NBA Betting Guide: Tuesday 8/18/20

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.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

Under 224.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

Day one of the NBA Playoffs was exhilarating, perhaps topped by Donovan Mitchell dropping 57 points in an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets. Day two will have to do a lot to top yesterday, but the matchups do not disappoint, on paper at least.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will tip off in their fourth matchup of the season, and the Thunder come into tonight's contest as 1.5-point favorites, having taken two out of three in the regular season. The under has hit in both of those Thunder wins, and our models like it as a bet this evening.

The under has gone 7-1 in the Rockets' last eight games as playoff underdogs, covering by a pretty ridiculous 15.4 points. The under was 9-4-1 in the 2019-20 regular season when the Rockets were underdogs.

The under is 10-3 this season when the Thunder are playing on more than one day of rest. Those games have seen an average of just 211.7 points scored. Eleven of those 13 games saw fewer than 220 combined points scored.

Russell Westbrook will not play for Houston tonight. The under is 9-5-1 this season when he hasn't stepped onto the hardwood for Houston.

Our models project the Thunder and Rockets to combine for 221.6 points this evening. We give the under a 56.4% chance of hitting and mark the bet as a one-star play.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Blazers +6.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

The Portland Trail Blazers went 6-2 in the bubble (and added a play-in win against the Memphis Grizzlies) to work their way into the Western Conference Playoffs. Their prize is to take on the LeBron James and Anthony Davis-led Los Angeles Lakers.

LA has taken two of the three games in the series this year, though the game most on people's minds is likely the Blazers' win in the Lakers' first game back after the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. Damian Lillard went off for 48 points in that contest, which seems like a number he's been putting up every time he's stepped onto the court in Orlando over the past couple of weeks.

Throwing out their meaningless last regular season game against the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers have gone just 3-4 straight up (SU) and 1-6 against the spread (ATS) in the bubble, getting outscored by an average of 6.0 points in those contests.

The reason for their poor performances has been as simple as poor shooting. After hitting 48.5% from the floor and 35.5% from deep before heading to Orlando, the Lakers have put up clips of just 42.9% and 28.3%, respectively, since then (again, excluding the game against the Kings). They've gone just 10-8 SU and 6-12 ATS this season when they've shot under 45% from the floor.

Rajon Rondo is once again out this evening. The Lakers have gone just 4-6 SU and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games without him, failing to cover by an average of 8.4 points.

Our models like the Lakers to pull out the win this evening, projecting them for a 115.0 to 110.6 victory. However, we give the Blazers a 57.1% chance of covering the 6.5-point spread and mark the bet as a two-star play.