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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Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers
There’s more nuance to this pick than simply fading the Lakers following LeBron James’ injury, but that’s certainly the first reason to like Minnesota on the road here. With King James being ruled out at least three weeks, the Lakers are in for a harsh new reality, needing Anthony Davis to play like one of the league’s best talents and carry an under .500 team on his own.
Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, that seems unlikely.
In games without LeBron this year, the Lakers are 5-9 straight up and just 4-8-12 ATS. Davis missed some of those games as well, but with Davis and without LeBron, the Lakers are just 3-5-1 ATS.
Minnesota isn’t exactly a terrifying threat for this short-handed Lakers team, yet the Wolves have played well of late. The T-Wolves beat the Clippers in LA on Tuesday, after nearly toppling the Warriors in the Bay Area.
That’s enough indication to like Minnesota to take care of business without one of the all-time greats in the lineup opposing them.
Denver Nuggets (-5.5) vs. Memphis Grizzlies
I am not able to properly summarize the off-the-court drama currently surrounding Ja Morant and it may have no effect on his play on the hardwood. At the same time, however, Memphis has lost 10 of its last 16 games and lost ground in the Western Conference race. This is not the ideal time for off-court distractions to creep into frame for a young team with limited veteran leadership.
That youth has been apparent in Memphis’ home and road splits this season. The Grizzles are 26-5 at home this season, but just 12-18 on the road. They are even worse factoring in the spread – Memphis is just 10-19-1 ATS away from home this season.
Facing two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets, who are 28-4 in the altitude of Denver is a tough task. I’m comfortable laying the points and betting on the Joker to secure the win here.
Boston Celtics (-10.5) vs. Brooklyn Nets
When the Nets traded Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, many focused on the draft capital that was coming to Brooklyn to build the team in the future. Yet there was also optimism about the pieces being added to the Nets roster for this season, with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnston, and Spencer Dinwiddie expected to contribute.
Instead, the Nets unloading of its superstars has turned the team fully into a nose-dive. Since trading Durant, Brooklyn has lost six of seven games and is likewise just 2-5 ATS in that span. Several of the losses have ballooned into blowouts. Brooklyn lost to Milwaukee by 14, to New York by 16 and 24, and to Chicago by 44.
Sportsbooks haven’t quite figured out how to assess these Nets yet. Until they do, go ahead and fade Brooklyn.
Matisse Thybulle (Portland Trail Blazers) over 2.5 blocks + steals vs. Atlanta Hawks
One of the most disruptive defenders in the NBA couldn’t carve out a role on the Philadelphia 76ers. Thybulle’s limitations offensively made him expendable for Philadelphia, who shipped him westward to Portland at the trade deadline.
Since becoming a Blazer, the Washington product has seen more minutes and taken advantage. Thybulle is back to his old tricks defensively, averaging 3.5 blocks + steals per game as a Blazer. A huge reason for that is his playing time, which is up over 30 minutes per game, after he saw the court for just 11.7 minutes per game in his final 36 games as a Sixer.
This number doesn’t quite reflect his new role yet and should be one of the best props on a nightly basis in the NBA until it finds its way to 3.5. Thybulle has topped 2.5 “stocks” in five of six games since arriving in Portland.