On a nine-game NBA slate, the underdogs edged the against-the-spread (ATS) matchups, going 5-4 on the day with three of those teams winning outright.
The New Orleans Pelicans were impressive winners in Atlanta as they continued their push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors were the other outright underdog winners on the day, knocking off the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.
The Raptors were another team that saw big market movement against them on the back of news that Fred VanVleet would sit out the front end of the team’s back-to-back as part of ongoing injury management.
That meant the line went from an opener of 5½ points out to 8½ points when coupled with the news that Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid would play after being listed as questionable with back soreness.
The Sixers were outscored 24-14 in the final frame, with their superstar duo both going cold down the stretch. James Harden, in particular, was disappointing yet again in a clutch situation, first missing two free throws with the 76ers trailing 87-86 and then missing a layup inside the final minute. He rounded out the game by being charged with an offensive foul with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Sixers trailing 90-88.
“We just got our butt kicked. That’s all I have to say,” said Philly head coach Doc Rivers.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were arguably the most controversial underdog to cover the number, where market entry was also important. The NBA betting lines for this game opened at a flat 5.0 before markets closed at -8.0 for the home team on the back of the news that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would sit out with a niggling injury.
The Orlando Magic led by seven points with 20 seconds remaining before giving up a garbage-time layup that cut the lead down to five. Despite the quick basket and 14 seconds remaining, the Thunder chose not to foul and instead allowed Orlando to dribble out the clock, ensuring no OKC spread bettors lost.
The Sacramento Kings forced the league-leading Phoenix Suns to overtime before falling 127-124 but managed a wire-to-wire cover as 8½-point underdogs even without De’Aaron Fox.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies were both blowout winners in the early tip-offs before the Utah Jazz covered a 3½-point spread on the road in New York and the red-hot Boston Celtics ran out 124-104 winners in Denver as 3½ point favorites – a game accurately predicted in our NBA betting preview.
Points Hard to Come By
Unders bettors enjoyed a nice day at the office, with seven of the nine games staying under their full game totals.
This was highlighted by the Thunder vs Magic that fell under the full game total by 47 points. That wasn’t the only game to stay under by some margin either, with the Raptors vs 76ers game staying under by 38 points and the Jazz vs Knicks going under by 23 points.
That’s helped to even things in the totals department, with the past week’s action now seeing the overs cash in 28 of the 50 games (56 percent).