NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Hawks vs. Raptors, Pelicans vs. Kings and More (April 5)
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
After a quiet Monday with no NBA games on the schedule, the pros are back for a loaded Tuesday slate featuring 12 games. There is at least one must-win matchup on the slate (Lakers vs. Suns) and two others that are important for playoff seeding (Bucks vs. Bulls and Grizzlies vs. Jazz).
But with so many games on the slate, our experts were able to find three more games with worthwhile bets. You can check out their analysis and picks for those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors
Kenny Ducey: It’s pretty funny that even in a game where both teams technically need to win, we still can’t certainly say this game means a lot to the Hawks. With four games to make up between them and the Raptors for the sixth playoff spot, it’s all but a guarantee that Atlanta will wind up in the play-in tournament.
Regardless, based on their recent games, it seems the Hawks are a team worth believing in at the moment even if their late-season push is ultimately futile. With five straight wins against the spread, including an outright win as an underdog to Brooklyn, the Hawks are officially the hottest team in the NBA over the last week and a half. Their offense has finally exploded once more, ranking atop the league with a 126.6 efficiency rating, while their defense has been average (this is good considering what we’ve seen at times during the season).
While Toronto’s defense reigns supreme over the same span, most of that has been due to the fact that it has allowed just 33.9% shooting from three. Variance should kick in here, and it should be helped by the fact that the Hawks have shot a blistering 41.4% from deep over their five-game ATS winning streak. The margins here are slimmer than this line would say.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Brandon Anderson: The Oklahoma City Thunder are 4.5-point favorites tonight.
Any guesses as to the last time that happened? It’s been a minute. The Thunder have been favored only three times all this season, and never by that much. They were favored only twice all last season, but never by 4.5 points.
No, this is the most the Thunder have been favored by since Aug. 9, 2020, back in the bubble — back when Chris Paul was still wearing OKC orange and blue and the Thunder were still a playoff team. Yes, it’s been a minute.
But should Oklahoma City really be such a heavy favorite? The Thunder have won exactly three of their last 16 games. Their starting lineup last game featured Theo Maledon, Aaron Wiggins, Vit Krejci, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Isaiah Roby, with Jaylen Hoard, Lindy Waters, and Olivier Sarr playing big roles off the bench. There might be only one or two actual NBA players on that list a few years from now.
One of those three recent OKC wins came over these Blazers, who aren’t exactly sporting a winning lineup of their own these days, but it took 44% shooting on 3s by Oklahoma City just to eke out a three-point win that game.
The Blazers are just as bad as the Thunder, but are we sure the Thunder should be favored here? Oklahoma City has much more incentive to lose. Right now, the Thunder are safely among the bottom four draft picks and guaranteed to pick 7th at worst, with as good of odds at the No. 1 pick as any team. But win another couple games this week and this entire season of losing goes awry.
Portland has a full game buffer in either direction and far less at stake. The Blazers don’t really care if they win or lose tonight — but the Thunder should want to lose. With three road games left against the Jazz and both LA teams, a loss tonight basically clinches OKC’s tanking goal for the year.
It will be ugly. I probably won’t watch. But at +160, the Blazers have an implied 38% chance of victory, and that feels silly in what should be a coin flip scrimmage game at best. I’ll take my chances and bet on OKC motivations.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings
Anderson: Bonus bet! If you’ve been following along over the last couple weeks, this one should look familiar. But as the old saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Allow me to catch you up. The Kings are losing yet again. The Kings have been in Sacramento for 37 seasons. For eight of those years, they finished over .500 and made the playoffs under Rick Adelman but won only five playoff series during that stretch and eventually fired Adelman for not winning enough. And in the other 29 seasons in Sacramento, the Kings have finished under .500 every single time. Oops.
This year’s Kings were not any better. At 29-50, the season is long gone even with the expanded postseason, which is why De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been watching from the sidelines for weeks already. That means yet again the Kings are tanking late in the season, developing young prospects, and looking to the future.
And that brings us back to Davion Mitchell. Over the last eight games, Mitchell moved into the starting lineup and is seeing massive minutes and usage. He’s playing over 40 minutes a game and averaging an impressive 19.0 points and 7.9 assists. The problem is that all that all the extra usage and time on the ball has also consistently led to turnovers, a typical problem for a rookie point guard trying to do everything.
Mitchell is averaging 3.8 turnovers per game during this stretch, including games of 4, 4, 4, 5, and 7. He’s gone over 2.5 turnovers in six of the eight games, and the Pelicans are making a strong postseason push and playing tough defense so they should be able to force a few more mistakes again tonight. I’ll keep playing Mitchell’s turnovers over until he proves otherwise.
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