NBA Betting Guide: Monday 8/31/20

What bets do our models like for Monday's two-game 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.

Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks

Under 224.0: 2-Star Rating out of 5

The Eastern Conference Semifinals continue this evening when the Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their series. Eric Bledsoe is questionable on the injury report with a hamstring strain, but he should play, leaving both teams at full health in a game our models foresee as low-scoring.

Jimmy Butler had recently been dealing with a shoulder issue, but that's "no longer an issue." His presence made a huge difference when these teams played each other in the regular season. In the two games he didn't play, the Heat and Bucks put up an average of 251.5 points. In the lone game he did take the court, the teams combined for just 194 in a 105-89 win for Miami.

Tonight's total is currently set at 224.0 points. The under is 16-9 this season when the Bucks have seen a total below 225.0 points. Of those games, the under is 12-6 when the Bucks have been favored by more than 5.0 points.

The under is 5-2 in the Heat's past seven games in the bubble. The under is 5-4 in Game 1 of a series this year, and 18-6 dating to last year.

Our models project the teams to combine for 220.0 points this evening. We give the under a 57.3% chance of hitting and mark the bet as a two-star play.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets

Thunder +5.5: 3-Star Rating out of 5

The Oklahoma City Thunder got absolutely shellacked in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets, embarrassingly falling by 34 points. The Thunder seemed to be channeling early-bubble Los Angeles Lakers shooting skills, draining just 7-of-46 threes. The 39 misses were an NBA Playoff record.

The team will look to bounce back this evening and try to force a Game 7. While our models don't foresee that happening, they do predict a close contest, with the Thunder falling by just 1.7 points.

This is the fourth time in this year's playoffs a team will be coming back from at least a 30-point loss. Teams have gone 2-1 against the spread (ATS) in the game following those big losses, getting outscored by an average of just 0.3 points.

OKC is 9-3 ATS this season as more than 5.0-point underdogs. The Thunder are 5-2 ATS as underdogs against the Rockets this season. Chris Paul's teams are 15-7-1 ATS in his career as underdogs versus Houston. The Thunder are 5-1 ATS as the "home" team in the bubble.

While our models see Oklahoma City's season-ending tonight, they give the Thunder a 62.0% chance of covering the 5.5-point spread. With an expected return of $118.40 on a $100 bet, we mark this as a three-star play.