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NBA Odds & Expert Picks: Tonight’s Best Bets, Including Heat-Celtics, Magic-Cavaliers

NBA Odds & Expert Picks: Tonight’s Best Bets, Including Heat-Celtics, Magic-Cavaliers article feature image
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David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • There are 11 games on the slate tonight, which means there are plenty of betting opportunities.
  • Our experts have looked over the board and found value in a few spots.
  • Continue reading for a trio of best bets.

Another fantastic Friday awaits for NBA bettors tonight. With 11 games scheduled, the notable games anchoring the slate feature two star-studded games: Lakers vs. Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Bulls vs. Warriors (10 p.m. ET).

But our NBA analysts are looking at two games that will garner a little less attention from the general betting public. And they are making the case for betting both sides of the spread in one of those games.

Check out their best bets for Friday night below.

NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Heat vs. Celtics Spread
Magic vs. Cavaliers Spread
Magic vs. Cavaliers Spread

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -6.5
Book
BetRivers
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: I bet this at -8.5 at open, expecting it to be the middle point on Jimmy Butler who was questionable for Friday. Butler is expected to play and so this number moved to -6.5 or -7 in the market, and that’s too much based on Butler’s value to the team.

But even if we go the other route, and say that the line without Butler was -8.5 and it moved two points with Butler back (which would be appropriate), I can’t get to any number close to this.

Miami I have power rated as a slightly-above average team. Boston, obviously, is rated as the best team by a wide margin. Even if I manually weight it down based on preseason expectations and small sample outlier offense, I can’t get to this number. It should be double-digits.

Then we have the two-game set factor. These two teams played Wednesday in Boston. These sets where both games are in the same city are a little different than the “home and home” sets.

When a team is favored at home in the first of two games in three days, and favored in the second game, they are 40-30-2 (57%) ATS since the bubble (when the league really started implementing these in the schedule). When they win the first game, they are 28-21-1 (57%) ATS. The Celtics when they face the same team within 3 days are 15-9 (63%) ATS in the second matchup, and 10-5 (67%) when favored.

All this said, I can’t get to this number, and after betting it at -8.5 based on the possibility of Butler missing, I bet it again at this lower figure. I’m fading the steam.


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Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Cavaliers -10
Book
WynnBet
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Moore: You can vary based on what you think home court is worth in the NBA. The Cavs, for example, have a point differential of +12.4 at home and +2.3 on the road. That’s a significant shift in home vs. away.

Let’s take a conservative approach across teams and seasons and say that the switch from one team’s home court to another is roughly 4.5 points.

So then, this game would be Cavs -5 in Orlando? Really? The Cavs, second in Adjusted Net Rating, per Dunks And Threes against the the Magic, 27th, would be favored by less than two possessions?

I make this number in the mid-teens based on power rating on neutral court. Even with Jarrett Allen out, I can’t get this anywhere close to 10. (I got it at open at -9.5.)

Books are hesitant to lay double-digits with teams early in the season, but Orlando is already extremely banged up; they’re without starting center Wendell Carter Jr., Jalen Suggs, and Mo Bamba.

The idea of laying this many points (without Allen) is only concerning if you don’t consider homecourt advantage. The line is off, lay the points.


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Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Magic +10.5
Book
PointsBet

Chris Baker: I admit this is ugly, but I’m on the other side of this matchup. I think this Magic team has enough talent to hang with guards Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz back in the lineup.

The Cavs will be without Jarrett Allen once again in this one and potentially Kevin Love, who is listed as questionable. I think that is a big problem as they simply do not have a ton of good big man depth. These guys have been two of their best players as Love has a +10.3 Net Rating and Allen has a +6.3, good for second and fourth-best on the team. These are big losses and I think the Magic have a decent collection of bigs to expose it.

Between Paolo Banchero, Mo Bamba, and Bol Bol, the Magic have some unicorns who are extremely difficult to guard on the offensive end. The Cavs are rolling out a starting five that includes Dean Wade and Mamadi Diakite and I am just not eager to back that as a double-digit favorite against a Magic team that is getting healthier.

On top of injury issues for the Cavs, I just think the Magic are underrated by the market. If you look at their offensive shot quality they actually rank 11th in the NBA in Location Expected Field Goal Percentage, according to Cleaning the Glass. They are getting good looks they just haven’t been able to knock them down as they rank just 20th in Actual Effective Field Goal Percentage (53.1%). They have been especially effective at getting to the rim as they rank seventh in rim rate (36.6%). This is a huge edge for Orlando as the Cavs have been poor defending the rim since Jarrett Allen got hurt, ranking at the 34th percentile at rim rate allowed with him off the court.

Ultimately, the Magic are not a better team than the Cavs but I think that they have enough offensive talent between Anthony, Fultz, Banchero, Wagner, and Bol to hang with a banged up Cavs team, so I’ll back them as double-digit underdogs and sprinkle their +400 ML.


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