NBA betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Friday
Shane McNichol makes his NBA predictions for Friday night, with four best bets.
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With the American sports world turning all eyes to the Super Bowl in Phoenix this weekend, the NBA smartly loads up on Friday night. This has resulted in one of the most action-packed slates of games we’ve seen all season long.
In total, 22 teams will be in play in 11 games from coast to coast, with many of the games acting as debuts for newly traded players after Thursday’s trade deadline.
Those trades have the chance to completely change the outlook of the playoff race and create some really intriguing questions for bettors. If you can figure out how a player or team will react to a new situation before the market does, there’s plenty of value to be found.
Here are my four favorite bets on the board for Friday:
Indiana Pacers (+1.5) vs. Phoenix Suns
Things are looking up for the Suns, having recently acquired superstar Kevin Durant. He raises Phoenix’s ceiling to new heights, easily raising them into the class of contenders.
Durant, however, is still sidelined due to injury, and so is star guard Devin Booker.
Phoenix also played Thursday night in Atlanta – losing 116-107 to the Hawks – with this Friday date in Indiana being both the second leg of a back-to-back and the fifth stop on an East Coast road trip.
Phoenix has been feisty during the trip, yet just traded several key pieces for the injured Durant. For now, the Suns will struggle until they get healthy and can coalesce on the court.
Utah Jazz (+7.5) vs. Toronto Raptors
Pre-season, these teams looked to be on radically different paths.
Utah appeared destined for the league’s cellar, with Toronto dreaming of playoff wins. Approaching the All-Star break, though, those paths look totally different. The Jazz started hot and are now trying to survive and find the postseason. The Raptors, meanwhile, have been stuck in the mud all season and were the focus of trade rumors for weeks leading up to the deadline.
The deadline came and went with Raptors architect Masai Ujiri mostly standing pat.
Utah acquired Russell Westbrook in order to add future assets, but if Westbrook suits up for the Jazz he may actually provide some scoring punch for a young team that could use an anchor.
Toronto seems less likely to straighten out, starting with a loss Friday night.
Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks: Over 233.5 total points
I’m not sure there’s a number in our mathematical landscape where I wouldn’t like the over here. Sacramento scores the most points per game in the NBA, playing at the league’s eight-fastest pace. The Kings have scored 130 or more points on 13 occasions this season, and only held opponents under 110 eight times in 54 games.
Dallas has been a much slower paced team, prior to trading for Kyrie Irving. With a second capable ball-handler, expect to see less of Luka Doncic pounding the ball on his own and more scoring in transition.
Also, given the way both Doncic and Irving defend, expect to see plenty of scoring by the other team as well.
This one should be a run-and-shoot style track meet. Happily jump on the over!
Milwaukee Bucks (+2.5) vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers made some major moves on the margins prior to the trade deadline, shifting many of the pieces surrounding franchise cornerstones Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Some of those moves may well pan out as the right kinds of changes for a team with a deep playoff run in mind.
In the short term, though, I’m skeptical of how quickly the Clippers can make changes in the gameplan on the fly.
Against a lesser team, maybe talent will simply win out. Against Milwaukee, however, the Clippers can’t afford little mistakes. If they add up, the Bucks will quickly take advantage and steal a road win.