NBA Betting Guide for 1/4/21: Some Underdogs Show Value Tonight
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.
Charlotte Hornets at Philadelphia 76ers
numberFire’s algorithm is big on the under in this game, rating it as a four-star bet out of five. The median total comes out to 211.1 in our simulations overall, well off the 221.5-point over/under listed at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Only 2 of the 25 strongest predictions — games in our database that are most historically comparable to this matchup, based on team-level data and betting odds — hit the over. The under is 69.9% likely, per numberFire’s algorithm.
My model is roughly similar, and if I adjust the Charlotte Hornets‘ data to be more like their 2020-21 estimated data rather than baking in last year’s information, the projected total is still just 214.1 points, leaving the under roughly 70.0% likely.
This goes against the betting trends, but it’s overall, fairly close to even with 60% of the tickets and 56% of the money on the over.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat
I’m tracking the smart money on this one: there’s no bigger discrepancy between tickets and money on the board than there is for the under for this Oklahoma City Thunder/Miami Heat tilt. So far, 14% of the tickets are on the under — but 51% of the money is. That’s a wild gap.
numberFire’s algorithm backs it, though. The median total is 210.8, per our algorithm, and the under (214.5 points) is 57.9% likely.
Each team is basically dead average in estimated defensive rating (the Thunder are 15th at 106.6, and the Heat are 16th at 106.9). But they are the bottom-two estimated offenses in the NBA thus far: the Heat’s estimated offensive rating is 100.0 (29th), and the Thunder’s is 99.4 (30th). They’re also hovering around the league-average in estimated pace. It all checks out to be a bit of an offensive struggle in this one.
Of all the bets in this game, our algorithm actually prefers the Thunder (+9.0) to the under, rating the Oklahoma City spread as a three-star bet out of five. The gap in estimated net rating thus far for these teams is only 0.3 points in favor of the Heat.
New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks
The estimated data early in this season shows a different story altogether, as the Hawks are off to a hot start. Atlanta’s estimated net rating is 4th-best at +7.1, and the Knicks’ estimated net rating is 21st (-3.6).
Using opponent-adjusted data for just the 2020-21 season, my model is showing a 22.5-point spread, which is massive. But we can’t just use a six-game sample to project games.
The longer-term data shows this one closer than what 2020-21’s stats imply. The Hawks’ offensive pace is down to NBA average, meaning this one could stick closer, and our 25 strongest predictors of this game include 19 in which the team representing the Knicks covered the spread.