NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Magic vs. 76ers, Jazz vs. Thunder and More (Friday, May 14)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Danny Green #14 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Time is ticking down on the NBA season as we head into the final weekend. But our analysts are still all over Friday’s eight game slate and they are getting creative with their picks.
Raheem Palmer and Brandon Anderson break down the games they are betting tonight, including why you should jump on a four-game parlay to close out the week.
NBA Odds & Picks
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have one win in their past 23 games. If you’re looking for what may potentially be the bad beat of the season, it’s their win total, which was set at 22.5 and they needed just two more wins to go over with 20 wins back on March 22.
Since then they’ve won just twice, suddenly morphing into the 2015-16 Sam Hinkie led Philadelphia 76ers. They’ve decided to bench their key players in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Al Horford and embrace the youth movement.
When you look at the past two weeks, this team is scoring just 97.6 points per 100 possessions and allowing 125.9 points per 100 possessions defensively. I’m not sure you can actually make their spreads high enough as they’ve lost by an average of 21 points over the past 24 games.
Even without Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz should have no problems taking care of business here as they look to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. With Lu Dort out of the lineup, the Thunder will also be missing their best player since they started resting their starters.
Mike Conley is questionable for tonight’s matchup, but even without Conley I believe this line is short. I typically don’t like to play spreads this high but my post All-Star break numbers, which are weighted towards more recent results, have the Jazz as a 23.24 point favorite. I believe there’s some value laying 14.5 points here.
Magic vs. 76ers | Nuggets vs. Pistons | Jazz vs. Thunder | Raptors vs. Mavericks
Brandon Anderson: This is a motivation and incentive parlay.
No one needs to tell you who the better teams are in any of these four games or which team should win if things end up normal.
But what makes this parlay worth betting is the huge incentive in each of these games, with four teams who badly want a win up against four teams actively trying to lose. Let’s run down the incentives quickly.
The 76ers clinch the No. 1 seed in the East with a win. The Jazz get one step closer to the top overall seed in the West with a win. A Mavericks win clinches a playoff berth for Dallas, meaning a guarantee of no play-in game, and it also puts the Mavs one win closer to clinching the No. 5 seed and a desirable first-round series against the Nuggets.
The Nuggets are the trickiest team here, because it makes sense that they might want to lose to remain in fourth. But without getting too far into the weeds, it makes more sense for Denver to win and keep its options open heading into a huge Sunday finale against the Portland Trail Blazers.
A win today puts Denver in position to potentially control not only its destiny on Sunday but also the destiny of the Blazers — and the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other side of the ball in each of those games are the Magic, Pistons, Thunder and Raptors.
The first three teams are trying desperately to lose and maximize their lottery chances. The Raptors don’t really need to lose, but aren’t playing their veterans, have lost five straight and gone just 10-23 since the All-Star break.
Parlaying four teams to win is typically a terrible idea, but when four teams so good are playing four so bad and the good teams all want to win while the bad ones want just end the season, everything lines up.
Parlaying these four heavy favorites gets close to a typical -110 line you’d bet on a normal side, and if there’s another bet you like a lot today and want to parlay some or all of these with that bet, that’s another way to play this edge too.
Make sure to shop around and find the best lines, and use our Markets tool to get the best match. Right now that’s at BetMGM at -149, implying a 59.8% chance of winning. I’d play as high as -180. Let’s get weird.