Friday’s NBA Experts Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Pacers vs. Pistons, Wizards vs. Heat

Friday’s NBA Experts Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Pacers vs. Pistons, Wizards vs. Heat article feature image

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3).

There are 10 games on the NBA schedule for Friday night and our experts are betting the total and spread in two specific matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons
  • 8 p.m. ET: Washington Wizards at Miami Heat

See what bets they’re making below.

Odds as of Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET

John Ewing: Pacers at Pistons

  • Spread: Pacers -2
  • Over/Under: 211.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

Overs bets have gone 153-163-3 (48%) so far this season. The Pacers and Pistons have been two of the better over teams combining to go 23-19-1 (55%). Indiana and Detroit play on Friday. The total for this matchup opened 213. More than 70% of tickets are on the over but the line has decreased to 211.5.

When the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages this is called reverse line movement (RLM) and is an indication of sharp action. It has been profitable to follow RLM unders when both teams playing have gone over the total in 50% or more of their games this season.

A $100 bettor following this strategy has returned a profit of $9,577 since 2005. The public is on the over, but sharp money is backing the under. I’ll play the same side as the pros and bet the under, too.

The PICK: Under 211.5
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

John Ewing is 507-447-19 (53.1%) overall betting on the NBA. You can follow him in our free app.

Brandon Anderson: Pacers at Pistons

Oh look, it’s our biweekly Pistons-Pacers matchup. Seriously, this is the fourth time this season these two will play and also the last time, barring something bizarre.

The Pacers should have lucked out from this very imbalanced scheduling with Blake Griffin injured early on and Detroit struggling, but the Pistons have won two of three matchups.

Those two wins came in the season opener and then one week later. Indiana started 0-3 and the sky was falling for the Pacers. Since then, Indiana has gone 14-4 and quietly become one of the better teams in the East, even without Victor Oladipo. Domantas Sabonis has dominated the Pistons in their matchups, and Indiana’s defense has rounded into form.

Detroit has lost nine of 13 and has yet to find its own defensive footing. This is simply a mismatch, and it’s not one that can be offset by home court advantage. Detroit will have Indiana’s attention because of the two early upsets. Look for the Pacers to show up and take care of business.

The PICK: Pacers -2
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Bryan Mears: Wizards at Heat

  • Spread: Heat -9.5
  • Over/Under: 231
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

Yesterday afternoon, in our NBA slack chat, I remarked about how excited I was to see the opening line for today’s Wizards-Heat game in Miami.

But then, well, the Wizards played awesome last night and not only covered against the 76ers but won outright despite missing starters Thomas Bryant and Isaiah Thomas. Rookie Rui Hachimura exploded for 27 points, and Davis Bertans continues to be a revelation off the bench, going 7-of-13 from beyond the arc last night to upset Philly.

That said … all of the reasons I was intrigued by Miami still exist. The Wizards are on a road back-to-back, and this will be three games in four nights. That’s probably a bigger deal come March than it is in December, but note that because of the injuries, these main Wiz guys are playing huge minutes. Hachimura has played more than 40 minutes twice since Tuesday; Bradley Beal has approached that as well.

The Wizards have traveled over twice the miles as the Heat have recently, and their main guys are playing huge minutes with huge workloads. This looks like a “schedule loss” if there ever was one.

That said … Goran Dragic is still out for the Heat, and this morning they announced that Justise Winslow is now questionable with a strained lower back. What was once the more deep and rested team might be pretty thin in the backcourt if Winslow can’t go.

Further, I’ve written a lot lately about how the Heat have been way overperforming due to their shooting luck both on offense and defense. That’s still true as well, but it also applies to the Wizards, who last night posted a stupid eFG% 81.8% on open shots. They didn’t get many admittedly, but that’s another issue on top of the shooting luck. All in all, I think it’s a wash.

So if we set home court as three points, do we think the Heat are six points better than this Magic roster? What about on the third game in four nights on a back-to-back with their main guys playing so many huge minutes?

I do if Winslow is playing and the Heat are at least semi-whole tonight. I’ll grab the Heat at anything in single digits, and I’ll likely take a piece of the Wizards team total under as well.

The PICK: Washington under 111 points (wouldn’t bet past the number)
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Bryan Mears is 392-306-10 (56.2%) overall betting on the NBA. You can follow him in our free app.

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