NBA Betting Odds & Expert Picks: 4 Best Bets For Friday, Including Cavaliers vs. Pistons, Jazz vs. Lakers
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kelly Olynyk (second from left) of the Utah Jazz looks up during the national anthem.
- Friday's NBA schedule is a real treat with 12 matchups across the slate.
- Among the games our experts are betting, they see value in Cavaliers vs. Pistons and Jazz vs. Lakers.
- Find their expert picks, predictions and four best bets below.
The end of the week couldn’t get here fast enough and the NBA is bringing us a high quality slate of games to bet on Friday night. In the primetime national TV spots, we have two must-see matchups: Bulls vs. Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Bucks vs. Timberwolves (10 p.m. ET).
Our crew of NBA analysts are looking at three other games on the schedule and their best bets for Friday are focused on two spreads and two player props in those matchups. You can find their betting breakdowns and expert picks for tonight’s slate below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The Cavs have one of the best records against the spread this season (6-1) compared to the Pistons (3-5-1). Detroit has covered the last three meetings between the two teams, however those games all took place before Donovan Mitchell joined the Cavaliers.
By acquiring Mitchell, the Cavs added some much-needed offense that has been seamlessly tacked onto a defensive that already ranked fifth in Defensive Rating last season.
Even without Darius Garland for much of the season, Mitchell and the Cavaliers have been lighting up the league. Their 40.6% from beyond the arc is good enough for third in the league. Their paint offense is also top five, per Cleaning the Glass, although they are third-to-last in attempts at the rim.
Detroit, meanwhile, ranks 22nd in opponent eFG% (55%) and lacks the veteran personnel to make significant stops on the defensive end.
Mitchell and Garland are both questionable, which makes this a tough game to handicap, but even if the two guards sit tonight, their depth in the backcourt should be enough to cover against the Pistons.
I make this game Cavaliers -9.3 and If Mitchell plays, I would bet the Cavs at their current number and up to -7. If Mitchell sits, and would take the Cavs at anything better than -4. I’d wait until the injury report is more clear before firing a bet.
Toronto Raptors vs. Dallas Mavericks
Chris Baker: I am trusting the Mavericks to cover this short number regardless of whether Fred VanVleet plays tonight. I don’t like the way Toronto matches up here as their defense gives up a ton of 3-pointers.
Dallas’ offense ranks fifth in 3-point frequency while Toronto ranks 25th in 3-point frequency allowed on defense. More specifically, they rank 30th in corner 3-point frequency allowing 14.1% of opponent shot attempts to be 3-pointers. This is not new for the Raptors defense as they ranked dead-last in corner-3 point rate allowed last season.
That is not a recipe for a success against a Dallas team that specializes in the corner-3, taking about 11% of their shots from there, which ranks third in the league. The second major reason I’m leaning toward Dallas is here is 3-point regression. The Mavs have gone three straight games shooting below 32% from deep and managed to still win two of the three. This team ranks just 19th in 3-point accuracy (35.6%) while Toronto ranks eighth (38.7%).
I’ve watched this Mavs team a lot and they have been getting tons of quality looks from behind the arc, but their guys are just struggling right now. Despite their 3-point struggles they still rank third in Adjusted Offensive Rating. This team is efficient whether the 3s are falling or not, but when those shots are falling, the Mavericks are completely lethal.
I expect Dallas to explode on offense and cover this short number at home.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Jim Turvey: This is one of those bets where all the stars align. Olynyk is one of the top regression candidates in the league right now thanks to his absolutely insane shooting start to the season. He enters Friday shooting 55.2% from behind the arc, and while the lanky Canadian has always been a strong outside shooter, that number is not sustainable for anyone (his career percentage is 36.8% from deep).
Olynyk is also a feast or famine scorer. This season, he has three games over 20 points, but he also has five games at eight points or fewer. That type of skew makes it tricky for books to put out an accurate line. Remember, we care about median here, not mean. Those high point totals skew his points per game, and give a tasty opportunity on the under.
Then there’s the matchup itself. The Jazz take on the Lakers, who, as we have all heard by now, have issues, but those issues are not on the defensive end. The Lakers have the third-best Defensive Rating this season, and they are best against forwards and centers. There’s slight worry on the pace the Lakers bring to the game, but given all the other factors leaning hard to the under, it’s still a best bet for me.
I’d take this all the way down to 10.5 at -115.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kenny Ducey: Everyone knows the Lakers can’t shoot, and LeBron James seems to be among those wise to that fact. The 19-year veteran has really slowed down when it comes to launching from deep, averaging six attempts per game from deep over the last three games after starting off with 8.8 attempts per game in his first four contests.
This probably has something to do with the fact that James can count himself among the Lakers who simply can’t buy a 3-pointer right now. He’s shooting just 22.6% from beyond the arc this season, and he’ll be up against a formidable defense in Utah that has held opponents to 32.3% from deep, which ranks fourth in the NBA. It’s no fluke, either — against guarded 3-point looks, opponents are successful just 33.2% of the time, which ranks sixth.
James has hit three of his last 18 attempts from deep, and it’s been extremely profitable to take this under for weeks now. He’s only gone over 2.5 3-pointers one time so far this season and that was on opening night.
I trust Jarred Vanderbilt and the Jazz to make life tough for James should he take some 3s, and I think he’ll elect to try and score inside whenever he can.