NBA

NBA Betting Guide for Friday 5/7/21: Injuries Are Impacting Everything

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.)

Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks

I gotta level with you: between all the injuries and efficient lines, not a ton of elite spots are popping up. Most games will depend on whether key players will go, so we'll have to monitor things throughout the day.

What I can do, at least, is point to some spots where there is early consensus between the betting public and our algorithm. We have it here on the over (232.5) for this Houston Rockets/Milwaukee Bucks game.

Our model at numberFire projects this game to score an average of 240.2 points, making the over 62.2% likely. That's tied to an expected return of 24.5%.

The betting public initially hammered the over and has laid 57% of the bets on the over -- but 93% of the money, according to oddsFire.

My model anticipated a point total of 232.1, so just in line with the current number. Given that, I can defer to numberFire's algorithm and the heavy betting action on the over.

What helps is that the Rockets have at least hit the over in 56.5% of their 23 games since the NBA trade deadline, making them less terrible than they have been most of the season (43.9%).

San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

We're getting some smart money indications on the Sacramento Kings' point spread (+4.5), which opened at +4.0.

Though the San Antonio Spurs are getting the majority of the bets (68%), the Kings are getting the majority of the money (56%). That gives the Kings a 24-percentage-point gap between their money (56%) and bets (32%).

The Kings' health is a big concern here: De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are listed as out yet again. However, in two games without those guards, the Kings are 2-0 with a plus/minus of 7.5 per game and a net rating of 7.0, via PBPStats.

That sample -- while small, it's relevant -- combined with the Spurs' recent data suggests the Kings should be favored, actually. So does numberFire's algorithm: 50.7% win probability for the Kings.

Even if we look at the Kings' overall data with either Fox or Haliburton off the floor, they have a net rating of +3.5. It's a little strange, but the public betting makes sense here.

Further, our algorithm loves the Kings: it rates Sacramento +4.5 as a three-star play.

Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers

The public is all in on the Portland Trail Blazers in this home game against the banged-up Los Angeles Lakers. oddsFire shows 89% of the money on the spread (now Portland -8.5 after opening at -6.5) in Portland's favor. That makes sense given the injuries in play.

LeBron James is out, and Anthony Davis left early last night with back spasms but is expected to play tonight. In six games without LeBron but with Davis and Andre Drummond, the Lakers are only 2-4 with a plus/minus of -38 (-6.3 per game) and a net rating of -5.3, via PBPStats.

The Blazers, since the trade deadline, enter with a raw net rating of 5.1 and an adjusted net rating of 8.5 -- but are just 12-11 in that stretch and have lost four of their past five.

However, using those relevant samples of data, my model sees the Blazers as 68.3% likely to win this game -- but by an average of 6.7 points, closer to that opening line than the current one. That leaves the Lakers as 58.9% likely to cover the growing spread.

Our algorithm is rating Los Angeles +8.5 as a four-star recommendation. With not a whole lot popping off tonight, we can back the Lakers with the points, assuming that Davis does, in fact, play.