NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Friday’s Best Bets, Including Pacers vs. Nuggets, Grizzlies vs Lakers
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.
- We've got a stacked Friday night of NBA hoops with nine games on the slate.
- Our staff is betting five of those matchups, including Pacers vs. Nuggets.
- Find their best bets for Friday below.
It’s Friday once again and that means the NBA is in overdrive.
Tonight we’ve got nine games on the evening’s slate with a pair of really fun games that didn’t make the national TV doubleheader: Knicks vs. Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Warriors vs. Cavaliers (7:30 p.m. ET).
Our analysts are targeting five games on the slate for their best bets on Friday, including the two ESPN games. They have a diverse set of picks including player props and first quarter bet.
Check out their expert picks and predictions below.
NBA Odds & Picks
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Orlando Magic
Munaf Manji: The Pelicans head to Florida for a quick two-game road trip that starts with matchup against the Magic tonight.
The Magic are struggling to rebound the basketball, especially the over their past 10 games. According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Magic rank 27th in opponent rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Over the past two weeks, the Magic have allowed opposing centers to grab 15.3 rebounds per game.
Jonas Valanciunas has plenty of success rebounding the ball against the Magic. In his past six games against the Magic, Valanciunas has grabbed at least 15 rebounds in five, including a 24-rebound game.
Valanciunas has snagged 12 or more rebounds in three out of his past five games. I expect Valanciunas to continue dominating on the glass tonight against the Magic. FanDuel has the best odds on this line (Check out his prop at multiple books here) and I like this bet up to 12.5.
Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks
Chris Baker: The Mavericks should find some success against a Heat defense that struggles to defend the 3-point line. The Heat rank 29th in opponent 3-point rate allowed and 30th in opponent spot-up rate, according to Cleaning the Glass and NBA Advanced Stats. That is a recipe for disaster against a Mavericks offense that ranks second in 3-point rate and third in spot-up rate.
The Mavs prioritizes 3s and they should have no issues generating clean-looks against a Miami defense that prioritizes taking away shots at the rim. The Heat defense is heavily predicated on forcing turnovers, ranking second in the NBA in Turnover Rate on the year. Luka Doncic and the Mavericks just don’t turn the ball over often, ranking third in the NBA in Turnover Rate. The Heat are 3-12 ATS (20%) when facing an offense that ranks top-10 in Turnover rate.
On the flip side of the ball, the Heat rank seventh in 3-point attempt rate. The difference is that the Mavericks actually do a great job of defending the perimeter, ranking 10th in the NBA at limiting opponent 3s. That ranking could be misleading considering this defense has been missing some of their best defenders: Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Green. With Finney-Smith in the lineup and Christian Wood off the floor (as it will be tonight as Wood is out), the Mavericks rank in the 98th percentile of 3-point defense allowing opponents to take just 30.7% of their attempts from deep.
I think this line is cheap on the Mavericks because the books are massively over-valuing Wood. He has been solid, but he doesn’t even rank in the top-five of the most impactful Mavericks by Net-Rating swing. Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro are back for the Heat — this is the healthiest they have been in a while — but I think it will take some time for them to all get acclimated to playing together once again.
New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks
Jim Turvey: The Knicks are 27-18-1 against the first quarter spread while the Hawks are 20-25 ATS in the first quarter.
The full-game line has already moved a bit towards the Knicks after coming out at Atlanta -4. According to Action Pro signals, the Knicks have taken both the lion’s share of the money, as well as some sharp money as well.
When this line came out, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The Knicks will be without Mitchell Robinson for this game, who is their biggest on-off impact player this season, but the Hawks could also be dealing with key injuries, as Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic are both listed as questionable.
At full strength, the Knicks have simply been a much better team this season, and given that the Knicks are better on the road and that State Farm Arena is far from a fortress, I like the full-game spread as well.
But the most targeted spot is the first quarter, and being able to get plus money on the Knicks side makes it a hammer spot. I’d play this all the way to Knicks -120.
Indiana Pacers vs. Denver Nuggets
Turvey: If you are a bettor who enjoys the NBA quarter derivatives market, Friday is a glorious day for you. This is a bet I’ve had circled for days, if not weeks, in advance.
The Nuggets are the best team against the spread in the first quarter, with a 27-18 record (15.1 percent ROI), while the Pacers sit on the exact other end of the spectrum, 14-31-1 record in first quarters for a woeful -39.9 percent ROI. Both of these trends have lasted the entire season, and both teams were even on their same respective sides of the ledger dating back to last season as well.
That pairing of the best and worst alone is enough to make this a great spot, but there’s also the fact that this game is in Denver, where the Nuggets have been outstanding this season, and where their opponents have struggled mightily. In fact, road games in Denver has become a spot where teams will often look to surprise rest some players.
The Pacers are already without Tyrese Haliburton, and don’t be shocked if a few more names join him on the sideline Friday night instead of braving the high altitude Nuggets.
Even without any surprise scratches, though, this is a great spot, and one that is already on the move. If you follow me in the Action Network app (@TurveyBets) you will have already seen that I got this last night for about half a point cheaper than it is available right now, so if you like the angle, move quick.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The Grizzlies have been a dead-over team lately, but I think that changes tonight due to a few factors. One reason is that this line is just high for the Grizzlies who have the best Adjusted Defensive Rating (109.4), according to Dunks and Threes.
Both the Lakers and the Grizzlies play fast, which is why we’re getting such a high number, but they rank 12th and 13th in Offensive Possession length respectively.
Another reason I like this under is how the Lakers have been playing lately. While they’ve generally been a pace-up team, that hasn’t been the case in the past five games, where they’re middle-of-the-pack. The Lakers are just 15th in Pace in their last five games (99.4), according to NBA Advanced Stats, and their Offensive Rating ranks 20th (113.8).
The Lakers’ slow play and lack of efficient offense has shown up in the betting trends too. The total has gone under in four of the past five Lakers games and a whopping 12 of the last 15 against the Grizzlies.
Take the under down to 241.5