NBA

NBA Betting Guide for Monday 11/22/21: Siding With 3 Underdogs

Which teams look likely to cover the spread as underdogs on tonight's 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 you can track line movement within games and compare odds over at the oddsFire section of the site.

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

Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers

The Brooklyn Nets are warming up. Over their past 10 games, they are 8-2 with a point differential of +6.4 per game.

However, if you compare their point differential to their spreads in those games, they are a -0.4 per game, meaning they've played only as well as (and slightly below) expectation. The elite record may be a bit inflated.

That recent record does include a 109-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers back on the 17th, a game played on the Nets' home floor.

Now, they're at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. The Cavs are 7.0-point home underdogs.

Over their own past 10 games, Cleveland is 6-4 with a modest +1.2 point differential. But they've been scrappy all season, and in these past 10 games, their spread-adjusted point differential is a +6.1.

They have covered in 7 in their past 10 games (Brooklyn has done it in 5 of their past 10).

Overall, numberFire's model likes the Cavs to cover the spread with a 53.2% probability, making it a one-star recommendation. I know that's not a phenomenal play, but the games tonight are featuring little value on the model in general.

Also of note, the Nets are top-six in defensive luck in terms of points per shot surrendered versus the shot dispersion they've allowed. This can once again speak to the quality of opponent they have faced recently.

Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls

Let's continue the underdog trends and in taking the points here with a divisional matchup between the 7-11 Indiana Pacers and the 12-5 Chicago Bulls.

numberFire's model sees the point gap at just 2.1 points overall, putting some value on the Pacers' side of things

Without Nikola Vucevic playing, the Bulls are still 4-2 this season but have posted a net rating of just 1.9 points while seeing some three-point luck in that split (opponents have shot just 31.1% from deep in these games).

Vucevic -- and the Bulls -- don't really control three-point conversion rates, so we could view the net rating as inflated.

Over the past 10 games, too, the Bulls (+2.8 point differential) are playing around the same level as the Pacers (+2.1), and the same is said when adjusting for spread (+2.7 for the Bulls and +2.1 for the Pacers).

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs

There is no hotter team -- record-wise -- than the Phoenix Suns, and I will refrain from any forced temperature jokes hereafter.

Phoenix is a perfect 10-0 over their past 10 games with a +12.9 point differential and a +6.7 spread-adjusted point differential (both rank a distant second behind the Golden State Warriors over that sample).

The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, are a -2.2 after adjusting for spread, so the clear edge belongs to the Suns outright.

numberFire's model sees them as 61.8% likely to get the win on the road and improve to 14-3. Outright win odds aren't the argument here. It's about the betting value.

It's actually the Spurs' moneyline (+176) and spread (+5.5) that the model likes overall. San Antonio is 38.2% likely to convert a home win, making the expected return on the moneyline 12.3%. That puts it in one-star territory simply due to the low odds of the bet hitting.

The more likely bet is that they cover (57.7%), which gets a two-star recommendation from the model due to its expected return of 10.1%.

No team over the past 10 games has had more opponent shooting luck than the Suns, who have allowed only 101.9 points per game but should've allowed 108.2 due to their shot selection allowed.

My model views the spread as Spurs +3.5 as well.