Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Raptors vs. Hornets, Mavericks vs. Jazz, More
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.
- We've got nine NBA games on the schedule Friday night and three picks from our betting experts.
- They are eyeing three games: Raptors-Hornets, Spurs-Wizards and Mavericks-Jazz.
- Check out their analysis and picks for tonight's matchups.
It's Friday, which means a ton of NBA games to bet as we head into the weekend. With teams still getting back into the groove after the week-long break, there's definitely an edge to be found — either in teams motivated for the stretch run or those still nursing an All-Star hangover.
Our NBA analysts are eyeing three games on tonight's slate of nine games and they are breaking down those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets
Raheem Palmer: The Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors are two teams headed in completely different directions. The Hornets have lost nine of their past 10 games headed into the All-Star break with their only win coming against the Detroit Pistons who are one of the worst teams in the league. Meanwhile the Raptors are cooking with hot fire, winning nine out of their last 11 games.
As I’ve stated last week, a big part of the Hornets recent struggles is the loss of Gordon Hayward who is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Hayward is one of the team’s best scorers and playmakers. The 16.1 points, 3.6 assists per game and On/Off +/- of +1.7 doesn’t do justice to the true impact Hayward has on this team as they're just 3-9 without him this season with an Offensive Rating of just 113.2.
Over the past two weeks the Hornets are scoring just 110.4 points per 100 possessions — 25th among NBA teams — so they are struggling to score efficiently. The Hornets also can’t stop a nosebleed, ranking 20th in Defensive Rating, allowing opposing teams to score 112.5 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes per Cleaning the Glass.
The Raptors have a huge edge in transition against a Hornets team that is just 15th in transition defense, an area where the Raptors are sixth at 3.5 points per 100 possessions. The Hornets struggle to defend the perimeter allowing the fourth-highest frequency of 3-point field goals while ranking 21st in 3-point field goal percentage. Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr are both shooting 40% from 3-point range so expect them to have big nights in this spot.
The Raptors also have a huge rebounding advantage as they’re the second-best Offensive Rebounding team in the league (30.9%) facing a Hornets team that ranks 23rd in Defensive Rebound Rate (27.5%).
In the event the Hornets do get stops, they’re going to struggle to end possessions against the Raptors who rank third in generating points on putbacks and second in points generated by offensive rebounds. The Hornets rank 26th and 25th in these areas respectively.
The Raptors have had the Hornets number winning four out of their last five matchups including two games this season with the Raptors winning 116-101 on Feb. 7 and 125-113 on Jan. 25. In both matchups the Raptors had no issues scoring and I don’t expect that to change here. Lay the 2 points with the Raptors up to -3.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards
Austin Wang: The Spurs are in the middle of their annual "Rodeo Road Trip". The city of San Antonio hosts their livestock show and rodeo and the Spurs are forced to embark on a three-week road trip. Yee-haw!
They've already played five consecutive games on the road and have three more to go, so the All-Star Break in the middle was a perfect chance for them to recharge their batteries.
They will be led by Dejounte Murray, who is having a career year and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Jakob Poeltl has been a solid, consistent anchor in the middle and remains one of the most underrated big men in the league.
The Spurs are not favored too often, but when they are, they have performed well. They are 11-6-1 ATS as a favorite.
Spurs still have a chance to snag a Play-In spot. They are 11th in the West and with the Trail Blazers and Lakers trending downwards, this is a great opportunity for the Spurs to make one final push.
On the other hand, don't let the Wizards' better record fool you. They started off the season well but are 4-17 ATS in their last 21 games. Bradley Beal is out, newly acquired Kristaps Porzingis is still recovering from an injury and their roster just does not have the firepower to keep up with the high-scoring Spurs.
I like Spurs in tonight's matchup, but I want to highlight a specific angle: the Spurs are the best team ATS in the first quarter. They are 37-20 ATS in the 1st quarter and 20-9 ATS on the road in the first quarter. The Wizards have a habit of getting off to a slow start. I'll take the Spurs 1Q -1.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz
Brandon Anderson: As we hit the home stretch of the NBA season, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are the favorites to lead the league in scoring with old man LeBron hot on their tail, but I think Luka Doncic is a really intriguing sleeper. I made the case for Doncic here and he's still available for +1000.
One of the reasons Luka is scoring so much lately is because his 3-point shots are finally going down. Over the past 15 games, he's suddenly scoring 33.3 points per game, and his 3-point percentage has skyrocketed to 41%, up from 28% over his first 29 games. He's up to 9.1 attempts during that span and averaging 3.7 makes per game, and he's hit at least four 3s in nine of those games, hitting this over 60% of the time.
Doncic has at least four 3s in eight of his last 12 games (67%), and he hit at least five in five of those games (42%). He had at least five makes in four of five games heading into the break, including an absolute point explosion in the four games since the Kristaps Porzingis trade. He's averaged 41.5 PPG in those four games and look at that massive 3-point volume: 5.5 makes per game on 12.0 attempts.
We're getting four-plus makes at +184, an implied 35% hit rate, and he's almost double that over the last 12 games. Five makes plays at +470, an implied 18%, and Doncic is more than double that hit rate recently and averaging more than that number since the Porzingis trade.
The Jazz have a good defense but are around average against opponent 3s without a ton of perimeter defense and with Rudy Gobert playing drop coverage.
Without Porzingis, the Mavs are playing more heliocentric than ever. Luka should keep getting those shots up, and I'll play this escalator prop for both four-plus and five-plus makes with plus juice heavily in our favor.