NBA Betting Guide for Thursday 4/22/21: Taking the Points With Some Underdogs

The Pistons have a good shot of keeping their game close. Which other underdogs can cover tonight?

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.)

Phoenix Suns at Boston Celtics

The Phoenix Suns escaped with a narrow 116-113 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night as Joel Embiid's full-court heave rimmed out. The Boston Celtics have had two days of rest since a six-point loss to the Chicago Bulls.

So the rest differential is something to consider for this matchup.

Our algorithm is identifying value on the home underdogs, rating Boston +2.0 as a three-star recommendation out of five and their moneyline (+110) as a four-star recommendation out of five.

The win/loss records make these teams look pretty far apart -- the Suns are 42-16, and the Celtics are 31-27 -- but our nERD metric indicates an expected point differential of just over three points between the two before accounting for home-court advantage and things like rest.

The public is on Boston, as well, at least to cover the spread. There are 55% of the tickets on the Boston spread and 61% of the money.

The moneyline is closer to 50/50, so Boston +2.0 seems like the top play.

Detroit Pistons at San Antonio Spurs

This game is one where the road underdog is getting a lot of points and where both the algorithm and betting trends are suggesting to bet it, so the Detroit Pistons +9.0 is the angle here.

Our model pegs the Pistons plus the points as a two-star recommendation out of five and sees a median point differential of just 5.7 across thousands of simulations. Overall, there is a 60.6% probability that the Pistons cover the spread in this game, leading to an expected return of 15.7% on investment.

Though there's no debate on the moneyline (the San Antonio Spurs are getting 86% of the money), we are seeing 57% of the money backing the Pistons +9.0, via oddsFire.

Over the past 15 games, the Pistons are just 6-9 with a net rating of -4.5, but the Spurs are only slightly positive (+0.5) with their net rating and the same record. While San Antonio should win, the Pistons should keep it close.

Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls

The primary play in this game is the over (210.5), but that's not as catchy for the headline as backing a third straight underdog with the points (in this case, Charlotte Hornets +1.0).

Over the past 15 games, the Bulls are only 5-10 with a net rating of -4.1; meanwhile, the Hornets are 7-8 with a net rating of -1.7. numberFire's algorithm likes Charlotte +1.0 as a one-star recommendation, and the betting public is siding with them a slight majority of the time -- with 54% of the betting tickets.

Where we see heavier action is on the over at 210.5. numberFire's model has that as a full five-star recommendation and considers it 73.9% likely to occur, which is in line with the tickets (78%) and money (70%) on the over, per oddsFire.

Using each team's offensive and defensive ratings over the past 15 games, my model anticipates a 220.2-point over/under.