Bubble ball is slowly finding its equilibrium. Over the first three days of games, NBA teams averaged 117.8 points per game. No season in history has ever included such an average, and obviously, we've seen some downward regression. On Monday, the 12 teams averaged 112.4 points per game, just a shade above the season's average and somewhat closer to realistic. Teams are starting to get in shape. They're used to playing real games again. The quality of basketball rises by the day.
And so does the realism of the bubble. Now that the basketball is somewhat normal again, we can start to consider some of the factors that typically influence wagers. Teams have different amounts of rest now. They have different motivations. With that in mind, let's look at some of the best bets on the board for Tuesday, Aug. 4.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Suns +9
The Suns are perfect in Orlando, both against the spread and overall, and amazingly, they likely have more to play for in this game than the Clippers. They are now only 1 1/2 games out of the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, whereas the Clippers have a 1 1/2-game buffer for No. 2. Falling to No. 3 might be a better outcome for them anyway, as it would likely net them the fading Utah Jazz in the first round rather than the statistically underrated Dallas Mavericks. It's just hard to imagine the Clippers going full speed in this one. The Suns will. That's enough to cover a nine-point spread.
So who wins Suns vs. Clippers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Clippers vs. Suns spread you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat: Celtics -3.5
The Heat are among the worst teams in the NBA on back-to-backs, holding a deceptive 5-6 overall record that ignores the fact that two of those wins came against non-playoff teams and three came in overtime. Their six losses came by an average of over 16 points. The Celtics are no lottery opponent, and are extremely motivated to win this game purely to stay at No. 3 in the standings and avoid the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round.
So who wins Celtics vs. Heat? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Heat vs. Celtics spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,200 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.
Houston Rockets vs Portland Trail Blazers: Under 243
The Rockets are due for some extreme regression. Their first game saw over 300 total points scored. In their second, they attempted a regulation-record 61 3-pointers ... and still came in under this total. League-wide scoring came down on Monday after a long weekend full of overs. Only one of Monday's six games would have hit this point total. Eventually, the scoring in Rockets games has to decrease just as it did around the league.