Friday’s NBA Best Bets: Our Staff’s Picks for Heat vs. Bulls, Rockets vs. Jazz (March 12)

Friday’s NBA Best Bets: Our Staff’s Picks for Heat vs. Bulls, Rockets vs. Jazz (March 12) article feature image
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Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.

  • There are seven games on the NBA schedule tonight, including two on national TV.
  • Our experts are focused on the lines in the Heat-Bulls and Jazz-Rockets games.
  • Continue reading for our best bets for the night.

While College basketball is starting to inch closer towards peak madness, the NBA is still trucking along with seven games scheduled for Friday night.

Among the matchups to watch are two national TV games: Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8 p.m. ET) and Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET).

Our NBA analysts are betting two other matchups on Friday and have found one moneyline bet and one spread with value. You can check out their analysis and picks below.

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NBA Odds & Picks

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Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls
9 p.m. ET
Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz
10 p.m. ET

Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

Pick
Heat ML (FanDuel)
Tipoff
9 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: The Miami Heat are one of the teams I planned on betting during the second half of the season. Despite starting the season 19-18, the Heat are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are starting to build some momentum after suffering from injuries and COVID-19 protocol absences to Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley.

In addition, this team has really had some bad luck shooting the basketball. Heat shooters have seen their 3-point shooting percentages plummet from last season, with Tyler Herro going from 38.9% to 35.2%, Duncan Robinson going from 44.6% to 39.2%, Kelly Olynyk going from 40% to 31.6% and Butler going from 24% to 21%.

As a whole, the Heat are shooting just 35.6% from behind the arc, 23rd among NBA teams. I expect this to regress during the second half of the season, and when it does, this team will make a run.

The Heat will be without Bam Adebayo for this matchup, but they have enough to win this game without him. The Bulls rank 18th in allowing points at the rim (63.8%), an area where the Heat are the best in the league shooting a whopping 70.4%.

The Bulls can score, but defensively they rank just 24th in effeciency, allowing 114.1 points per 100 possessions. What does it say about this team that they allowed 127 points on 1.25 points per possession to a 76ers team without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?

While the Heat were a team I wanted to play on during the second half of the season, the Bulls were a team wanted to fade because they face the fifth-toughest schedule in the league.

My model isn’t properly capturing how good this Heat team is playing based on their first half numbers, but I’m going to jump ahead of it and make a play on moneyline. I believe they have greater than a 56% chance of winning this matchup and I’d bet this up to -150.


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Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz

Pick
Jazz -16.5 (FanDuel)
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: Do you remember what you were doing on Feb. 4? The Houston Rockets do. That was the last day they won a basketball game.

The Rockets have lost 14 games since, and they’re usually not even close. Houston has lost those games by a cumulative total of 250 points, which means this terrible team is losing by 17.9 points over the past month plus.

Just three of those losses came by single digits. Three more came by 11, 11, and 12 points. The other eight losses? All by 20 points or more. And somehow things are even worse off the court.

Now there’s the P.J. Tucker drama, and it looks like Tucker is the latest Rocket to play his last game and wait for a trade exit. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Victor Oladipo is next. He’s questionable tonight along with John Wall, while Eric Gordon is still out and Christian Wood is nowhere to be found.

Quick, name three Rockets who WILL be playing tonight. If you came up with Kevin Porter Jr., Jae’Saen Tate, and Justin Patton, you’re a winner!

The team on the other side of this matchup has three All Stars — Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Mike Conley — along with likely Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson, his just-as-good sixth-man teammate Joe Ingles, and a bunch of other guys who have been absolutely wrecking teams over the past two months.

Sure, the Jazz slowed down a bit over the last week before the break, but come on, these Rockets are a G League team. In this two-month molten lava stretch, the Jazz have won and covered by this high of a line 11 different times already. That’s nearly half of Utah’s games over that stretch, and I’m ready for another one.

Grab this one quick, because the line is rising quickly and will only rise more once Wall and Oladipo are inevitably ruled out. They can’t make this line high enough. I bet this at -15.5, but would play anything under 20 and hope to avoid the back door.

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