Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Grizzlies vs. Bulls, Magic vs. Raptors (Friday, April 16)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- It's Friday night in the NBA and that means our analysts had a lot a games to sort through to find a favorite bet.
- The two games they've landed on -- Magic vs. Raptors and Grizzlies vs. Bulls -- stand out above the rest in terms of betting value.
- They preview those two games, plus give their picks below.
We’ve got another huge Friday slate on our hands with 11 games on the schedule, including two huge national TV games on ESPN: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7 p.m. ET) and New York Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks (9:30 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are eyeing on two other Friday night matchups tonight and are betting one favorite against the spread and one moneyline dog.
Take a look their in-depth analysis and picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors
Brandon Anderson: Sigh.
I don’t want this to be over for the Toronto (Tampa?) Raptors. I really don’t. The Raps keep on losing and even after all those losses, they are still just one game behind the Chicago Bulls for that final play-in spot in the East. I find myself sucked back into Toronto over and over again.
But the truth is that this is nothing like the champion we once feared. Toronto has lost 17-of-22 games. That’s… not good. Let’s put that a different way. Over the last 22 games — almost a third of this season — the Toronto Raptors have played like a 19-win team over a full regular season. Woof.
But wait, it gets worse. Kyle Lowry is out Friday. Pascal Siakam is sitting. OG Anunoby is out. Newly acquired Gary Trent Jr. is out too. That’s four starters, and in case you forgot, we only start five in basketball. The only starter actually (presumably) playing is Fred VanVleet, and he’s playing for the first time in two weeks so it’s only reasonable to expect that he’ll be limited.
Toronto’s second-best player available is Chris Boucher. Third best might be rookie Malachi Flynn? Or maybe Khem Birch, the third-string center these Magic just cut? You know what, let’s just list out the other Raptors available for this game: Rodney Hood, Yuta Watanabe, Paul Watson, Stanley Johnson, Freddie Gillespie, and Aron Baynes. That’s it. That’s the team.
Of course, the problem is that the Orlando Magic have lost 19-of-24 themselves, somehow even worse than Toronto. The Magic aren’t exactly loaded. Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier are gone. Jon Isaac and Markelle Fultz are hurt. Goodbye entire starting lineup.
But the Magic at least have competent NBA players around like Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, Michael Carter-Williams, and James Ennis. Rookie Chuma Okeke has been really good lately. Wendell Carter Jr. is settling in nicely. Rookies Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton are showing something off the bench.
Look, these aren’t the Harlem Globetrotters, but we just listed off eight quality NBA players the Magic will roll out. I just can’t make the Raptors favorites here, not even against the Magic backups.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Chicago Bulls
Raheem Palmer: This marks the second time these two teams will meet this week as the Grizzlies defeated the Bulls at home 101-90 as 3-point favorites. In that game my model made the Grizzlies 4.5-point favorites at home in a game that featured Zach Lavine who has been by far the best player for the Bulls this season.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, Lavine is expected to miss several games after entering the COVID protocol. This loss looms large for the Bulls and their playoff chances as they were scoring 114.6 points per 100 possessions with Lavine on the floor compared to 105.7 with him off the floor this season (+8.9).
For a Bulls offense that ranks 15th among NBA teams, scoring 112.3 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass, I’m not sure how they recover. The Grizzlies are seventh in Defensive Rating, holding opposing teams to just 110.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes and they held the Bulls to just a 89.9 Offensive Rating.
The trade for Nikola Vucevic really hasn’t worked out well as expected for the Bulls so far. Since trading for Vucevic the Bulls are just 4-7 and have an Offensive Rating of 110.9, a Defensive Rating of 115.4 and a total Net Rating of -4.5. When Vucevic is on the floor, opposing teams are scoring a whopping 119.3 points per 100 possessions.
The eye test matches exactly what the numbers say as he was Barbecue chicken for Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas in Monday’s 101-90 loss. Valanciunas scored 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds. Valanciunas was a +21 on the game was a -19 and this appears to be a major matchup issue for the Bulls.
Overall, the Grizzlies are just the better team and had they not collapsed in their 114-113 loss against the Mavericks on Wednesday night, this line would likely be higher. I’ll lay the 3.5-points with the Grizzlies.