NBA

NBA Betting Guide for Tuesday 5/18/21: Can the Wizards Get Past the Celtics?

What do the splits say about Washington and Boston's matchup? And can the Pacers hold off the Hornets?

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.)

Charlotte Hornets (+120) at Indiana Pacers (-142)

Spread: Indiana Pacers -2.5
Total: 226.5

This game will hinge a lot on the Pacers' injuries. They list -- among others -- Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis -- as questionable.

Their splits without those two are, unsurprisingly, not insignificant, according to PBPStats.

Pacers SplitsRecordOffensive
Rating
Defensive
Rating
Net
Rating
Games With Brogdon and Sabonis24-26112.4112.20.2
Games Without Brogdon and Sabonis2-2118.6121.7-3.1


numberFire's model is currently viewing the -142 moneyline for the Pacers as a two-star bet. We give them a 65.7% chance to win, which outperforms their moneyline odds (58.7%). The betting public is pretty split on this one so far: 53% of the tickets and 56% of the money is on the Pacers.

Our algorithm is predicting an average margin of victory of 4.3 points, making the 2.5-point spread a one-star recommendation in the Pacers' favor. That's where the public is leaning, too. The Pacers -2.5 has received 60% of the money and 59% of the tickets.

Our model is also leaning on the over, seeing it as 53.8% likely to hit. That's just a one-star recommendation due to the expected return of 2.7%. And once more, the betting public is falling in line: 56% of the tickets and 53% of the money is on the over.

So, a lot of tepid recommendations overall, and that's bearing out in the betting numbers.

This game will come down a lot toward the Pacers' injuries, but the early trends do suggest that they get it done, which makes the Indiana spread and moneyline the preferred play.

After all, their net rating is still "only" -3.1 without both Brogdon and Sabonis, and the Charlotte Hornets are a -3.9 over their final 15 games and a -9.0 over their final five.

Washington Wizards (+110) at Boston Celtics (-130)

Spread: Boston Celtics -2.5
Total: 233.5

Injuries -- and returns -- need to be explored in this game, too.

While the Celtics have worse data without Jaylen Brown, it's not that damning.

Celtics SplitsRecordOffensive
Rating
Defensive
Rating
Net
Rating
Games With Brown30-28114.8113.01.6
Games Without Brown6-8112.4111.70.7


The Washington Wizards' splits with and without Bradley Beal are actually damning, so it's good for Washington that he's back in action.

Wizards SplitsRecordOffensive
Rating
Defensive
Rating
Net
Rating
Games With Beal32-28113.2113.7-0.5
Games Without Beal2-10105.4113.5-8.1


Using these relevant splits (Celtics without Brown and Wizards with Beal), my model predicted just a 1.2-point spread in favor of Boston, still favoring them but not enough to cover the spread.

numberFire's model sees it differently, predicting an average win margin of 6.5 points for Boston, which makes the Celtics -2.5 a three-star recommendation. And the algorithm at numberFire is also listing Boston's moneyline (-130) as a four-star recommendation.

This actually goes against the betting trends, and we're seeing around 75% of the money on the Wizards' spread and moneyline.

I'm inclined to target the under (my model projected it at 230.3) primarily, given the uncertainty of the improving Wizards and declining Celtics. If I had to choose a spread or moneyline bet, it'd be the Wizards to cover.