Friday’s NBA Expert Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Heat vs. Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) flexes for the fans at Staples Center.
Friday’s slate is packed with 11 games highlighted by the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers facing off at Staples Center.
Our NBA crew details how they are betting tonight’s slate with picks on three specific games:
- 7 p.m. ET: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic
- 7 p.m. ET: Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers
- 10:30 p.m. ET: Miami Heat at LA Lakers
Brandon Anderson: Pacers at Pistons
- Spread: Pacers -7
- Over/Under: 210
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
If it feels like the Pistons and Pacers play once a week, it’s because they basically have at this point. This is already the third meeting between these two teams.
That should have been a big advantage for the Pacers with Pistons forward Blake Griffin out this first month, but instead, Detroit won each of the first two meetings.
Griffin is still out, and he is joined by what feels like half of each roster. The Pistons are also missing Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose, and Tim Frazier, while the Pacers will be short Jeremy Lamb and Goga Bitadze.
Myles Turner is questionable with an ankle injury that has hampered him since the end of October and, of course, Victor Oladipo is still sidelined.
Add it all up and you get a real mess of a game. Andre Drummond will be the best player on the court, and he averaged 25 points and 20 rebounds the first two matchups — and that was with Turner on the court.
This should be a slugfest, but look for Detroit to keep it close throughout, if not win outright, as Drummond continues his awesome start.
The PICK: Pistons +7
Bryan Mears: Grizzlies at Magic
- Spread: Magic -7.5
- Over/Under: 209
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
I’ve been buying the Magic offense improving lately, and they did a bit the other night, shooting 48% from the field against the Magic. There’s a bit more room, too, as they shot just 6-of-24 from beyond the arc in that one. They’re definitely primed for 3-point shooting regression, as I’ve detailed a lot lately.
They’ll have open looks tonight against the Grizzlies, who have allowed wide-open 3-pointers at a top-10 rate this season. Opponents haven’t hit them, however, shooting 30.4% on those attempts — the third-lowest mark in the league. If there was a time to get right shooting for the Magic, it’s tonight.
But perhaps more importantly, the Grizzlies are just playing at a super-fast pace. They’re currently fifth with 109.2 possessions per game, and they’re the second-fastest team pushing off missed shots. That latter point is important, as I think they can speed up the slow-moving Magic.
Neither of these teams are good in halfcourt offensive sets, both ranking in the bottom-five in efficiency. The Grizzlies have allowed transition opportunities at the sixth-highest rate, and the Magic have the personnel to run in theory.
They haven’t done that yet, and maybe that’s just how Steve Clifford wants them to operate, but they definitely should push with Markelle Fultz starting alongside athletic, fast wings in Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac.
I could be wrong on that, but I just think this total is a bit low. The Magic had a 207.5 total against the Mavs and a 201 mark against the Thunder, both of whom are incredibly slow and like to operate in the halfcourt. Against one of the fastest teams in the league, this is still under 210? I’ll take a chance again on the Magic finding more success on offense, especially against this Grizz team.
The PICK: Over 209 (I wouldn’t bet past 209.5)
John Ewing: Heat at Lakers
- Spread: Lakers -8.5
- Over/Under: 217
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
The Heat are playing well having won six of their first eight games, but Friday’s matchup against the Lakers is the second night of a back-to-back on the road. This looks like a great spot to fade Miami, but history suggests this is a buy-low opportunity.
Since 2004, it has been profitable to bet teams playing consecutive games as long as they meet two criteria: the game is on the road and it takes place early in the season.
This scenario has been profitable because home court advantage is overrated and early in the season teams are fresh and less likely to be fatigued by a back-to-back.
A $100 bettor following this strategy has returned a profit of $5,902 since 2004.
Only 35% of spread tickets are on the Heat +8.5. It is easy to understand why bettors would shy away from Miami, but this is a great contrarian spot to back the Heat.
The PICK: Heat +8.5