There is only one game on tonight’s shortlist of six NBA games that will compete with Thursday Night Football on national television: Knicks vs. Bulls (8 p.m. ET on NBA TV).
But that doesn’t stop our NBA team from finding value in tonight’s games. In fact, three of our hoops analysts are betting on three more games tonight.
You can find their bets on these games below.
NBA odds and selections
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards
Rahim Palmer: The Hawks and Wizards have both played back-to-back games, which is a great spot for a sub as both teams should have tired legs at the start of the season.
The Hawks will play their third game in four nights while the Wizards will find themselves in a rough patch with Daniel Gafford expected to be absent. The Wiz is better offensively by 5.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the ground. Plus, it’s likely we can see the Wizards rest Spencer Dinwiddie as he is still recovering from a knee injury.
The Hawks are one of the best defensive teams in the league, holding their opponents 97.9 points per 100 possessions, which places them fourth among all teams in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Wizards sit 19th in the offensive standings, scoring 106.2 in their waste-free minutes, so it’s hard to expect a dominant scoring explosion here.
With the Hawks playing at the sixth slowest pace in the league and the Wizards only at the 15th pace, this has the recipe for a low scoring game. With the new foul rules, teams are shooting fewer free throws this season.
Bradley Beal and Trae Young have been hit hard, with Beal’s shooting foul rate dropping from 13.5% to 5.8% this season and Young’s dropping from 14.4% to 7.6%. My model makes this game 218 and there’s a reason we’re seeing this total decrease since opening 224.
I’ll take the minus 223 and play it at 221.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards
Matt Moore: Raheem and I stand together here. Based on a half-court and transition efficiency modeling, I have this number at 203, which gives us a big gap between the model and the number.
Atlanta’s defense has been shockingly good so far – they have the No.3 defense in the half court this season, while Washington is 11th. Neither team makes the top 10 in pace, the Wizards rank 15th as the fastest-paced team.
Washington has proven to be proficient in their defense, although they are likely to be shorthanded in this game up front without Daniel Gafford and Thomas Bryant. Montrezl Harrell is a defensive passive, but he plays with the physique and in a regular season context, it’s okay.
The two teams are back to back in a third game in four nights. But this is taken into account in the line; games with both teams there saw the pass exceed 437-408-10 (51.7%) for virtually no advantage.
But with Bradley Beal stoned, there’s a chance he’s resting there and his efficiency hasn’t been great anyway. If the Hawks win, they’ll likely hammer out an overwhelmed and slightly understaffed Wizards team. If the Wizards win, it means they managed to pull off a win like they always have this young season.
I like the underside here up to 220.
Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets
Moore: It is unwarranted caution at the start of the season. In the first 10 games of the season, double-digit favorites are 20-36 ATS (36.4%) via Bet Labs. So there are reasons to be cautious historically, but I have this projection closer to Jazz -15.
Houston’s strength should be its offense, but the Rockets have offensive odds below 102.0 in three of their four games. Their numbers are bolstered by their victory over the Thunder.
Jazz crushes these teams. Quin Snyder’s jazz teams are 14-5 (73%) ATS as a road favorite with 9 points or more. Their elite approach in the regular season only destroys teams that can’t compete, and on top of that, Houston is a young team that will get lost in the Jazz’s ball movement.
There is no reason why it should be single digit.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
Malik Smith: We’ve barely been a week into the NBA regular season, so I feel the need to preface everything by noting the limited sample size of data we have. Thanks to the few games that were played, the Mavericks have proven to be slow starters.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, they are averaging 21.7 points per game in the first quarter, last in the NBA, while the Spurs are averaging 28.8 points in the first period, tied for 11th. Despite these figures, the Spurs are losing by +2.5 points in the first quarter against the Mavs.
Dallas has yet to cover the first quarter spread this season, not even against the Houston Rockets at home. Spurs are 3-1 ATS in the first quarter this season and I’m ready to back them there to make it 4-1.
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