Friday NBA Betting Odds & Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for Spurs vs. Jazz, Hornets vs. Trail Blazers

Friday NBA Betting Odds & Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for Spurs vs. Jazz, Hornets vs. Trail Blazers article feature image
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Ronald Cortes/Getty Images. Pictured: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets.

  • We have another busy night on the NBA schedule, with several intriguing games on the docket.
  • Analysts Brandon Anderson, Raheem Palmer and Kenny Ducey unveil their top picks.
  • Check out below where they've landed for matchups featuring Spurs vs. Jazz and Hornets vs. Trail Blazers

Hello again, Friday.

It’s been a hectic week in the NBA and the hits keep coming across the league as players continue to be put into health and safety protocols. There are already key absences impacting tonight’s two national TV matchups: Warriors vs. Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Lakers vs. Timberwolves (10 p.m. ET). Be sure to check our FantasyLabs Newsfeed for the latest injury updates.

As far as tonight’s top bets, our crew is looking at two under-the-radar games and have bets on one prop, one spread and one total. Check out their analysis of those matchups and best bets for Friday night below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Spurs vs. Jazz Prop
9 p.m. ET
Hornets vs. Trail Blazers Spread
10 p.m. ET
Hornets vs. Trail Blazers Total
10 p.m. ET

San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

Pick
Keldon Johnson Over 18.5 PTS + REB (-115)
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
9 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: Keldon Johnson was a popular breakout candidate for the Spurs this season, and it makes sense. The guy did win an Olympic gold medal this summer after all, and it was reasonable to expect him to breakout after that experience.

Instead, it’s Dejounte Murray who has broken out for San Antonio, while Johnson’s numbers have stagnated a bit. He’s only had six games of 20 or more points, and the hustle rebounds he was racking up last season have waned a bit. Murray is probably stealing some of that production in both cases.

But this line has dropped too low, and that makes Johnson a value play here. There’s also a tiny glitch in the numbers leaving us some value. Johnson missed a game a week ago, and he also played his two season-low minutes games just before and after that game missed.

If you throw out those two games, Johnson is averaging 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on the season. That’s 21.4 points + rebounds, and it’s a decent margin above this combo 18.5 line. Sure enough, Keldon has gone over that line in 17 of the remaining 24 games, hitting the over 71% of the time. And we’re projecting him at his usual 32 minutes tonight, so the volume should be there.

I’ll back the Olympian to take care of business like usual tonight. He may not be a breakout star, but he can win us some money anyway. I’ll play to -140.


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Charlotte Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Pick
Trail Blazers -2.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: The Blazers have lost seven games in a row and find themselves in an ideal spot hosting the Charlotte Hornets who may be one of the few teams in the NBA with a defense worse than their own. The Hornets are allowing opposing teams to score a whopping 124.5 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, dead last among NBA teams.

The Blazers have struggled on both ends of the floor recently but much of that has to do with the absence of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard who missed the first four games of this seven-game losing streak. With Lillard out of the lineup, they’ve lost those four games by an average of 20.25 points per game while their last three losses against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies saw the Blazers blowing fourth quarter leads.

I think the Blazers are in a prime spot to bounce back here as the Hornets are 26th in frequency of shots allowed at the rim. That is an area where the Blazers are shooting 34% of their field goal attempts, seventh among NBA teams.

The Hornets also allow the seventh-highest frequency of 3-point field goal attempts (39.4%) and with the Blazers taking the eighth-highest percentage of 3-point attempts (39.7%), we can expect the Portland to get opportunities to score from the two most efficient areas of the floor.

The public is all over the Hornets in this spot but I’ll lay the -2.5 on the Blazers.


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Charlotte Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Pick
Over 230
Book
DraftKings

Kenny Ducey: The Hornets have had a tumultuous winter so far, losing just about everyone on their team to injury or the health and safety protocols. Friday will mark the first time in a long time they are fully-staffed, welcoming LaMelo Ball back into the lineup.

With Ball, this is a different team. Sure, you can focus on the six-point swing in Net Rating, but I’m eyeing the pace, which has been 99.82 without Ball on the floor this season and 102.99 with him. Charlotte has been an over machine this season due to its poor defense and up-tempo offense, but without Ball pushing the ball up the floor it’s been a little more complicated.

Both of these teams rank in the bottom eight of the league in defensive efficiency over the last 10 games with the Hornets coming in dead last with a ridiculous 124.2 points against them per 100 possessions. That’s right in line with what we’ve seen for the majority of the season, considering Portland ranks 27th in defensive rating and Charlotte 30th.

While Charlotte’s offense will get a shot in the arm, Portland’s should be rolling with Norm Powell filling in admirably for C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic getting whatever he wants against a soft frontcourt. This is a high number but it is certainly attainable for these awful defenses.


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