5 NBA Over/Unders to Bet for the Season Restart
The hiatus in the 2019-20 NBA season has given us a lot of extra chances to find betting value on the NBA on FanDuel Sportsbook.
I mean, whoever would've expected a second chance for some win totals bets?
Well, we've got them for each team's final eight games in the "regular season." (Each team aside from the Brooklyn Nets, that is.)
Thanks to our chief analyst, Keith Goldner, I was able to simulate out the rest of the season 5,000 times assuming no homecourt advantage for any team, given the neutral-site matchups we'll see the rest of the way.
These are the bets that stood out most.
Boston Celtics Over 4.5 Wins (-180)
There are some steep odds attached to the Boston Celtics' win total, sure, but their schedule looks pretty dang favorable if we can put any stock into the pre-break data and what we know now. They should be underdogs in only two games (against the Milwaukee Bucks in their first game and the Toronto Raptors in their third game -- though it's possible to favor Boston over Toronto pretty easily).
More importantly: they have four very winnable games against the Washington Wizards (without Bradley Beal), the Orlando Magic (likely without Jonathan Isaac), the Brooklyn Nets (without a lot of players), the Portland Trail Blazers (without Trevor Ariza and with a skeptical Damian Lillard).
Boston also faces the Miami Heat and the Memphis Grizzlies, two more games in which they are favored. We can't assume the league operates just as it did before the break, but all Boston would need to do would be to clean up those four very likely wins and then get another over any of three teams that they should be able to defeat (Miami, Memphis, and Toronto).
Los Angeles Lakers Under 5.5 Wins (-145)
The Los Angeles Lakers' average win probability in their final eight games is 65.4%, actually second-highest among the 22 teams in action -- based on numberFire's simulations.
The problem with that? Their worst opponent, per numberFire's nERD metric, is the Sacramento Kings, who rank 21st in the NBA. Their other seven opponents all grade out with a positive nERD score, with the Denver Nuggets (13th) ranking as the easiest opponent.
The Lakers are fairly comfortably rated as our second-best NBA team, but they'll have to win 75.0% of their games to get to six wins, and their schedule isn't going to do them any favors.
Denver Nuggets Under 4.5 Wins (-125)
The Nuggets, as just mentioned, rank 13th in numberFire's power rankings, and they'll need to play a bit better than that to win five of eight games and hit the over.
They're the only team in the remaining 22 to play six top-10 teams based on numberFire's power ratings, and the sims put them close to the 3.8-win range. That's a good bit shy of the five they'd need to clear this bet.
They have three coinflip win probability games (between 48.0% and 52.0%), three where they're under 35.0% likely to win, and only two games with at least a 55.0% chance to win (with none above 60.0%). The slimmed down Nikola Jokic will really need to dominate for Denver to go over their win total.
Miami Heat Under 4.5 Wins (-175)
There's a lot of expectation for the Heat to fall short of their win total, and I'm aware of the odds here, but no team has a harder schedule (based on average opponent nERD). Miami's average win probability is only 45.3%, and they'll probably be fortunate to get to four wins let alone five (their simulation win total is around 3.5).
Aside from their game with the Phoenix Suns (when they're 62.4% likely to win), they are favored in only one other matchup -- barely over the Nuggets (51.4%).
Oklahoma City Thunder Over 3.5 Wins (-145)
The Oklahoma City Thunder are like the Celtics with their number of winnable games relative to their posted win total: they're at least 60% likely to win over the Grizzlies, Suns, and Wizards. That's three wins right there that are very much within reach.
They also rate out with coinflip odds (between 48.0% and 52.0%) in three more, against the Utah Jazz, Nuggets, and Heat. With four players in the top 30 in our player nERD rankings, OKC should be able to handle a .500 record in the seeding stretch of games.