NBA

NBA Betting Guide for 4/15/21: Breaking Down All 4 Games

What does the data and the betting public think about all four games on Thursday's NBA slate?

Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games every day, and there's just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night -- spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.

But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often certain betting lines hit, and our oddsFire section of the site allows you to track movement in those lines and see where the action is coming from on particular games.

Where do our algorithm, our power rankings, and the betting trends identify value in tonight's games? (All odds from FanDuel Sportsbook.)

Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks

Starting off the night at 7:30 is a game between two teams over .500. The Atlanta Hawks host the Milwaukee Bucks, though neither team is at totally full strength.

numberFire's algorithm is identifying some value in this game, primarily in the form of the Hawks' spread (+4.5) and moneyline (+166). Our algorithm rates each of those as three-star recommendations out of five.

Overall, our numbers really like the Hawks and rank them ninth in the NBA in nERD, which indicates expected winning percentage over a full season. The Bucks are third.

Using nERD, we can find an expected point differential based on underlying data, and the Hawks rate out at +2.0 with the Bucks at +5.2, a gap of 3.3 points for Milwaukee before accounting for any home-court advantage. This season, home teams have won 53.0% of games and have won by an average of 0.8 points.

This goes against the betting public, which is putting 70% of the betting tickets on the Milwaukee spread and moneyline, however.

There is more agreement on the over. oddsFire shows that 68% of the tickets and 78% of the money is on the over (230.0), and numberFire rates the over as 56.1% likely, good for an estimated return of 7.1%, making it the ostensibly safer play than the spread or moneyline.

Milwaukee beat Atlanta 129-115 (a total of 244) on January 24th.

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers

Our model likes the home underdog again in this game, considering the Cleveland Cavaliers +8.0 a four-star recommendation out of five and the Cavs' moneyline (+290) a three-star recommendation.

Our model is projecting a very tight game primarily because it's not that high on the Golden State Warriors' long-term trends.

The betting public is going hard at the Warriors, though: more than 85% of the money is on them to cover the spread and win outright, so we have discord between the algo and the public.

The Warriors, understandably, are a significantly different team with and without Stephen Curry, and their net rating improves by 11.6 points with him. However, they're still just a +3.5 with him. The Cavaliers, over their past 15 games, are a -2.3 in net rating.

It's understandable that the public likes Golden State, given their recent surge and their 129-98 win against Cleveland earlier this season.

But all things considered, this game could actually a bit closer than it may seem. The data says the Cavs can keep it competitive.

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are another home underdog (by 6.5 with the spread and +210 on the moneyline), and it's another home underdog that our model likes.

Once more, though, the betting public is heavy on the visiting team: 78% of the money is on the Boston Celtics' spread and moneyline.

The Lakers remain without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They have now cultivated a 113.0-minute sample (around 2.4 full games or around 3.1 at a 36-minute rate) without those two but with Andre Drummond. Their offensive rating (110.6) and defensive rating (109.1) don't stand out by themselves, but they do make for a positive net rating of +1.5.

The Celtics are a +7.3 in 11 games since the trade deadline and a +5.0 over the past 15 games. Even with the better post-deadline sample, my model anticipates a 3.5-point spread for Boston once accounting for pace, matchup, and home-court advantage.

There is more harmony on the over, at least. My model projects a 217.5-point over/under with the over at 212.0 looking to be 62.1% likely. numberFire's model rates the over as a one-star wager and considers it 52.8% likely. The betting public is putting north of 75% of the bets and money on the over.

Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns

The home team in this game sure is no underdog: the 37-15 Phoenix Suns are favored by 12.0 points over the 22-31 Sacramento Kings, who are on an eight-game losing streak. Woof.

The Suns actually opened as 9.0-point favorites, but 87% of the money on them has pushed that up by 3.0 points. Our algorithm still finds a tinge of value on them. It projects Phoenix to win by at least 12 in 53.5% of simulated games.

In total, it sees Phoenix as 89.2% likely to win, which doesn't leave any value on their massive moneyline (-950).

The model does like the under (233.5), seeing it as 59.8% likely to occur, which implies a 14.2% return on investment.

Unfortunately, this again doesn't agree with the betting trends, which sees some heavy money (75%) on the over. Both teams have gone over more often than under (52.7% for Sacramento and 51.9% for the Suns).

This game looks like the hardest to read tonight, but Suns -12.0 is firmly in play.