NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Wizards-Magic, 3 Other Friday Games

NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Wizards-Magic, 3 Other Friday Games article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bradley Beal (3), D’Angelo Russell (1), Kemba Walker (15).

  • Our experts offer their favorite NBA betting picks for Friday's 10-game slate.
  • You'll find a number of intriguing betting angles, including historical trends, matchup analysis and why the Wizards should cover on the road.

There are 10 games on tap Friday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. That means there are plenty of betting opportunities in the marketplace.

Let’s dive into our experts’ five favorite wagers in the following games:

  • Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic: 7 p.m. ET
  • New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets: 8 p.m. ET
  • Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks: 8 p.m. ET

*All odds as of 5:00 p.m. ET


Rob Perez: Knicks +9 at Nets

Lets look at the factors in this one.

Rivalry game, plus pretty much every Knicks players being told they’re all on the trading block, plus Trier/Hardaway feud, plus Kanter stomping his feet about not playing, equals the Knicks showing up and playing the hardest they have all season.

Similar to the game vs. James Harden in MSG being their Super Bowl, every game for the next two weeks until the deadline is going to be these guys’ CAREERS.

They may suck, but I’ll take Game 7 effort from a bad team any day.


Matt Moore: Wizards +3.5 at Magic

Am I really doing this? Am I trusting the Wizards again? Why am I doing this? Why do I hate myself?

OK. Deep breath.

For starters, the Wizards are 19-21 since Nov. 1, 2018. They’ve pretty much floated at .500 since their 1-6 start to the year. They’re 6-4 in January, as John Wall’s absence does seem to have given them a little boost, as awkward as that is for the franchise.

Washington is 5-2 against the spread on the second night of a back-to-back, and Orlando is 4-7-1 as a favorite this season. The Magic are pesky, but this is too many points in what should be a pick ‘em.


Ken Barkley: Bucks -11.5 at Hornets

I realize you’re eating a huge number here, and that both of the games between the two teams have been close this season, but hear me out.

First, both meetings were in Charlotte, and the Hornets have some of the most polarizing home-road splits of any team in the NBA this season:

  • Home: 113.6 Offensive Rating | 107.2 Defensive Rating
  • Road: 109.8 Offensive Rating | 115.0 Defensive Rating

The Hornets have had two other road trips this season of three games or longer, and in both stretches the wheels completely fell off around this point, leading to atrocious defensive efforts and losses to teams like the Cavaliers.

This is the third game of their current road trip, and given those splits and Milwaukee’s strong recent play, I think this is a completely achievable number.

There are no fatigue issues for either team that should skew the result, and the only injury concern is Khris Middleton, but there has been no news yet indicating his status is in doubt. If it’s close I would bet he plays, as he’s trying to get an All-Star nod this year.


John Ewing: Rockets +3.5 vs. Raptors

Kawhi is expected to play tonight. As noted here, the Raptors have been awful ATS when he plays. The line has moved from Toronto -1.5 to -3 with the expectation that Kawhi makes his return.

Not only have the Raps struggled to cover with their superstar on the court, but it has been profitable to bet unpopular NBA teams when the line moves against them. Only 31% of spread tickets are on the Rockets at the time of writing (live odds here). I’m fading the public and betting Harden & Co. as home underdogs.


Bryan Mears: Over 230 in Hornets-Bucks

One of my favorite Bet Labs Pro Systems is one that identifies sharp money on over/under bets. In games where the difference between the over money and bet percentage is more than 10%, and the over/under has moved up at least a full point, the over has hit 54.7% of the time.

This is a particularly intriguing system because it identifies sharp money, the total moves in that direction and it still outperforms the closing number.

There’s a match tonight on Hornets-Bucks, which opened at 228.5 and sits at 230 currently. A whopping 71% of bets and 87% of money is on the over. I’ll keep riding this profitable system.