NBA Odds & Expert Picks: Friday’s Best Bets, Including Raptors vs. Thunder, Kings vs. Lakers
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings.
- NBA Fridays are the best and tonight's eight-game slate has the full attention of our betting experts.
- Among their five best bets are picks for Raptors vs. Thunder and Kings vs. Lakers.
- NBA Fridays are the best and tonight's eight-game slate has the full attention of our betting experts. Among their five best bets are picks for Raptors vs. Thunder and Kings vs. Lakers. Read on for their top plays for Friday night.
Happy Friday! Tonight’s schedule features just two national TV games with Nuggets vs. Celtics (7 p.m. ET) on NBA TV and Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies (10 p.m. ET) , a playoff rematch, on the ESPN airwaves.
The action doesn’t drop off their, though, with six more awesome games on the slate and our crew is diving into three other matchups for their best bets on tonight’s schedule. Check out our expert picks and predictions for Friday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics
Chris Baker: Nuggets vs. Celtics could be the game of the night and I think the Nuggets have a matchup advantage with Nikola Jokic going up against Al Horford down low.
We have seen what Jokic does to teams when they are incapable of guarding him 1-on-1 as he forces teams into double teams and help defense, he then proceeds to force them into scrambles and rotations with his elite passing ability.
This should be the case tonight with Al Horford and Luke Kornet being the only Centers getting legitimate minutes. This Celtics’ defense has been vulnerable this year without Robert Williams III down low and Jokic should be able to expose that.
The second major thing leading me to the Nuggets here is the absence of Malcolm Brogdon due to injury. Brogdon’s injury leaves them with just one true point guard in Marcus Smart and will force the Celtics to give Payton Pritchard minutes. The Celtics are completely lacking any depth right now and could be in major trouble if Horford or Smart pick up a few quick fouls.
I trust the Nuggets’ bench depth a lot more right now especially with the way that Bones Hyland — 18.0 PPG on 60% from deep over the past three games — has been playing lately. I believe in this Nuggets team and expect them to come out with an urgency tonight. I’ll bite here on Denver down to +150.
Toronto Raptors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Matt Moore: Since the start of last season (when Kyle Lowry left), the under in Raptors games when Pascal Siakam is out is 9-7, with an average line of 214, per GimmeTheDog.com. So we have a total six points higher than the average in this spot without Siakam. The Thunder’s Schedule-Adjusted Offensive Rating ranks 26th.
The under is 4-2 at home for OKC. The Thunder have the worst halfcourt offense in the league, while the Raptors rank 22nd. Transition will be a problem for both teams, but points will still be a problem. I make this 214, giving us a healthy margin against the number.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Munaf Manji: The Grizzlies face the Timberwolves tonight in a matchup of two of worst teams defending 3-pointers. The Wolves are allowing their opponents to knock down an average of 15.1 3s per game, which ranks worst in the league. The Wolves are allowing opponents to average 40 attempts per game, which ranks 29th in the league.
So far this season, Desmond Bane is shooting 46.7% from beyond the arc and attempting 8.6 per game. He has faced the Spurs, Nets, Kings, and Rockets this season who are among the worst 3-point defending teams.
In those four games, Bane shot 22-of-39 from the deep and made at least four 3s in each of those contests. Additionally, Bane has made four or more 3s in three out of his last five games. Against the worst 3-point shooting defense in the league, I believe Bane will get plenty of looks from beyond the arc.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Jim Turvey: I like the Cavs in general on Friday, but the first quarter is where I’m going to be targeting them hardest.
Cleveland has been the second-best team in basketball to this point by Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System, which weighs opponent and Net Rating, alongside their record. For comparison, the Warriors rank 25th in SRS. Now, part of this is obviously due to the Warriors resting key players here and there, and they appear to be at full strength for Friday night, but at this moment in time — with the Warriors still looking for this to be a bridge season — the Cavs are simply a better team.
This game has actually taken steam towards Golden State in the early market, but that may be misguided. We think of the Warriors as an elite defensive, but they are giving up the sixth-most 3s per game this season, and opponents are hitting those shots at a better than average clip. The Cavs are shooting 40.1% from deep this season, trailing only the Nuggets in terms of efficiency.
The Cavs have also succeeded in getting to the line with great regularity this season, averaging the seventh-most free throws per game so far. The Warriors, even when their defense has been better, have never been shy about sending opponents to the line, and this season, no team in basketball sends their opponents to the line more frequently than Golden State. Freebies and 3s are a great recipe for success on the offensive end for Cleveland.
On the other side of the ball, the Warriors are likely going to try to make Cleveland run and take advantage of their own ability to go small. And that feeds into this bet. I could see this strategy paying off late in the game if Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley can’t keep up with the Warriors running around the perimeter for a full 48 minutes, but in the first quarter, I don’t see this being as big an edge.
I don’t expect Kerr to play those small-ball lineups a ton right off the bat, as he will likely still start Kevon Looney, and only transition to those smaller lineups as the game goes along.
Finally, the first has been the best quarter for the Cavs all season (+5.6 Net Rating), while it has been a bugaboo for the Warriors (-6.0 Net Rating). Add in the fact that the Cavs should almost certainly win the tip, thus giving them the extra possession in the first, and getting plus money on the Cavs to win the first quarter is a great play on Friday.
Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Joe Dellera: Before we get to the pick, Happy Veterans Day to all those that have served!
The Kings take on the Lakers tonight in a matchup where L.A. won’t have LeBron James. While the Kings should be able to take care of business, the player I’m targeting tonight is Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis has always been a proficient passer and he’s currently averaging 6.1 assists per game on 9.8 potential assists per game. This has increased over his last five games and his potentials have jumped to 12.8 per game.
A big reason for this is De’Aaron Fox. Sabonis and Fox have an excellent rapport on the floor and the player Sabonis passes to and receives passes from at the highest frequency is Fox. In his last 20 games with Fox, Sabonis has exceeded 5.5 assists in 13 of them (65%).
Applying that to this specific matchup, the Lakers are allowing 26.5 assists per game, eighth-most in the league. Considering both of the Lakers and Kings play fast and are first and eleventh in Pace respectively, this should lend itself to more passing and scoring opportunities for Sabonis.