Sunday, February 25, 2024

NBA Odds, Best Bets: Expert Picks for Rockets vs. Grizzlies, Bulls vs. Trail Blazers

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Whether you’re watching college or professional basketball today, Friday’s slate of hoops has plenty to offer. The NBA schedule is 10 games deep with a number of impactful matchups up and down the slate. Two of tonight’s games will be featured on NBA TV: Pacers vs. Celtics (7 p.m. ET) and 76ers vs. Warriors (10 p.m. ET).

Our crew has six best bets today, including spreads, totals, player props and more. Read on for their expert picks for Friday’s huge slate below.

NBA Odds & Picks

San Antonio Spurs at Washington Wizards

Pick
Over 58.5 1Q
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Jim Turvey: The stars have aligned again, friends!

Friday night brings us an otherwise pedestrian matchup between the once-again-terrible San Antonio Spurs (their two most recent losses were by a combined 70-plus points) and the perpetual treadmill of mediocrity Washington Wizards.

You’d be forgiven for skipping over this game entirely … unless you like first quarter points.

These two teams are money printing machines to the over in the first quarter in 2022-23. The Wizards, in particular, are an insane 49-24 to the over in the first quarter this season, for an eye-watering 28.5% ROI. The Spurs, however, aren’t that far behind, coming in second in the Association this season, with a 43-29-1 record to the over, a 13.8% ROI of their own.

Now, the two get to matchup and we as bettors get to enjoy (ok maybe not enjoy, but hopefully profit) as a result.

I would play this to over 60.5 -110.


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Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors

Pick
Jakob Poeltl o26.5 PTS + REB (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Bryan Fonseca: Jakob Poeltl has been quietly (and I mean quietly) tearing it up by his standards since returning to the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline.

In 17 games with the Raptors, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals per contest. If he did this for a season, it’d be a career-best year. More recently, he’s at 17-10-3-1-1 (with rounding) over his last six. (Nerds, I know these are counting stats, but this is gambling, so VORP doesn’t matter much.)

Anyway, Poeltl’s hit over 26.5 points + rebounds in three of those six games — none of them were against the Detroit Pistons! And for all the centers they have, they’re still the Pistons. Like with Spencer Dinwiddie yesterday, we’re hoping to get the requisite scoring output so the rebounds aren’t as dire.

That said, he’s -180 to double-double for a reason — let’s just hope the performance is more ambitious and doesn’t stop there.


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Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick
Grizzlies -12.5
Book
BetRivers
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: These two teams played Wednesday and the Grizzlies managed to get the win but not cover in a close one as Ja Morant returned from his suspension. That’s an emotional situation and re-entering a star player can sometimes cause hiccups.

Meanwhile, since 2018, teams that play within three days, with both games at home, who were favored in the first game and won, and are favored in the second game are 63-48-2 (57%) ATS. If that sounds wordy, it’s just “you were favored two days ago and won and you haven’t changed location.”

If that team failed to cover in the last game, they are still 16-14-0 ATS (53.3%). Memphis this season as a home favorite: 17-14-1 (54.8%). It’s a lot of points to lay. But Memphis is a team that beats up on bad teams at home.

I’ll lay the wood with a Memphis team with their backs still very much against the wall after the last few weeks of turmoil, having gotten past the emotions of Ja’s return, especially vs. a Rockets team that has a distinct direction it’s headed.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors

Pick
Under 235
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA TV

Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The Warriors are coming off two consecutive road wins — something they haven’t done since the NBA Finals. The reason the Warriors can’t win on the road is because they play defense at the Chase Center.

Golden State has a younger roster than in years past — part of an attempt to extend their championship window into early-to-mid-2000s Spurs territory — but that means growing pains in the near term as young players often struggle away from home.

The Warriors have the third-worst Defensive Rating on the road but the third-best Defensive Rating at home. That difference is reflected in the Warriors’ totals record this season as the Warriors are 20-15 to the over on the road and 20-15-1 to the under at home.

The 76ers defensive is also worse on the road compared to home, but they still rank ninth. Their offense is elite, but are 28th in Pace and 27th in Offensive Possession Length (15.0) per Dunks and Threes.

We might see James Harden and Joel Embiid both sit tonight too, which would hugely effect the 76ers ability to score efficiently — especially without Harden who missed last game with an Achilles issue. When he doesn’t play, Philly’s Offensive Rating drops to 114.3, compared to their 117.8 season rating.

Even if they play, I still think this number is way too high. In their previous matchup earlier this season, the game went over, but they combined for just 224 points. Before that, the four prior meetings all went under for an average combined total of 204 points per game.

I like the under down to 230.


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Phoenix Suns vs. Sacramento Kings

Pick
Suns +4
Book
BetRivers
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: Buy-low spot for a still-very good Suns team coming off a rough stretch including the loss to the Lakers Wednesday. I make this line Kings -3.5 and so I took it at -4.5 on our Buckets podcast, plus the moneyline. The Kings are legit, but the Suns are 2-1 straight up and ATS this season vs. The Beam.

Sacramento is still just 12-14 ATS as a home favorite, not an encouraging sign for the No.3 team in the West. Phoenix needs this one; a loss and they’re just two games out of the play-in in the loss column. Sacramento’s pretty much locked into the 2 or 3 seed. The motivation just isn’t the same. Phoenix is 18-14-1 (56%) ATS off a loss this season, even with all their injuries.

I like them to win this one outright, fade the Beam for once.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Portland Trails Blazers

Pick
Bulls -2.5
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Chris Baker: The entire trail blazers starting five is listed as questionable or out for this one and it’s become pretty clear that they are giving up on their season. They’ve gone 1-6 over their last seven games and covered in just two of those seven games.

There are bad vibes around this team right now and that is not a recipe for an upset against an improved Chicago Bulls team.

The Bulls look like a different team since signing Patrick Beverley — 8-5 straight up with him on the team — and now are within striking distance of that 8th seed in the Eastern conference. With Beverley on the floor, the Bulls have a +7.1 Net Rating and an excellent 108.8 defensive rating. With Alex Caruso and Patrick Beverly on the floor together the Bulls have a ridiculous +14.6 net-rating and 103.1 defensive rating.

Caruso is questionable for this one but if he gets ruled in I would expect this line to start climbing quickly. DeMar DeRozan is also questionable but I like this bet regardless of whether him or Caruso play. The Bulls have the on-ball defenders to disrupt Lillard’s rhythm and with Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons out, Lillard is really the only player you have to contain on this Trail Blazers offense.

The Bulls are just 1.5 games back of the eight in the East, so I expect them to treat this like a must-win. Back the Bulls at -2.5 to continue their play-in push and play this up to -3.


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