Moore’s Friday NBA Betting Picks & Angles: Is This Spurs Resurgence Real?
Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LaMarcus Aldridge (12) of the San Antonio Spurs.
Angles to play for Friday’s NBA slate based on matchups and trends…
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
CELTICS AT MAGIC (-1.5)
7 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: PLAYING TO LOW EXPECTATIONS
With Jayson Tatum out, this total is all the way down at 212.5. When the Magic are at home this season with a total below 215, the under is 13-5-1.
Orlando is the third-best team in the league at stifling scoring in the pick-and-roll, and Boston gets the largest chunk of its scoring from pick-and-roll. Without Tatum, the Celtics lose a tough shot-maker who can make something out of nothing. That really hurts vs. the Magic.
Orlando’s defense is sound and aggressive. The under is also 6-3 in Steve Clifford’s home matchups vs. Brad Stevens.
THE PLAY: Under 212.5
GRIZZLIES AT PISTONS (-1)
7 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: REGGIE JACKSON, BAYBEE
I know this sounds nuts. I don’t think much of Reggie Jackson as a point guard. But he seriously helps so much. The Pistons’ Net Rating has been better with Jackson on the floor in three of the last four seasons, and the Jackson-Andre Drummond minutes have been a net positive during that same stretch to a notable degree.
Giving Drummond a consistent point guard to play with makes a big difference for him.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, may have peaked. After they grabbed the 8-seed and a lot of positive attention, they were blown out in consecutive games by the Pelicans and Celtics. Both those teams are better than Detroit, but the big difference here is the benches.
Memphis is 17th in bench Net Rating this season; Detroit is 10th. That difference in a pretty close matchup with a tight line matters.
I’m playing the Reggie Jackson factor here, as I think this line should be closer to Pistons -3.5. Oh, one more thing: Memphis is 5-10 ATS vs. East teams this season.
THE PLAY: Pistons -1
CLIPPERS (-2.5) AT HEAT
8 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE ANGLE: Time to start fading Miami
I wrote this week about Miami’s various red flags when it comes to its ATS performance. The Heat have been overperforming all season, and it’s time for that to regress. This is a spot with Paul George out and Patrick Beverley doubtful, with Miami at home, where the sharps love them, however. The public is on the Clippers (51%); the money is on the Heat (56%).
The Heat are also dealing with injuries, as several players, including Jimmy Butler and Kendrick Nunn, are questionable.
I’m going to test the Heat theory. For starters, the Clippers’ perimeter length should bother the Heat’s cadre of outlier shooters. The Heat’s defense has fallen off a relative cliff, and they particularly struggle with guarding the pick-and-roll. Butler can give Kawhi Leonard a hard time, in so much as you can ever, but Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell should cook.
THE PLAY: Clippers -2.5 and Over 221
NUGGETS AT PELICANS (-4)
8 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: A MATCHUP NIGHTMARE
Denver at full strength struggles with this matchup. The Nuggets are now potentially down three starters (Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap), their backup center (Mason Plumlee) is out and Michael Porter Jr. is questionable. Harris may play in this one, but it’s no help; he’s not big enough to contest Brandon Ingram on the wing.
Zion Williamson should feast on Denver’s reserve power forwards, and Jrue Holiday will have a field day vs. the undersized Monte Morris. Nikola Jokic had issues last game with the bruising Derrick Favors.
The Pelicans won two of these meetings already — it’s just a bad matchup for the Nuggets, who are at the end of a short road trip just trying to stumble into the All-Star break.
THE PLAY: Pelicans -4, over 229.5
HAWKS AT THUNDER (-10)
8 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: TAIL MEARS
Read Bryan Mears on today’s matchup. I agree with all his analysis on this one.
SUNS AT SPURS (-4.5)
8:30 p.m. ET
THE PLAY: I ain’t buyin’ the Spurs
I don’t trust the progression the Spurs have made over the last month. It helps that LaMarcus Aldridge is bombing 3s and DeMar DeRozan has been playing terrific basketball. But neither of those things are sustainable, in my eyes.
Did you know that in the last seven games, amid DeRozan’s phenomenal hot streak, the Spurs have still been outscored with him on the court in five of the seven games? The Spurs are winning with their bench, which has been one of the best in the league over the last five years.
The Spurs are 2-0 vs. the Suns, but won both games by a combined four points. Now I’m laying close to two possessions with them?
I’m going contrarian here…
THE PLAY: Suns +4.5