NBA Betting Guide for 1/1/21: The Timberwolves and Wizards Can Score Without Their Stars
Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games virtually every day, and there’s just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night — spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.
But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often certain betting lines hit, and our oddsFire section of the site allows you to track movement in those lines and see where the action is coming from on particular games.
Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves
This game will be played without Russell Westbrook and Karl-Anthony Towns, so that implies a decrease in offensive efficiency. At the high total of 233.5 points, it seems like a tall order for the over to hit. But I’m about to recommend it.
The reason for it is twofold: my model likes it, and the smart money likes it. Via oddsFire, 48% of the tickets are on the over, but a very nice 69% of the money is on the over in this one. So that tracks. Further, even with these teams being around league-average in opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency, their defenses are not great. In estimated defensive rating, the Washington Wizards rank 26th, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are 15th to start the season.
They also are both top-nine in estimated pace to start the season and are both top-five in adjusted pace since the start of last season. The pace and poor defense should be enough for this one to hit the over, despite numberFire’s model being a little more lukewarm on that, expecting a median score of 232.8.
Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
The moneyline on the Dallas Mavericks is just -104, indicating a win probability of around 51.0%. Dallas beats the Miami Heat in 68.5% of numberFire’s projected outcomes and in 67.4% of my simulations. Those marks imply a win probability of around -215.
The Heat are currently 23rd in estimated net rating (-6.5), and the Mavericks are 12th (+2.1). The Mavericks also rank 5th in nERD (58.0), indicating they should win 58.0% of their games in a season. That implies a point differential of +2.4. The Heat rank only 16th, with a 48.8 nERD. That suggests a point differential of -0.4.
The odds suggest it’s a coin flip (and actually slightly favoring the Heat at -112). The long-term data says the Mavericks are the better back.
Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks
The posted total in this game is 234.5 points with a 14-point spread favoring the Milwaukee Bucks. The value that our model sees is on the under. We project a median score of 119.1 to 103.0, a total of 222.1 points, which is well off the pace for the over to hit. The under is 73.2% likely, per numberFire’s model, making it a five-star bet out of five.
My model is a little lighter on the under but still projects a median score of 231.0 points and the under as 62.0% likely.
This does go against the betting trend — with 57% of the tickets and 69% of the money on the over. But as the total climbs from 231.5 (right around where my model initially pegged it) to 234.5 and up, the preference certainly becomes the under.