NBA Betting Guide: Monday 8/10/20

Can Michael Porter Jr. and the Nuggets hand the Lakers their fifth loss since the league resumed play? What bets do our models like for today's NBA slate?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, game 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 usually 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 tonight.

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.

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers

Nuggets +5.0: 2-Star Rating out of 5

While the Los Angeles Lakers' 13-39 effort from three on Saturday shouldn't be cause for celebration (the league average is 35.7%), it is when you consider they shot a collective 7-56 in their previous two games. The still-below-average effort on Saturday wasn't enough to top the red-hot Indiana Pacers, however, as they lost by five, making them just 2-4 in Orlando.

LA has already clinched the number one seed, so wins aren't necessarily essential, but becoming a more cohesive unit is, so expect to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis still playing a full (or close to) allotment of minutes as they take on the Denver Nuggets tonight.

The Nuggets hold a 1.5-game lead over the Houston Rockets for third place in the Western Conference standings. Keeping that spot would currently mean a matchup against the Utah Jazz, against whom the Nuggets have gone 3-0 this season.

Denver is a 5.0-point underdog this evening, a position they've only been in seven times this season. They've gone 3-3-1 against the spread (ATS) in those contests, all of which have been away games, unlike tonight's neutral-court matchup. They've gone 3-1 ATS the past four times they've been in that situation. If the line had been 5.0 points when they faced the Lakers in their previous matchups this season, the Nuggets would have gone 2-1 ATS.

Our models project the Lakers to win this evening, but just by 1.4 points. We give the Nuggets a 61.5% chance of covering and mark the bet as a two-star play.

Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat

Pacers +3.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

The only team that has been able to stop T.J. Warren and the Indiana Pacers in the bubble has been Warren's former squad, the Phoenix Suns, who seem to be playing at a completely different level than the rest of the league. Backed by Warren's 34.8 points per game, the Pacers have gone 4-1 in Orlando and are now tied for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. This evening, they'll try to grab onto sole possession of fourth when they face the Miami Heat, the team with whom they share a 43-27 record.

The Heat have dropped their past two games and now hold a 2-3 record since the restart, but their losses have not been unexpected as they've fallen to the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors -- the number one and two teams in the East -- as well as the aforementioned Suns, who are amazingly fourth in defensive rating in Orlando. The Heat have been playing without Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, both of whom practiced yesterday, an encouraging sign that they could be on the court this evening.

The Heat have won both of their games against the Pacers this year, going 1-1 (ATS), and they are favored by 3.5 points this evening. The Pacers have gone 11-9 ATS this season as underdogs. NBA bubble teams have gone 22-17-1 ATS as underdogs on one day of rest; that record is 16-11-1 ATS when they are more than three-point underdogs.

Warren is technically questionable tonight. He was also questionable Saturday before he stepped onto the court and finished with 39 points. Expect him to be on the court tonight in what could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

numberFire's models like the Pacers to cover this evening. We project them to lose, but by just 0.9 points. We give them a 58.5% chance of covering the 3.5-point spread, and we mark the bet as a two-star play.