NBA Betting Guide for Tuesday 5/25/21: A Good Night to Bet on Underdogs

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.)

Boston Celtics (+340) at Brooklyn Nets (-430)

Spread: Brooklyn Nets -9.0
Total: 227.0

The Boston Celtics led by six at the break in Game 1 before the Nets stormed back to win going away. Our model thinks the Celtics can keep Game 2 closer throughout.

Boston hasn't yet beaten the Nets this year, losing all four of their meetings, including Game 1. While so much of the regular season data for these teams carries little weight due to the current absence of Jaylen Brown and the lack of minutes together for Brooklyn's big three, that 0-4 record certainly doesn't bode well for the C's chances of winning this series.

But Boston made Game 1 fairly interesting despite shooting just 36.9% from the field. Facing a maligned Nets D that was 10th-worst in defensive efficiency this year, the Celtics should be back closer to their season-long shooting clip of 46.6% tonight.

Our model really likes Boston in this one -- not to win but to cover as 9.0-point 'dogs. We have the Nets winning 113.95-114.14, and we think Boston covers 68.5% of the time.

Los Angeles Lakers (-126) at Phoenix Suns (+108)

Spread: Los Angeles Lakers -2.0
Total: 209.0

Our numbers love another underdog in Game 2.

Despite being a slight favorite in Game 1 and winning pretty comfortably (99-90), the Phoenix Suns are 2.0-point home underdogs tonight against the Lakers. But our model has Phoenix winning 72.9% of the time, and we project the final score to be 107.80-101.29 for the Suns, so there's a big discrepancy here.

The Lakers' regular-season numbers are a bit wacky due to LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing significant time, but I don't think we should dismiss the idea of Phoenix being the better team. The Suns finished third in overall net rating (+5.9) and went 27-9 at home. LA was eighth in net rating (+2.9) and went 21-15 away from home. And the addition of fans for Game 1 sure made it seem like home-court advantage is going to matter more now than it did for most of the regular season.

As another plus for the Suns, Chris Paul was left off the Game 2 injury report.

LA is just 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games as the favorite, failing to cover by an average of 5.7 points. Oddsmakers are obviously banking on AD and LeBron to round into form off their layoffs, but that is no sure thing, especially against a team as good as Phoenix is.

We rate Phoenix to cover as 2.0-point underdogs as a five-star bet, and we also have Phoenix on the moneyline (+108) as a five-star play.

Dallas Mavericks (+225) at Los Angeles Clippers (-275)

Spread: Los Angeles Clippers -6.5
Total: 216.5

Of today's three games, this one offers the least betting value, per our model.

If we look at what the public is doing, the masses are backing the over while there is a lean toward Dallas Mavericks to cover as 6.5-point 'dogs, according to oddsFire. On the spread, 68% of the bets and 66% of the money is on the side of the Mavs. With the total, 84% of the wagers and 87% of the cash is on the over.

Dallas has been money as an underdog of late, going 4-0 against the spread in their last four such games. The Clips, meanwhile, are just 3-9 against the spread overall in their last 12, although some of that is skewed by a stretch when the Clippers weren't playing their best players at the end of the regular season.

Our model leans slightly toward a Dallas cover, projecting them to do so 53.0% of the time. We differ with the public on the total, however, as we have the under hitting 52.1% of the time.