For the 2020-2021 NBA season, I will be posting my projections for each NBA game on Wednesday and Friday. Here’s what you’ll find in my template: Projected Team Totals, Projected Combined Totals, Projected Spreads for the Game, and Implied Odds for the Silver Line.
To note: My projections will not be updated in real time throughout the day, but the PRO Action Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury news and programming.
I’ll also highlight some of the more intriguing matches on the slate with in-depth game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.
NBA projections template
NBA odds and picks
Although the projections give us a solid basis for what number should beIt’s also important to handicap every game for things the numbers can’t tell us.
Check out my analysis for tonight’s 10-game slate.
New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have a 2.5-game cushion over the Brooklyn Nets for the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference. A win here would go a long way in securing the seed and ensuring they could avoid the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks at least until the Eastern Conference Finals.
They will face the New Orleans Pelicans who are 2.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for 10th place in the West. A win here brings them one step closer to the play-in game, however, the Pelicans only have six games to go with five on the road.
To make matters worse, they will be deprived of their Brandon Ingram, their second top scorer. That doesn’t bode well for their already struggling offense, which ranks 26th in the offensive standings over the past two weeks, according to Cleaning the Glass.
When you’re having trouble offensively, the last team you want to play are the 76ers who allow the third fewest points per 100 possessions (108.1) in their waste-free minutes. The last time these two teams played on April 9, we saw a rock fight: a 103 possession game that saw both teams score less than one point per possession with a final score of 101-93. .
I think we could see a similar result here, as the Pelicans score most effectively in areas of the ground that the 76ers are hardy to defend. The Pelicans rank first in frequency of field goals attempted on the rim (41.8%) while the 76ers allow the ninth lowest field goal percentage (63.7%) at the rim.
The Pelicans are also fifth in long midrange field goal percentage (44.7%) while the 76ers are first in opponent’s midrange field goal percentage (38.1%). %). While we could see the number of long jump shots at mid-range decrease without Ingram in the lineup, New Orleans are not a very good 3-point shooting team – 25th in frequency (31.4% ) and 27th in percentage (35.3%).
Surprisingly, the Pelicans’ defense presented itself in a way that their attack did not. They have the best defensive score in the past two weeks, holding opposing teams to 103.7 points per 100 possessions in their waste-free minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
The 76ers also live in the midrange, taking 36.8% of their field goals in this area. Although Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris are two of the league’s best midrange shooters in terms of frequency and the 76ers are third among NBA teams shooting at 45.5%, the Pelicans are sixth in shooting percentage. shot at mid-distance of the opponent (40.9%).
Overall, I think this total is too high. I took less than 229 with my model putting this game at 227, but with Ingram I still think there is some value to the current number given the pelicans struggles recently.
Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
Having played in the Eastern Conference final in three of the past four seasons, no one could have imagined the Celtics struggling so much with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker.
They had bad luck with absences due to health and safety protocols and injuries that hamper their continuity. It continues here with Jaylen Brown ruled out due to a sprained right ankle.
The Celtics are 5-3 without Brown in the lineup and are scoring 110 points per game in his absence, so I’m not too worried. The Celtics should be able to handle business against the Bulls that just played last night. Chicago is 5-10 on zero days off this season and Zach LaVine is still getting rid of the rust after missing 11 games due to health and safety protocols.
The Bulls have never really put it together since trading for Nikola Vucevic on the deadline – they are 22nd in net (-3.1), 22nd in offensive rating (109.5) and 18th in defensive rating (112.6) over this period.
While LaVine missed a lot of those games, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re 116.8 points per 100 possessions with Vucevic on the ground versus 112.1 with him (+4.7).
The Bulls rank 21st in the midrange frequency while still allowing the third highest percentage in the midrange, so I expect Tatum and Walker to find their spots against Chicago’s 18th defense (113.4 defensive note this season by Window Cleaning.).
Even without Brown the Celtics are still the better team and my model makes this Celtics game -4.16, so I think there is some value on any number below that. I played the Celtics at -2.5 but as the number has increased I would recommend betting him live if he doesn’t come back down before the game.
Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are in the second leg of a second leg after a resounding loss to the Bulls and face the Magic who are without Terrence Ross, Otto Porter, James Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams and Wendell Carter. Where will the score come from?
Cole Anthony intervened recently. He struck a winner against the Memphis Grizzlies and averaged 15.1 points on 42.3% shots in 29.1 minutes per game in the last 11 games. But he’s not going to give the Magic an effective attack on his own.
The Magic rank 29th in the offensive standings over the past two weeks, scoring just 103.2 points per 100 possessions in their waste-free minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass. They rank in the bottom 10 for field goal percentage in all areas of the floor, including the front edge (61.2%), midrange (39.9%) and behind the arc ( 35.3%).
They also shoot the second highest frequency of midrange field goals (39.2%) while making the fifth under. They play a Hornets team that allows the seventh lowest percentage of midrange field goals, so it would shock me if the Magic gave a decent number here.
They are not two fast paced teams either as the Magic are 17th at Pace (99.01) while the Hornets are 19th (99.00). The Hornets have their own offensive issues as they are still missing one of their top scorer and playmaker in Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges has come out with health and safety protocols.
With Devonte ‘Graham and Cody Martin, I don’t trust that attack, even with the return of LaMelo Ball. They rank 18th in the offensive standings in their no-trash minutes over the past two weeks and other than the 3-point variance being in their favor, they’re not very offensive as they rank at the bottom of the percentage of field goals at the edge and in the midrange.
My model thinks there is some value on the sub at 216.5 and with those two infractions I have to trust him.