NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Grizzlies vs. Hawks and Lakers vs. Raptors (March 18)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors.
If your bracket is already busted, and your tournament bets from Day 1 went nowhere, that’s OK.
The NBA has a rather loaded 12-game slate on the schedule Friday and our NBA analysts are hard at work looking for betting value as we head into the weekend.
Joe Dellera and Raheem Palmer deliver their analysis and Best Bets for two of Friday’s games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
Raheem Palmer: The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling to say the least. They’re just 2-89 since the All-Star break and 0-9 in games in which LeBron James doesn’t score 50 points or more.
Since the break the Lakers are 28th in Net Rating (-9.4) behind an Offensive Rating of 107.8 and a Defensive Rating of 117.2, numbers which rank 28th and 24th among NBA teams. Digging deeper the Lakers are just 3-12 in their last 15 games. Despite the presence of James who is arguably the greatest player of all time, the Lakers aren’t a good team.
In fact, my power ratings have them as the 24th best team in the league. Post All-Star break, the only teams I have worse than the Lakers are the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers. That’s just how bad the Lakers have been recently.
They play a Raptors team which defeated them 114-103 on Monday night and has just won five straight games. The Lakers have come out slow recently and there’s nothing to suggest that will change here.
I’ll back the Raptors -3 and -5 in the first quarter and first half as this Lakers team has quit on the season.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks
Joe Dellera: This line initially opened at Grizzlies -3 and has since moved to -5 at the time of this writing. This is partially due to Trae Young popping on the injury report and that the Grizzlies have received some initial sharp action. A line at -5, even with Young, would be a fair price considering their significant advantage over Atlanta in transition and on defense overall.
The Grizzlies are a superior team, and they should be able to take advantage of Atlanta’s defensive inefficiencies. If you’re concerned about Young playing, wait until the news is confirmed; however, I don’t think this line should be fewer than 4 points in any circumstance. Additionally, if he is ruled out, don’t be surprised if this spread jumps to Grizzlies -7 or -8.
I’ll back the Grizzlies on the road to set the Pace and take care of business against this porous Atlanta defense.
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