers offer the best odds possible since they string together multiple outcomes that all have to convert for the bettor to cash. While parlaying multiple bets against the point spread is a risky proposition, parlaying several favorites on the Moneyline can be profitable. For example, if three teams are likely to win and are around -250 on the ML, you could parlay them together and turn those negative odds into +150 in the event all three win.
NBA betting strategies
Bankroll management is absolutely crucial if you want to be successful gambling on basketball. Conventional wisdom estimates that gamblers who win 52% of the time 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 1 or 2 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. There are several strategies that can help you conservatively build bank roll. A few of these include: Betting one unit at a time, betting a little more than a unit for a good “potential return” and setting a range of units (1-3 for example) for bets that come with more confidence.
In the NBA, it’s absolutely vital to follow injury reports and keep up to date on roster news and trends. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should bet against a team when star players are in danger of missing a game. In fact, we’ve often seen the supporting cast of NBA teams step up to cover or win games when their leader is out with a short-term injury. There are other key roster trends to watch, such as how a team is responding to its coach, whether there is strife in the locker room, or whether the team seems to be rallying around some sort of adversity. There are resources all over the web to keep you posted on general NBA news, and beat writers provide all sorts of updates on twitter.
The NBA schedule can be just as important and often related to roster and injury news. Some teams function completely differently on the road, and some are bound to regress towards the end of a road trip. Some teams fall off a cliff when they play on back-to-back nights, and some young teams don’t seem affected much by playing with a rest disadvantage. There are online resources to track these trends and gain a better understanding of how teams perform in these spots as the season progresses.
The public tends to lean a certain way based on the aforementioned information. For example, If a star rests on a back-to-back set, bets may start to flood in against the shorthanded team. There is a tendency to use “groupthink: when placing bets in the NBA. Some bettors may choose to “fade the public” by taking the opposite side of the line, but another option is to simply wait for a spread to move due to all the action throughout the day, then snatch up the line when you see added value. Conversely, betting on a game early when the line comes out the night before or morning of a game can allow you to get some value before action comes flying in on a perceived easy bet.
Putting all these ideas together is the key to profiting through situational betting on the NBA. Some situations go beyond the straightforward trends of home/road splits and injury news. Sometimes a team is suffering from low morale and has very little incentive to win, while sometimes a team that might be perceived as a “tanking” candidate could get fired up for what appears to be a meaningless game to an outsider. Identifying storylines that could contribute to the nature of a result can quickly turn a novice bettor into a successful gambler.