NBA Betting Guide: Thursday 8/13/20

Can Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers pick up a win and secure their playoff spot today?

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.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Brooklyn Nets

Over 236.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

On the penultimate regular-season day in the bubble, there are still four teams vying for the final two playoff spots. The Damian Lillard-led Portland Trail Blazers are one of those teams, and they control their own fate tonight; win and they're in.

Led by Lillard's 37.0 points per game on 66.0% true shooting percentage (TS%), the Blazers have put up 124.9 points per game in Orlando, second only to the Dallas Mavericks. That high-octane offense plus a defense that is allowing the fourth-most points per game in the bubble has led to a 6-1 record for the over.

Our models see that record moving to 7-1 after tonight's contest against the Brooklyn Nets, who have been playing high-scoring games of their own in Florida. Locked into the number seven seed and a first-round matchup against the Toronto Raptors, the Nets have been putting up a sweltering 118.0 points, 7.2 more than they were averaging before the restart. The over has gone 4-3 in their contests in Orlando.

The over has gone just 1-4 in the bubble when the total has been set at least as high as tonight's 236.5 points, though that one win was the Blazers' last contest which saw a combined 265 points.

numberFire's models project the Blazers and Nets to combine for 240.8 points this evening. We give the over a 59.0% chance of hitting (and I give Dame a 100% chance of coming onto the court breathing fire). With an expected return of $112.70 on a $100 bet, we mark the over as a two-star play.

San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz

Jazz +8.0: 5-Star Rating out of 5

Another one of the four Western Conference teams who have a shot at the playoffs is the San Antonio Spurs, who are currently riding a 22-year playoff streak, tied for the longest in NBA history. If they want to stretch it to a record 23 years, however, they're going to need some help.

The Spurs have to win, that's a given. They're also going to need at least two of the three other teams above them to lose. Expecting a Memphis Grizzlies isn't a stretch, but asking the incendiary Phoenix Suns or Blazers to lose is another matter entirely, especially considering that both of those teams are playing opponents who can't gain anything by winning.

Pop isn't going to allow the Spurs to do anything other than worry about themselves when they take on the Utah Jazz tonight, a team that is locked into the sixth seed and a matchup with the Denver Nuggets. With little on the line, the Jazz will be resting both Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley (They are technically listed as out with injuries...I don't buy it, finding the absences merely precautionary.).

Utah has gone 3-1 against the spread (ATS) without Gobert. They've gone 16-9 ATS without Conley. The Jazz were without both players when they faced the Spurs six days ago, which resulted in an eight-point loss, exactly tonight's spread.

Underdogs of at least 8.0 points have gone 6-5 ATS in the bubble, covering by an average of 1.1 points. Teams have gone 11-9-2 ATS in Orlando as underdogs in games with totals set higher than 230 points.

our models project a high-scoring game this evening, and we project the Gobert- and Conley-less Jazz to cover easily. We give them a 79.2% chance of doing so and mark the bet as a five-star play.