NBA Odds, Best Bets, Expert Picks: Knicks vs Cavaliers, Spurs vs Warriors
Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Brunson #11 and Obi Toppin #1 of the New York Knicks.
- Tonight's NBA slate is massive with 13 games on the schedule.
- Action's NBA analysts have five best bets today, including predictions for Knicks vs. Cavaliers and Spurs vs. Warriors.
- Check out their expert picks for Friday below.
Well hello, Friday. It’s a glorious day to bet the NBA with 13 games on the schedule tonight, including a doubleheader on NBA TV featuring two matchups out West: Lakers vs. Timberwolves (8 p.m. ET) and Nuggets vs. Suns (10:30 p.m. ET).
Our betting analysts are up for the task and have five best bets today for five of the slate’s matchups. Read on for their in-depth analysis and expert picks on those game below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: These are two teams that would benefit from a decisive Bulls win. Chicago is in the play-in race, but is in a somewhat tenuous position only two games ahead of the Pacers in the loss column and two games behind the Hawks and Raptors.
The Hornets are at the bottom of the barrel, squarely in position for the fourth-worst record — their lineups and injury reports suggest they’re not doing much to win any more games. Kelly Oubre Jr. (shoulder) and Dennis Smith Jr. (toe) are listed as questionable and Gordon Hayward (thumb) is designated doubtful. It’s possible Smith Jr. plays again, but I expect Oubre Jr. and Hayward to be shut down for the season as the Hornets tank their way to the finish line.
Even if they were to play by some chance it wouldn’t sway me. The Bulls are coming off two losses in L.A. to the Lakers and Clippers and will look to give the Hornets a smackdown. Before their most recent L.A. losses, the Bulls were playing well going 7-2 straight up and ATS. I bet this at -7.5, but I expect the Bulls to get right and win by double-digits tonight. Search for the best number up to -10.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers
Brandon Anderson: Sometimes, you just have to bet on motivations and take the better team.
No, the Thunder will not have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander again, and that’s the one superstar on this team. This is a guy getting MVP votes in the straw poll so his absence is not nothing. But Jalen Williams has been spectacular with a shocking late Rookie of the Year push, and Josh Giddey is a budding star and this defense travels.
The Thunder are not a one-man team. They’ve won 10 of 15, covering this line in eight of those 10 wins. Oklahoma City ranks 8th in Net Rating since January 1 and the Thunder are 20–8 this season against sub-.500 teams. This is a game they desperately need to stay on the right side of the play-in race, and the Pacers would just as well get another ping pong ball or two.
Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Myles Turner all missed Indiana’s last game and are a doubt for any game going forward. The Pacers have lost seven of nine and rank 27th in Net Rating since January 1 in contrast to this surging Thunder team.
Would I rather SGA was playing? Sure, but then we wouldn’t get this value on the line. Give me the Thunder.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Chris Baker: The Hawks have a 1-day rest advantage and have been playing pretty good basketball since head coach Quin Snyder took over. Atlanta ranks 3rd in offensive rating and second in offensive rebound rate in the 15 games they’ve played with Snyder.
Let’s highlight their offensive rebound rate as that will be a massive edge against this Nets defense that ranks 29th in defensive rebound rate. The Nets do not finish possessions and it is a major reason why their defense has been league-average this season.
Additionally, this Nets defense does a good job of running teams off the 3-point line and forcing mid-range looks. They rank third-best in 3-point attempt rate allowed since the Kyrie Irving /Kevin Durant trades, but they rank 25th in rim rate allowed and 24th in mid-range allowed.
Normally I would argue that their ability to run opponents off the three point line is a major plus but against this Hawks team it may not be. The Hawks have plenty of competent, capable of mid-range shooters. As a team, Atlanta ranks second in mid-range attempt rate on the season and fifth in accuracy (45.6%).
Furthermore, the Hawks run the highest rate of pick and rolls in the NBA. This is a problem when Spencer Dinwiddie is the point of attack for your defense. Dinwiddie has struggled massively defensively this season and he ultimately just lacks the agility to keep Trae Young/Dejounte Murray in front of him. I don’t like this matchup for him and Nic Claxton can only hide him so much in pick and roll coverage.
On the flip side of the ball, I believe this Hawks defense is likely underrated as they have ranked 28th in effective field goal percentage since Snyder took over. They rank 27th in 3-point accuracy allowed (39.5%) but 10th in 3-point attempt rate allowed. On the season they rank 12th in 3-point accuracy allowed, so I expect these numbers begin to converge eventually as the Hawks get some positive regression.
This is a great spot for their defense to regress as they take on a Nets team that is somewhat devoid of quality playmakers. I expect the Hawks to capitalize on their rest advantage and continue their push for the eighth spot in the East. Play this up to -2.
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Bryan Fonseca: This will be the first time all season that Julius Randle is out for the Knicks, so naturally, you’d expect Jalen Brunson to go off tonight, right? I don’t think it’s quite that simple.
Regarding Brunson, he’s averaging about 18 points per game, five assists, and about three rebounds against the Cavaliers in three games this season. That was with Randle in the lineup, and it includes a game in which Randle scored 36 points, and another in which he put up 19 shots.
He hasn’t quite hit over 31.5 against Cleveland at all this season, but again, Randle was always there. You just feel that, even against a strong defensive team like Cleveland, Brunson has one of those do-it-all games he’s displayed throughout the season.
He just had a 25 points and six assists in Miami last week, two nights after a 23 points and 10 assists against Minnesota, so he’s had big games recently against other defensively elite centers. To his credit, he has 16 30-point games this season — his season-high was 44 against Milwaukee.
Brunson isn’t a high-assist floor general, but with his usage turned up, he might have to be tonight, which is ideal for this over. Hopefully, for this bet, he’s in a good offensive rhythm scoring early, then gets assists when dishing out of double teams and blitzes as the game goes. Or it could be him dishing and playing pass first point guard early then attacking later on, I don’t really care, as long as we get there.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors
Jim Turvey: Friday night’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors has a wild 241.5 full game total, but I am still suggesting an over–albeit not the full game. Here’s why.
All season, these two teams have been getting lofty totals thanks to their aggressive pace. They are quite literally the top two teams in the league in terms of pace, and put up against each other, it’s going to lead to one of the most possession-filled games we’ll see this season.
However, I could see this getting out of hand early, and therefore having to sweat out a lopsided fourth quarter where no one really cares.
Targeting the first quarter also allows us to highlight an area where both teams have consistently been profitable this season. Only one team (Wizards) has been more profitable to the over in the first quarter than the Spurs this season, who are 46-29-1 (+16.7% ROI) in that direction. The Warriors aren’t far behind, however, and with a record of 44-32-1 to the over, have been quite profitable there as well (+10.1% ROI).
Make sure you shop around for the best line, as of post, only one book has a line available, but this market tends to open up as the day goes along. I would play this to over 63 -110.
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