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NBA Betting Guide: 10/24/18

In tonight's clash of top rookies, will the Hawks and Mavericks fail to live up to tonight's inflated total?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a line, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.

Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for Wednesday.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks

Under 234.0: 5-Star Rating out of 5

Tonight, we get a viewer's treat on national television. As the Atlanta Hawks play host to the Dallas Mavericks, we get a matchup of Trae Young and Luka Doncic, the third and fifth overall picks in this year's draft. In fact, the two were traded for one another, so they'll certainly be trying to outshine one another in this head-to-head showdown.

Not so surprisingly, this game carries a sky-high over/under at 234 points. According to Killer Sports, it's already the third total of the season at or above 230, and it's the Hawks' second such game in a matter of four days. We only got two 230-plus totals all of last year, and we're only 51 games into the new campaign.

In those five contests, the under hit four times with the average margin coming in 13.7 points below the over/under. The Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers did total 244 points in an Atlanta win on Sunday, but the two rank first and ninth in pace, and 20th and 30th in defensive rating, respectively. That's how that game is supposed to go.

While the Hawks' pace and lackluster defense are still present here, the Mavs -- compared to the Cavs -- average three fewer possessions per 48 minutes, as they rank 20th. Their defense is bottom-three, but they just held the Chicago Bulls to 109 points, and the under hit 53.7% of the time in Dallas' away games last year. And it hit at an even greater rate (60%) in those road matchups with an over/under of at least 210.

Totals have been high and the overs have been a more popular play this year, but this one's just a bit too high for our models' liking. We give the under a 88.84% likelihood with a potential return of 69.60%. Carrying a five-star rating, we'd recommend five times your normal bet, which -- at -110 -- would return nearly $91 for every $100 laid.

New York Knicks at Miami Heat

Under 223.0: 5-Star Rating out of 5

Another high total, another recommendation to bet the under. And there are several reasons to expect the New York Knicks and Miami Heat to come nowhere near the 223-point total.

The teams' two paces of play are nearly identical. While the Knicks (101.8) rank 14th through four games, the Heat (101.6) are 15th through three. It's an inexact process, but if we just take the average of the two teams, that's 101.7 possessions per 48. And if we utilize their offensive ratings -- 109.3 and 107.0, respectively -- those calculations come to a 220 total.

In our game projections, of the six historical matchups that correlate with this one at 95% or higher, none have hit the over. In fact, the highest actual total was 217 points in the game that most closely matched tonight's, which as it turns out was a 119-98 Heat win over the Knicks just last season.

Furthermore, the under edged out the over 50.6% of the time in Heat games last year -- and that's with an average over/under of just 207.1. It hit just 46.4% of the time in Knicks contests, but the average total was 212.0. The average over/under for the teams' four head-to-head matchups dating back to the beginning of last season is 207.6, and they've averaged 212 points by game's end.

Despite a total 10 points lower than that of the above game, it's nearly as likely (85.48%) to go under. The under is falling on several books, too, according to Sports Insights. Take advantage and reap the rewards of a potential 63.20% return.

Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets

Rockets Moneyline -138: 4-Star Rating out of 5

Shifting from some middling Eastern Conference matchups, we head out to Houston to a big-time meeting between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. The Rockets, at 1-2, are 2.5-point favorites after opening at -3.5. This is expected to be a close game, and rightfully so, as Houston and Utah rank 7th and 12th in our power rankings, respectively.

On a neutral floor, our nERD metric -- a ranking, on a scale of 0 to 100, predictive of a team's ultimate winning percentage -- would suggest a 4.5-point win in favor of the Rockets. But with this game at home, Houston is more likely to get the win, one way or another.

The Rockets lost their only home game in their season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, but last year they were 34-7 and tied for the best home winning percentage in the NBA. According to NBA Stats, their 9.2 net rating also ranked second to the Toronto Raptors as they posted the league's best offensive rating (114.6) at Toyota Center.

Betting trends also favor James Harden and company. In the 87 games the Rockets were favored in a year ago, they won 72 of them (82.8%), with a 39-8 record as home favorites and 3-1 in games with spreads between -3 and +3 (all wins over the Golden State Warriors).

A -138 moneyline equals an implied probability of 57.98%, while our models give the Rockets a 73.68% chance of winning this game. At a potential 27.10% return, the Houston moneyline draws a four-star rating in our system

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