An NBA player prop and road underdog: Best Bets for Feb. 3

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Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives past Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, Feb. 3:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA player prop, Jayson Tatum UNDER 30.5 points

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

Our take: Tatum is the Boston Celtics’ leading scorer and among the leading NBA MVP candidates and has gone over this total in six of his past eight games, so on the surface, it looks like there may be value on the over.

But as is often the case with sports betting, it’s worth looking into the details. In this case, the Celtics’ opponent Friday, the Phoenix Suns, is among the best teams in the NBA against small forwards and power forwards, which are the two positions Tatum most often plays.

On the other hand, the Suns have a leaky defense against shooting guards, so the Celtics’ other star, Jaylen Brown, may take center stage tonight. Additionally, with Boston favored by 9 points, there’s a decent chance this game isn’t competitive into the final minutes, and the Celtics would be more than happy to give Tatum a little extra rest if that’s the case.

NBA ROAD UNDERDOG

The play: NBA, Blazers +3 at Wizards

The odds: -106

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 7 p.m. (NBA League Pass)

Our take: Damian Lillard has been red hot, even by his standards. Over the Blazers’ last five games, he has shot 57.6% from the field and averaged 42.2 points.

But that’s actually not the reason we like Portland on the road in this spot. The Wizards are above average defensively against opposing shooting guards, and Lillard’s player prop of 34.5 points is probably too high (not that we’d necessarily advise betting against him right now).

The bigger issue is that Washington, which is riding a six-game winning streak, is simply being overvalued here. Five of the Wizards’ wins during this stretch have been against subpar teams, and the other one, against the Mavericks, was a one-point victory. Getting Portland — which has won four of five itself — with more than 3 points is too good to pass up.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

NBA money line: Mavericks over Pelicans (WON)

NBA player prop: Luka Doncic UNDER 34.5 points (WON)

Thursday’s record: 2-0

Total for the week: 5-3

Total for February: 3-1

Total for 2023: 28-35

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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