NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Jazz vs. Heat and Kings vs. Pistons (Friday, Feb. 26)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: De’Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings.
Friday night’s NBA slate is loaded with nine fun matchups anchored by two national TV games: Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are making picks from two games on tonight’s slate and have found one total, one spread with value. You can find their analysis and bets on those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat
Brandon Anderson: About two months ago, the Utah Jazz visited New York and got upset by the Knicks, 112-100. No one thought much of it at the time; the Jazz fell to 4-4, but it was the second game of a back-to-back, and there were a few other things happening in the country that day.
Since that loss, the Jazz are 22-2 and have covered in 21 of those games. The two losses in there came on the road against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers, two teams they’ve also beaten during this same stretch. Utah also has wins over the Lakers, 76ers, and Bucks (twice) in this run, all of them by double digits. In their past 24 games, Utah has won by double digits 20 times. Suffice to say, the Jazz are really good.
We’re not totally sure if they Heat are good yet, though. They’re getting their rhythm now that Jimmy Butler is back, winning eight of their past 11. This core just made the NBA Finals, and they love playing the underdog role. No one will bat an eye if the Heat battle the Jazz hard and maybe even win. This is the exact sort of game the Jazz have lost — against a veteran, battle-tested team playing at home and up for the challenge.
I don’t care.
I’m taking the Jazz until it’s clear I shouldn’t anymore, and it’s not clear yet. That’s especially true since Bam Adebayo is questionable with a knee injury. If Adebayo doesn’t play or isn’t his usual self, this feels like another double-digit laugher. Even if he does, I don’t like this matchup for Miami.
The Heat allow more 3-point attempts than any team in the NBA and if almost feels like the Jazz haven’t missed a 3-pointer since like 2020. I don’t trust Miami to score on this Jazz defense as much as the Heat have struggled to find consistent offense.
Picking the Jazz feels boring, but winning bets is never boring.
Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons
Raheem Palmer: Have you seen this Sacramento Kings defense recently? The Kings are dead last in Defensive Rating giving up a whopping 119.8 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Looking deeper into the Kings’ defensive metrics, they are giving up 67.2% at the rim and 40.1% from behind the arc, these figures rank 26th and 29th among NBA teams.
If you can’t stop teams in the most efficient areas of the floor, you simply aren’t going to have a good defense. The Kings have lost nine straight games and during this stretch they’ve given up 123.6 points per 100 possessions.
The Kings play at the ninth fastest Pace in the league, clocking in at 101.11 possessions per game. When you combine their abysmal defense with a fast pace, you’re going to see games fly over the total, which they’ve done in eight straight games.
According to Bet Labs, the Kings have been the third-most profitable team when betting the over, going 21-10-1 this season. I’m having trouble believing that stops here even against the Pistons who score 108.3 points per 100 possessions this season.
The Pistons are just 16-16 to the over this season and are in the bottom 10 in scoring at every area of the floor, however they’ve proven they can score against bad defenses.
They’ve scored 123 and 118 in their games against the Pelicans and 122 against the Nets. The Kings are a bad defense so we should see a higher offensive output from the Pistons here.
My projections make this game 230 and although I grabbed this at 225.5, I would bet the over up to 229.