The NBA Friday night slate is not as jam-packed as most weeks, with just five games, yet there is still plenty of action.
Ja Morant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Steph Curry are the headliners, with some intriguing games that have big time implications in the playoff race also on the docket.
Here are my four favorite bets on the board.
Golden State Warriors (-5.5) vs. Toronto Raptors
At this point, the Warriors playing at home is an automatic bet for me. Until sportsbooks start to wildly overvalue Curry and company in front of their home crowd, Golden State is going to continue to cover at an impressive rate.
Since opening the new Chase Center in downtown San Francisco in 2020, the Warriors are 89-67-2 ATS at home. Straight up, without the spread, the Dubs are 100-58 in their new building.
It doesn’t take a lot of basketball expertise to ride a trend that’s hitting at nearly 57 per cent success, but as long as Curry is healthy and Steve Kerr is on the sidelines, I’m sticking with this one.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+1) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Thunder are no longer the same team that lost four straight games in November and five in a row in mid-December. The way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is playing right now, this team isn’t going to go cold like that for the rest of the season.
Since he sat out the first game of the 2023 calendar year, SGA has played 11 games and is averaging 31 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. In just his last three games, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 36 points. He’s elevated OKC to new heights, sparking an 8-1-1 record ATS in the Thunder’s last ten.
The Thunder are happy to be home for a Friday night battle with Cleveland, after playing six of their last eight on the road. Home has been good to OKC – the Thunder are 15-9 ATS at home.
Orlando Magic (+7) vs. Miami Heat
Miami is among the most disappointing teams in the NBA so far this season. Expected to contend with the best teams in the East, the Heat have instead slumbered to the middle of the pack in the conference.
Their lack of success has surprised sportsbooks, leaving Miami just 13-20-3 ATS this season as a favorite. That trouble has been particularly apparent in South Florida, where the Heat are 8-15-2 ATS.
That might not scare Heat fans with the in-state upstarts from Orlando visiting, but it should. The Magic have won three of four, including victories over Boston and New Orleans. Orlando is 14-9 since December 7, playing better basketball following a 5-20 start.
Orlando should be able to stay within seven, if not steal an upset.
Rudy Gobert under 27.5 points, rebounds, and assists vs Memphis Grizzlies
After the Timberwolves paid a king’s ransom for Rudy Gobert this offseason, they expected a high level of production. At times, he’s delivered. During other stretches, he’s fallen short of those lofty expectations.
In two prior games against Memphis this season, Gobert has struggled. He had 26 PRA in the first meeting in early November and just 10 PRA in the follow-up meeting later that month. In that game, he nabbed just one rebound – his lowest rebounding total in a game that he played more than ten minutes this season.
The active, youthful Memphis frontline is a challenge for any center and Gobert is no exception.