NBA Picks Today: Odds, Predictions for Thunder vs. Warriors on Tuesday, April 4
Ian Maule/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylin Williams
- Tonight's NBA slate is chock full of games with serious postseason implications.
- Our analysts have a plethora of bets to recommend, including Kings vs. Pelicans and Thunder vs. Warriors.
- Continue reading for our best bets for the NBA slate on Tuesday, April 4th.
The sprint to the finish line begins today. The NBA regular season has just five days remaining and there’s still so much we don’t know about the postseason picture. Tuesday’s slate is the first step in answering some of those questions with 13 games on the schedule, including a battle in the East between division rivals: Celtics vs. 76ers (8 p.m. ET on TNT).
Our NBA betting crew is targeting five games tonight, including that primetime matchup and have six best bets today. Read on for their in-depth analysis and expert picks for those games below.
NBA Odds & Best Bets
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: With just three games to go in the regular season, the Cavaliers are all but locked into the No. 4 seed. The 76ers are three games ahead of them in the loss column, which means catching them is not impossible, but it’s definitely not likely and probably not worth it. With the Knicks the likely No. 5 seed, the Cavs have every reason to rest easy until the playoffs.
Enter the Orlando Magic, who have been tearing through teams since the beginning of March. They’re 7-4 straight up and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games. They have the third-best defense, allowing just 110.6 points per 100 possessions since their improved play began, per Cleaning the Glass.
Orlando is unlikely to make the play-in, but is a young team on the rise that’s too good to get decent lottery odds, so they might as well keep trying and maybe do a little winning in the process.
Motivation aside, the Magic are the side here. These teams played twice in Cleveland earlier this season and the Cavs came away with both home victories, but the Magic managed a push in their last encounter. Before that, Orlando had covered in seven of their past eight meetings and have won the last seven in Orlando.
I could list a bunch of other recent trends — like how the Magic are 8-0 ATS following an ATS win or how they’re 14-6 ATS against elite teams with a winning percentage above .600 — but I’m starting to ramble so I’ll cut to the chase.
The Magic are a 2-unit play for me at +5. Reduce risk to one unit at +2.5 and bet to any dog price. I also added .75 units on the moneyline.
Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets
Joe Dellera: The Raptors have a rematch against the tanking Hornets today and Pascal Siakam should thrive tonight.
While Fred VanVleet stole the show last time out with 20 assists, Siakam quietly recorded seven of his own as this offense dismantled the Hornets as they try to secure their Play-In Seeding.
Siakam has exceeded this 5.5 assists line in seven of his past 10 games and his overall hit rate increases in Raptors’ wins. The hit rate is 65% in wins, 71% in wins by 10 and a whopping 78% in wins by 15+. The spread today is 14.5 and the Raptors should have no issue converting on these assist opportunities tonight.
Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Matt Moore: The under in Kings games on the road is 23-15. The under in Pelicans home games is 21-17. New Orleans has the No. 2 defense over the past two weeks in non-garbage time. Meanwhile, Sacramento has all but clinched the No. 3 seed in the West.
Between a higher motivational spot for the Pelicans than the Kings, the Pels’ ability to control rebounds against a smaller Kings team, the absence of Malik Monk as a 3-point threat, we have a good recipe for an under here at a high number.
I project this at 230.5 and like it to that number.
Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Anderson: Let’s start with the stakes. The Kings are nearly locked into the No. 3 seed now. They’re two games back of Memphis with only four to go, and that only means potential home court advantage in a head-to-head second round series. This game means much more to the Pelicans, who are somehow just a half game out of the No. 5 seed but only two wins ahead of the final play-in spot.
The Pelicans are essentially already in playoff mode; they’re quietly playing outstanding basketball and have been for awhile now. New Orleans is 9–6 since the start of March. They have the second-best Defensive Rating in the NBA during that span and, believe it or not, rank second in Net Rating at an impressive +7.1. That would rank first for the NBA over the whole season. By comparison, Sacramento sits at +3.0 for the season.
The truth is that New Orleans has played pretty great ball for most of the season … just not January. The Pelicans were an abysmal 3–13 in January as we collectively wrote them off, but New Orleans is 37–25 the rest of the season.
That’s a 49-win pace over a full season, effectively even with the 3-seed Kings.
Sacramento is the one West team that’s been good on the road this season, but New Orleans is 25–13 at home, including 24–8 outside of January.
The Pels have the defense to slow this Kings attack and should dominate the boards and find some easy points against this beatable defense. Add in the extra motivation to push for a postseason berth and I like the Pelicans here — I bet them at -2.5 last night before the line moved — especially in a near coin-flip game.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Bryan Fonseca: It’s the time of the year where depending on James gets tough.
Since his fools gold 38 and 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 6, he’s averaged 16 points on 38.3% shooting from the floor and 26.3% from beyond the arc. He is shooting 80% on free throws, but is at five attempts per contest, his season average is down to 6.4 attempts per game, his lowest since he was with the Oklahoma City Thunder over a decade ago.
The Bucks held him to 11 points last time out, and Harden has only broken 20 points twice in the last month. I don’t think that, of all teams, Boston will be the recipient of such a showing.
Jaylen Brown is questionable, so that doesn’t help. Also not in my favor is that Harden has 20 or more in all three games against Boston this year. And to that, I say, I don’t care. All of them were before March, and again, early season Harden and late season/playoff Harden are historically two different dudes — recent weeks indicate such.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors
Matt Moore: The Thunder offense ranks 21st in non-garbage-time the last two weeks. Some of that is the absence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but some of it is also just some regression from various shooters. The under is 23-16 in Warriors home games this season; their defense falls apart on the road but is solid at home. The projections have struggled to account for that specific split.
The under has hit in four of the past six games for OKC. Golden State needs this win. They just lost to the Nuggets without Nikola Jokic; the Lakers are nipping at their heels for a playoff spot, which could send the Warriors into the Play-In. Even the defending champs would have to be worried about two bad games sending them home for the summer (You know, like in 2021).
I expect Golden State’s defense will show up in this one and OKC’s offense will bow out as they continue to look for a way for Dallas to take their play-in spot.
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