NBA Betting Guide: Tuesday 9/8/20

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.

Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Rockets +4.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

On the back of 62 combined points by LeBron James and Anthony Davis on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers evened up their series against the Houston Rockets at 1-1. The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites in Game 3, and our models see that spread being a bit too wide.

The Rockets are 5-3 against the spread (ATS) this season as more than 4.0-point underdogs. They are 2-0 ATS in those contests when coming off a loss. They are 4-1 ATS this season coming off a loss as underdogs of any amount. Houston is 5-1 ATS as underdogs in games after James Harden failed to put up 30 or more points.

The Lakers are 14-17 ATS when favored by more than four points after winning by at least eight in their previous game. They are 7-11 ATS in their past 18 such contests. They are 2-3 ATS (and straight up) against Houston this season.

LA is now 18-20 ATS this season as more than 4.0-point favorites on one day of rest. Houston is 6-4 ATS as underdogs on one day of rest.

numberFire's models project the Lakers to leave tonight with a 2-1 series lead. They project just a 1.9-point win, however. As such, we give the Rockets a 58.4% chance of covering. With an expected return of $111.50 on a $100 bet, we mark this as a two-star play.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Over 217.5: 1-Star Rating out of 5

It's win or go home for the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks tonight, who come into this evening's game down 3-1 in their series against the Miami Heat. The Heat had a chance to sweep the series on Sunday, but Khris Middleton went off for 36 points, 8 boards, and 8 assists to guide the Bucks to a 118-115 overtime victory.

While the Bucks won, it may have been Pyrrhic. Giannis Antetokounmpo played just 11 minutes due to an ankle injury, one that has given him a questionable tag for tonight's game. Those betting the over could be in for a big night if Giannis doesn't play.

The over is just 5-5 when Giannis hasn't taken the court. However, those games have had an average total of 228.3 points, 10.8 higher than tonight's line. The Bucks and their opponents have scored an average of 231.3 points in those contest and combined for fewer than 220 points just twice. The Bucks' defensive rating jumps from a league-leading 102.5 with Giannis to 108.4 without him.

The over is 26-20-1 when the Heat have played in a game with a total set below 220 points. The over is 11-10 when the Heat have been favorites following a loss. The over is just 2-4 when the Bucks have been underdogs this season, but those games have seen an average of 222.5 points scored.

Not knowing Giannis' status certainly throws betting research for a loop tonight. If you are going to bet on this game, strongly consider waiting until you get clarification. In all honesty, however, that information may not come until tip-off tonight.

While this may be a case where the best bet is to not bet, our models currently give the over a 53.7% chance of hitting. For the time being, we mark the bet as a one-star play. Remember to follow numberFire's Player News thread today for updates on Giannis' status.