NBA Betting Guide for Monday 5/2/22: What Should We Bet in a Pair of Game 1s?

Two new NBA playoff series kick off tonight with the 76ers versus the Heat plus the Mavericks versus the Suns. Which bets are best to make?

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. You can also track spread bet percentages at NBA odds.

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

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat

- Game 1

Main Algorithm Picks
- Philadelphia 76ers Spread (+7.5, 2 stars)

- Philadelphia 76ers Moneyline (+260, 2 stars)
- Over 208.5 (1 star)

Injuries mar Game 1 in this series between the Philadelphia 76ers (+240 to win the series) and the Miami Heat (-300).

Joel Embiid is out indefinitely for Philadelphia. The Heat list Kyle Lowry as out, and while Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro are listed as questionable, they are expected to play.

Let's look at some splits.

Since the All-Star break and on possessions deemed medium-to-very-high leverage via PBPStats, the 76ers boast a net rating of -3.7 without Embiid on the floor. Their offensive rating is still high at 117.5, but they have allowed 121.1 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end.

However! They have generated a shot quality rating (or expected effective field goal percentage [eFG%]) of 52.0% and allowed the same rate. The key difference has been that opponents have a 58.8% eFG% in this split against them despite some good overall defense.

This suggests that the Sixers should experience some better defensive luck soon.

As for Miami, since the break, without garbage-time possessions, without Lowry, and in games with Butler playing, the Heat have a net rating of 8.7 with an offensive rating of 119.1. They have a 52.0% shot quality rating in this split (same as the sans-Embiid split for the Sixers I just cited) but have converted at a 57.4% clip in terms of eFG%.

They allow a shot quality of 52.0%, which means that both teams' offensive and defensive shot quality ratings in these splits are at that number.

Overall, numberFire's model is expecting the Sixers to keep it close and views them as 61.3% likely to cover, leading to an expected return of 17.0%.

With a 35.5% win probability, there's still value on their +260 moneyline, per our algorithm, as well.

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns

- Game 1

Main Algorithm Picks
- Phoenix Suns Moneyline (-210, 2 stars)

- Phoenix Suns Spread (-5.5, 1 star)

The Suns are listed at -295 to win the series, and that starts with -210 odds to win Game 1.

They swept the regular-season series with a 3-0 record and won all three by at least 7 points, yet none of those games were more recent than January 20th.

The betting public is a bit split on this spread, though. NBA odds shows 53% of the spread bets on the Dallas Mavericks but 51% of the spread money on the Suns.

numberFire's model leans on the Suns to cover the 5.5-point spread. They're rating out as 54.8% likely to cover, leaving us a 4.5% expected return. That leads to just a one-unit suggestion on the Phoenix spread.

The better bet is for Phoenix to win the opener. They're 73.8% likely to get the win, per our model, and that outperforms their implied moneyline odds (67.7%).

Since 2017, we've seen 68 playoff games with a home team favored by between 5.0 and 6.0 points. Those home teams won at a 75.0% clip (in line with our projection) and covered at a 55.9% rate by an average of 3.2 points.