NBA Betting, DFS Guide: LeBron vs. Brow, Nuggets-Thunder, More

It’s a stud showdown in Cleveland between LeBron and LeBrow …

 

Bad puns aside, it is indeed a stud showdown. Meanwhile, Matty Moore’s Nuggets continue to battle for a playoff spot in the highly contested Western Conference. They’ve dropped two straight and opened the door for the Clippers, who have won three straight.

Here’s what you need to know for tonight’s slate. — Mark Gallant

All info as of Friday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.

If there’s a specific matchup you want to jump to, click the quick links below. For live spreads and bet percentages, check out this page. Follow the latest injury info on our industry-leading news feed. To get access to our premium betting tools, subscribe here.

 

NOP-CLE | DEN-OKC | LAC-POR | Quick Hits


NEW ORLEANS PELICANS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-4) | O/U: 229.5

8 p.m. ET | ESPN

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What the metrics say: These teams first met in the opening week of the season, and the Pels ran away with it at home 117-92. These are drastically different squads now, however, as the Cavs rehauled their roster at the trade deadline and the Pels lost DeMarcus Cousins for the year. New Orleans really barred off the rim in the first meeting, with the Cavs taking only 11 shots in the restricted area. That won’t be the case in this one, as the main lineup with Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis at the 4-5 has allowed a 37.6% shot frequency at the rim this year. Further, the Cavs’ new-look offense has been very impressive: Since trading away Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas, all lineups with LeBron James and Kevin Love have posted a +9.5 net rating and scored a ridiculous 119.1 points per 100 possessions. If the Cavs can shore up their defense even further, they’ll be back atop the perch in the East come playoff time. — Bryan Mears

Trend to know: The Cavaliers have not fared well against teams above .500 this late in the season in recent years. At least 70 games into the season, the Cavs are 7-10 against the spread, failing to cover by 3.6 PPG, against teams over .500. In March or later, the Cavs are 15-21-1 ATS, failing to cover by 2.7 PPG, in that same spot. — Evan Abrams


DENVER NUGGETS AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (-3.5) | O/U: 224.5

8 p.m. ET

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What the metrics say: The first two meetings between these teams were low-scoring affairs, going for just 196 and 189 points. The third shot up, combining for a whopping 251 points. Both teams were hot shooting the ball, although I’m hesitant that will continue in the fourth and final affair of the year. Take a look how each team shot in different areas of the floor …

  • Thunder: 62.8% at rim (45th percentile), 55.6% from midrange (94), 33.3% from 3 (34)
  • Nuggets: 50.0% at rim (8), 72.0% from midrange (99), 42.9% from 3 (73)

Both teams shot in the 94th-plus percentile from the midrange, which suggests they just got hot for a single game. Paul George was especially scorching, nailing 14 of his 18 2-point attempts. Carmelo Anthony went 5-of-11 from 2. Both teams are missing their best wing defenders from the start of the season in Gary Harris and Andre Roberson, but I’m still expecting a bit of offensive regression from the absurd barrage that was the last game. I’ll be curious to monitor whether that 223.5 opening total, which is splitting the difference between the first two games and third, is bet up or down throughout the day. — Bryan Mears

Trend No. 1 to know: Since 2011, the Nuggets are 12-5-2 ATS (70.6%) when playing on an extended road trip (fifth game or more). Denver is covering the spread by 1.6 PPG and is the fifth-most profitable team in the NBA during that span. — Evan Abrams

Trend No. 2 to know: Home teams on a back-to-back in the final 10 games of the season have gone 131-170-4 (44%) ATS since 2005. The Thunder return to Oklahoma City after playing Thursday in San Antonio. — John Ewing

L.A. CLIPPERS AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (-6) | O/U: 217.5

10:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What the metrics say: The Clippers are fighting a dangerous battle with their offensive shot profile of late. They took a solid amount of shots at the rim and behind the 3-point line earlier in the season, but they’ve stopped shooting from the perimeter over the past month. Over their past 11 games, they’ve taken 25% of their shots or fewer from the 3-point line six times; all of those games rank in the bottom-11 percentile this season. Against Toronto three games ago the Clippers posted just a 17.3% 3-point rate, and last game against Phoenix they had a 19.3% 3-point rate. They can still hit shots with guys like Lou Williams and Tobias Harris getting hot from the midrange, but that’s not a sustainable way to have an efficient offense. Even the San Antonio Spurs are learning that painful lesson this year. Portland remains hot, and they have a big edge in the math game. — Bryan Mears

Trend No. 1 to know: Over the past two seasons, the Clippers are 23-13 ATS (63.9%) on the road against teams over .500. The Clips are covering the spread by 4.0 PPG during that span, including 2-0 ATS against the Blazers. — Evan Abrams

Trend No. 2 to know: Portland surprisingly lost in Memphis on Wednesday as 5.5-point favorites. History says the Blazers bounce back. Since 2005, teams that lost their previous game to an opponent that has won less than 30% of their games late in the season (March-April) have gone 169-130-6 (57%) ATS. — John Ewing

Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate

CHICAGO BULLS AT ORLANDO MAGIC (-6.5) | O/U: 211

7 p.m. ET

Trend No. 1 to know: In the final 10 games of the season, when bad teams (33% or worse win rate) play, the home team has gone 29-21-1 (58%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing

Trend No. 2 to know: Dating back to November 2015, the under has cashed in the Magic and Bulls’ past 10 meetings. The under has covered by 13.3 PPG over that span. — Evan Abrams

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (-7.5) AT ATLANTA HAWKS | O/U: 218

7:30 p.m. ET

Trend to know: Joel Embiid is out two to four weeks after suffering a facial contusion. The Sixers are 3-8 SU and 2-8-1 ATS without Embiid this season, including 0-5 SU on the road against Eastern Conference foes. — Evan Abrams

PHOENIX SUNS AT HOUSTON ROCKETS (-17) | O/U: 217

8 p.m. ET

Trend No. 1 to know: Exceptional teams, like Houston, that have won 80% or more of their games have gone 38-55 (41%) ATS since 2005 when facing an opponent with a losing record in March through April. — John Ewing

Trend No. 2 to know: Recently, Mike D’Antoni has had his way with his former team on the road, going 4-1 SU and ATS in Phoenix since January 2014. — Evan Abrams

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (-5.5) AT DALLAS MAVERICKS | O/U: 216.5

8:30 p.m. ET

Trend No. 1 to know: After posting a career-high 56 points against the Hawks, Karl-Anthony Towns could be in for a back-to-back great performance. Here is how he has fared in his past four games against the Mavericks:

25 PPG (62.3% FG), 13.3 RPG, plus/minus of +58, 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS — Evan Abrams

Trend No. 2 to know: Over his past three seasons as a head coach, Tom Thibodeau’s teams are 16-34 ATS (32%) in the game after they shoot over 50% from the field. Over that span, Thibs is the least profitable coach in this spot in the NBA. — Evan Abrams

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES AT UTAH JAZZ (-14.5) | O/U: 197

9 p.m. ET

Trend No. 1 to know: Memphis (21-54) beat Portland on Wednesday. It has been profitable to fade horrible teams (30% or worse win rate) after a late-season (March-April) win: 176-124-6 (59%) ATS. — John Ewing

Trend No. 2 to know: The Jazz have lost consecutive home games SU as favorites of 14 and 10.5 points. In the month of March, teams are 27-4 SU when favored by double digits at home, which means two of those four losses have come by Utah. — Evan Abrams

MILWAUKEE BUCKS AT L.A. LAKERS (-1.5) | O/U: 220.5

10:30 p.m. ET

Trend to know: Since Steve Kerr became the coach of the Warriors in 2014, opponents are just 14-25 ATS (35.9%) when playing on a back-to-back after playing the Warriors on the road. Over that span, the Warriors are the least-profitable prior road opponent, although the last four teams in this spot are 4-0 ATS this season. — Evan Abrams

Pictured above: Anthony Davis

Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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