Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Thunder vs. Suns, Lakers vs. Kings (April 2)
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Montrezl Harrell #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Don't know what NBA games to bet on this loaded Friday slate? We've got you covered.
- Our analysts are betting two matchups out West tonight: Thunder vs. Suns and Lakers vs. Kings.
- Read below for their full analysis and picks.
Well hello, Friday.
This weekend will be all about hoops with the Final Four on Saturday and a marquee NBA matchup between both Los Angeles teams on Sunday at Staples Center.
But before we get there, we’ve got a loaded slate of games to bet tonight, including two fun matchups on NBA TV: Mavericks vs. Knicks (7:30 p.m.) and Bucks vs. Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts walk you through their favorite bets for tonight’s action featuring a moneyline pick on a road underdog, and a play on the under in one of tonight’s late matchups.
You can check out their in-depth analysis for each game below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns
Raheem Palmer: The Oklahoma City Thunder scored 113 points (1.17 points per possession) in Wednesday night’s win over the Toronto Raptors. It was the team’s best offensive output all week and a clear aberration given that it came without the services of Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Lu Dot, Darius Bazely, Mike Muscala, Al Horford and Ty Jerome who are all expected to miss tonight’s game as well.
If you read my column Wednesday, you’re aware that I had wagers on the under, which hit despite the Thunder’s strong offensive performance against a Raptors team that has allowed 116.8 points per 100 over the past two weeks.
Things won’t be as easy for the Thunder Friday against the Suns who rank fifth in Defensive Rating, allowing just 109.1 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
The Thunder are shooting 39% of their field goals from behind the arc and making just 35.7% of them, which ranks 22nd in the NBA. That doesn’t bode well against a Suns defense that ranks second in 3-point percentage allowed (34.6%).
The Thunder struggle to score at the rim, where they rank 26th among NBA teams, shooting just 60.4%. I’m just not expecting another solid offensive performance from the Thunder, but the Suns should have no problems scoring on their end.
Still, with Chris Paul at the helm, the Suns play the fifth-slowest pace in the league (97.90 possession per game), which should suppress the offensive output of both teams. The last time these two teams played, they combined to score just 199 points in a game with exactly 100 possessions.
I’m expecting a similar outcome and I’ll take the under 221 with my projections making this game 216.5.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings
Brandon Anderson: Have you seen the Lakers upcoming schedule?
This game in Sacramento kicks off a seven-game road trip that includes games against the Clippers, Heat, Nets, and Knicks, followed by a rivalry game with the Celtics and then consecutive series against the Jazz and Mavericks.
The Lakers are fifth in the West entering Friday, and they’re currently just a half a game ahead of the sixth place, with the Mavericks closing fast. Dallas could potentially catch and pass the Lakers in that upcoming duplex series the way things are heading, and dropping into seventh place (or worse) could mean a play-in game for the reigning champs in late May.
The point is that the Lakers really need to find a way to win a game like this one against the always beatable Kings. No, I didn’t forget LeBron James and Anthony Davis are in street clothes. And heavens no, I’m not worried about Andre Drummond’s absence.
Here’s what I know: The Lakers are still first in Defensive Rating and the Kings rank last. LA definitely isn’t scoring as well without James and Davis, but playing against a the worst defense in the league sure helps. I trust the Lakers to defend well enough, even without the superstars, to give them a shot in this game.
These teams played less than a month ago, and James and Davis missed that one too. The Kings won by three, but needed seven 3s from Buddy Hield to hold off the Lakers.
The Kings have won a few more games than usual lately, but do they have any impressive wins or is this just random variance? This doesn’t feel too far from a coin flip to me.
I’ll play the underdog and trust the defensive metrics here to give us a chance.
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