NBA Betting Guide for Thursday 12/8/22: How to Bet Clippers/Heat, Rockets/Spurs, and Nuggets/Blazers

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 FanDuel Sportsbook.

Where do our algorithm, our power rankings, and the betting trends identify value in tonight's NBA odds? (All offensive rating, defensive rating, and net rating splits come from and account for medium-, high-, and very high-leverage situations unless otherwise noted.)

Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat

Under 214.5 (-110)

The Los Angeles Clippers are on the second night of a back-to-back set.

Last night, they played the Orlando Magic in Orlando and lost 116-111 in overtime. After Kawhi Leonard cleared 30 minutes in that one, it's fair to wonder if he'll play in this one, and even if he does, he probably will have his minutes capped.

The Miami Heat recently lost both ends of a back-to-back set on Monday and Tuesday, first on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies and then at home to the Detroit Pistons. As usual, they have a very long injury list; the most notable status there is that Jimmy Butler is questionable.

Overall on the season, the Heat are 8-5 in home games despite a point differential of just +0.1. Against the spread, they've played 5.0 points per game under expectation and have a 3-9-1 record against the spread outright in home games.

Given the health aspects here, the best angle here is the under.

Without Leonard and Butler playing (but controlling for some other variables, such as Paul George's status), the Clippers and Heat have respective offensive ratings of just 106.9 and 107.7, well shy of the NBA average (around 113.7 without low-leverage possessions factored in).

numberFire's model likes the under as a four-star play.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

Under 231.5 (-110)

This one is a bit of a toss-up between two teams that are getting close to mathematical elimination from the playoffs already. They combine for 0.3% playoff odds, per numberFire's model.

It's the first of four matchups between them on the schedule, so strap in.

The Houston Rockets are 7-17 overall and 3-12 on the road with an opponent-adjusted point differential in those road games of -9.7, somehow worse than their raw number of -9.3.

Houston has a 42.9% cover rate on the road in those matchups. Of note, Houston and the Denver Nuggets (also on the road tonight) tie for a league-high 15 road games already this season.

The San Antonio Spurs are easily the worst home team in the NBA. They're 3-12 there (and 6-18 overall) with a raw point differential of -11.1 and an opponent-adjusted differential of -12.1. They've got a 38.5% cover rate.

Someone has to cover (right?), but who?

numberFire's model thinks it's the Spurs pretty easily.

My preferred action here is another under. Neither team has a relevant offensive rating better than 108.8 in this matchup. My model thinks this one scores 228.8.

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers +1.0 (-108)
Over 227.0 (-110)

Once again, the Denver Nuggets are on the road.

In their 15 road games, they have a respectable 8-7 record, but the underlying data is worrisome: a -7.8 opponent-adjusted point differential. Denver has covered in just 40.0% of their road games and has underperformed the spread by an average of 5.1 points.

They've been the third-luckiest road team in the league in terms of record versus point differential measures.

The Portland Trail Blazers got Damian Lillard (and Josh Hart) back on Monday, and Lillard played 32.0 minutes. That's huge for their splits. In games with Lillard, the Blazers are 8-4 and have a non-garbage net rating of +2.6. In games without Lillard, their net rating is -5.0, and their record is just 5-7.

Back on October 24th, the Blazers beat the Nuggets 135-110 in Portland when Anfernee Simons put up 29 points in addition to Lillard's 31.

With Lillard back and with the Nuggets' weak road performance, my model thinks Portland gets the better of Denver again and is easily able to cover.

It's also projecting a 235.7-point total, meaning I love the over in this one. These are two really good offenses with worse-than-average defenses.