Tuesday’s NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets For Hawks vs. Raptors, Heat vs. Suns (April 13)
Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.
- Tuesday's seven-game NBA slate is the definition of quality over quantity.
- Our NBA analysts are betting two underdogs against the spread in two key matchups on tonight's schedule.
- You can read more below for their picks.
Don’t let Tuesday night’s short NBA slate fool you. While the quantity is low, the intrigue and value are both high. Tonight’s action is anchored by two cross-conference national TV matchups on TNT: Clippers vs. Pacers (7:30 p.m. ET) and Celtics vs. Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts have zeroed in on two other games on tonight’s slate and they are both backing the underdog in each matchup.
Take a look their in-depth analysis and picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors
Brandon Anderson: I still can’t quite bring myself to quit the Raptors just yet.
The Raptors have won three of their past six games and have outscored opponents by 51 points over that stretch. Sure that margin is almost entirely due to that one outlier Warriors game, but we’re looking at baby steps here for a franchise that had lost 12-of-13 games prior.
Take that ugly stretch out and Toronto is 20-21 on the season, still not great but definitely in that mix of East teams between fourth and 10th place.
You look at the Raptors and still see Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and others who inspire real confidence, even with Fred VanVleet still out (Kyle Lowry will join him on the bench as well). Toronto ranks in the top half of the league in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, per Basketball Reference, and the Raps have a positive Net Rating too.
The standings say 21-33, but the underlying metrics suggest a record close to 28-26. That’s huge difference suggests serious regression to the mean in the win column, and this is a great spot to get one of them in a coin flip spot.
The Hawks are missing John Collins, (likely) Danilo Gallinari, and Cam Reddish. That’s already three of their top eight, at worst, and Trae Young is also questionable. Young is the engine of this offense who is quietly having an All-NBA caliber season; his potential absence would skew this game significantly in Toronto’s favor.
Even if Young plays, the Hawks remain shorthanded. Atlanta has won 15-of-19, so the Hawks have gone the exact opposite direction of the Raptors since the All-Star Break, but these teams still look relatively even overall and Toronto is healthier and playing better lately.
I’ll take a shot on the Raptors, and all the better if Young ends up limited or out.
Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns
Raheem Palmer: The Miami Heat started off their four game West Coast road trip with a bang as they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 107-98 Sunday night. They face the much more difficult Phoenix Suns who are second in the Western Conference with a 37-15 record.
The Suns have been downright dominant this season, going 19-7 straight up against teams above .500 and they’re a 9-3 SU this season on back-to-backs. The Suns are seventh in Offensive Rating (116.7) and fifth in Defensive Rating (109.4) in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning The Glass — one of three teams (Jazz, Bucks) that ranks top-10 in both areas.
They have been slipping recently, however. Over the past two weeks, they rank 21st in Defensive Rating, allowing opponents to score 114.5 points per 100 possessions. In Monday’s game against the Houston Rockets they jumped out to a 81-57 lead after making 18-of-24 (75%) 3s before the Rockets cut the lead to five points with 5:45 remaining.
With the way this offense has been playing recently, scoring 121.9 points per 100, it’s easy for bad habits to form and it’s not a surprise they’ve slipped on defense.
They’ll be facing Heat team that ranks sixth in Defensive Rating (110.3) in their non garbage time minutes and has the rest advantage against the Suns who playing the second leg of a back-to-back. The Heat should be able to slow down the mid-range attack of Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
While the Heat have struggled offensively, largely due to a regression in shooting across the board, I can’t help but think they’ll find themselves offensively at some point. The Heat put up an Offensive Rating of 117.6 in Sunday’s game against the Blazers, and have won six out of the past seven games, so it feels like they’re on the right path.
With regard to this matchup, the Heat have some key advantages, most notably their ability to score at the rim where they’re shooting 68.5%, No. 1 among all teams. According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Suns are tied for 17th in Opponent Field Goal Percentage at the rim (64.1%), so look for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to dominate in the paint. The Suns are also 18th in personal fouls, which could be an issue for them tonight.
Although my power rankings make the Suns the third-best team in the league with the Heat coming in at No. 14, I’m not sure my model is accurately depicting who the Heat are at this point. They struggled early with COVID-19 absences, injuries and a short break between the bubble and the season.
The Heat are hitting the homestretch of this season, and with games against the Suns, Denver Nuggets (sans Jamal Murray), and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami has the opportunity to go 4-0 or 3-1 on this road trip to move up the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
I’ll back the Heat to win their third game in a row and eighth game out of their last nine. Take the Heat +3.
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