NBA Expert Betting Picks (Friday, Feb. 7): Our Favorite Bets for Rockets vs. Suns, Trail Blazers vs. Jazz

Credit:

Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard (0) of the Portland Trail Blazers.

There are eight games on Friday’s NBA schedule and our experts are betting on three specific matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers
  • 9 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns
  • 10:30 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz

See the bets they’re making below.


Odds as of Friday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


John Ewing: Grizzlies at 76ers

  • Spread: 76ers -5.5
  • Over/Under: 222.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Grizzlies-Sixers total opened 222 and has quickly been bet up to 223.5. Sharps are responsible for the line movement.

We know this because 79% of tickets were on the over, which accounted for 97% of all dollars wagered on the total at the time of writing. When there is a higher percentage of dollars than tickets on a bet it is an indication of professional action.

Historically, it has been profitable to follow such line movement.


Since 2015, when we began tracking dollar percentages, bettors following this system have gone 336-265-7 (56%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit $5,369.

Pros don’t always win but being on the same side as the smart money is a profitable long term strategy.

The PICK:Over 222.5

Matt Moore: Rockets at Suns

  • Spread: Rockets -2.5
  • Over/Under: 235
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

Follow my magic logic train.

The Rockets are now exclusively a small-ball team. As such, their defense has to try three times as hard, to make up for the absence of a big man. They are on the second leg of a back-to-back with Russell Westbrook resting. The line accounts for all this, which is why it’s so short.

The Rockets’ defense may be improved in certain situations with Robert Covington (who was awesome against the Lakers), but the effort level necessary is really high. On top of it, Harden’s been a little shaky in the last month.

Since Jan. 7, Harden has shot over 50% from the field just once. Westbrook, conversely, has been incredible offensively in that span.

However, I’m staying away from the side. With DeAndre Ayton down low, a more physical presence than Anthony Davis — yes, I’m serious — and with the Rockets missing more shots, I think the Suns push the pace and get easy buckets vs. a tired team coming off an emotional win.

Houston has the fifth-worst defense this season after they miss shots per 100 possessions, and Phoenix is 13th in scoring off opponent misses. They are also fifth in pace after opponent misses. They cram the ball down the opponent’s throat off misses.

I lean towards the Suns at least being close to a moneyline win here, and in Houston losses, they give up 120 per game this season. The Suns’ team total is 116, and l like the over.

The PICK: Lean Suns ML +110 | Suns team total over 116

Wob: Rockets at Suns

First of all, props to Mike D’Antoni for continuing to revolutionize the game. His experiment of sending out PJ Tucker to play center somehow worked.

D’Antoni’s 8 seconds-or-less offense in Phoenix evolved into the ‘pace and space’ tactics used throughout the league today, his 4-out 1-in set with the Knicks started the three ball revolution (made popular by Mike Woodson once he took over), and now he’s got Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig protecting the rim for the sole reason that three points are worth more than two.

The strategy is 2-0 thus far, but it hasn’t been tested during a road back-to-back yet. Westbrook, who has resurrected like basketball Godzilla after getting bodied by Ghidorah, sits out almost every back-to-back and was already doubtful going into the game last night against the Lakers before ultimately grinding through his injury.

The Suns don’t have a clean bill of health either, but they’re catching points in a prime spot for a letdown here. The Rockets’ system requires such extreme effort for success, as the pace of play is through the roof, and at some point they are going to fall victim to the gauntlet of the NBA schedule. I believe that night is tonight.

The PICK: Suns +2.5

Brandon Anderson: Trail Blazers at Jazz

  • Spread: Trail Blazers +10
  • Over/Under: 227.5
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

This is a bit of a shocking line to anyone who only watched basketball for the last two or so weeks. Damian Lillard has been hot molten lava, routinely pouring in 40 or 50 points a night, and the Blazers look like a real playoff contender again.

Meanwhile the once-hot Jazz have fallen to pieces. They’ve lost five straight games, every one of them as a clear favorite, and even bottomed out with a three-point loss to the mega-short-handed Nuggets Wednesday night.

One of those Jazz losses was a 17-point blowout in Portland Saturday in which Dame dropped a casual 51 points. Tonight Lillard only has to keep it within single digits to win your bet. I like those odds.

The PICK: Blazers +10

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