#Betting101: NBA Weekend Look-Ahead

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:29 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 8:29 PM UTC

Tuesday’s game between the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets was an eye-opener. Is this the weekend to follow the Raps and fade the Rox with our basketball picks?

Great horny toads, the NBA is back in all its glory. It’s been a wild and woolly opening month; we hope you’ve been able to profit from all this early-season volatility. Let’s take a quick look at last weekend’s results. We used some quick-and-dirty analytics to identify the Cleveland Cavaliers as a potential fade candidate, and the Chicago Bulls as a potential follow. Cleveland barely covered against the Dallas Mavericks, so we’re glad we gave them a pass. Sadly, the Bulls honked both their weekend games bigly. Perhaps they weren’t underachieving after all.

This weekend, we feature two teams that are both playing at a high level, albeit inconsistently. The Toronto Raptors (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) and Houston Rockets (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) can lay claim to being the second-best teams in their respective conferences – from an analytics standpoint. But the Rockets have all the cachet, and all those SU victories. They’re the most popular NBA pick on the public money charts. The Raptors are invisible, as usual. There might be some value fading Houston and following Toronto this weekend.

OG: Original Gangster

For the analytics, we turn again to Basketball Reference, where the Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference at +6.51 on the Simple Rating System. The Rockets are second in the West at +6.40 SRS. By this measure, Toronto has performed at a higher level thus far. They also beat the Rockets 129-113 Tuesday night as 6.5-point road dogs on the NBA odds board.

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I hate to break it to you, but OG Anunoby is now the league’s best player.

— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) November 15, 2017

One game is a small sample size, but this game was significant: It was the first start for Raptors forward OG Anunoby (+3.2 BPM), and he delivered, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting while leading all players at plus-22. All this and defense, too. Anunoby appears to be an upgrade over Norman Powell (–0.1 BPM), who will miss the next few weeks with a hip pointer. Toronto’s bench players have been outperforming the starters in general, and with Powell on the shelf, head coach Dwane Casey has no choice but to dip further into that strong well of reserves.

Rust Rocket

As for the Rockets, they don’t have much depth with Chris Paul (knee) out of the lineup, but he’s expected to return Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns. It should take him a few games to work himself back into the rotation, and it’s only his second game in a Houston uniform, so there’s more than just the rust to shake off. The timing could be right to fade the Rockets this weekend.

So what does the NBA schedule have for us? The Raptors host the New York Knicks (7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS) on Friday and the Washington Wizards (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) on Sunday. Houston visits the Memphis Grizzlies (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS) on Saturday. The Grizz stand out among these opponents with their +3.11 SRS, good for fifth place in the West. It’s a tough spot with PG Mike Conley dealing with a tender Achilles, but Memphis has the added advantage of taking two days off before hosting the Rockets. They’ll tip off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern; mark it down on your NBA betting calendar, and may the sphere be with you this weekend.

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