Thursday night’s NBA slate gave us (arguably) the most entertaining game of the season with a wild comeback and finish. How will Friday’s slate measure up?
Tonight’s schedule features nine games, including Bucks-Nets (7:30 p.m. ET) and Hawks vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET) on ESPN. Along with those two matchups, our NBA analysts see value in a third game on Friday’s slate. You can check out their analysis and best bets for tonight below
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers||10:10 PM ET|
Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors
|Pick||Jazz Under 105.5 Points|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: Name a player on the Utah Jazz who is definitely playing tonight.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Donovan Mitchell? Nope. Rudy Gobert? Wrong. Mike Conley? He’s out. Bojan Bogdanovic or Joe Ingles? Wrong again. Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gay, or Royce O’Neale? They’re all listed as questionable. Hassan Whiteside?! Okay now you’re just getting desperate … and he might miss this one too.
That’s the entire top nine of the Jazz rotation this season. For a team that has, perhaps ironically, mostly escaped the COVID breakout situation around the league, Utah has finally been hit and hit hard. And this is a massive schedule loss spot with so many guys missing.
If all of those questionable names miss, here’s a potential Utah starting lineup tonight: Trent Forrest, Jared Butler, Miye Oni, Eric Paschall, and Udoka Azubuike. Those gentlemen have played only 646 combined minutes thus far the entire season. It’s essentially a G League team.
The Raptors have been up and down all season but are actually healthy right now. They play a very slow pace and should be able to dictate the flow against this young, inexperienced roster. And it’s hard to see how the Jazz will score effectively. This is not the No. 1 offense the team has sported all season. The Raptors allow 106.8 points per game on the season, and that’s even lower in healthy games with full efforts.
I don’t see the Jazz scoring enough to hit 105 against all that Toronto length and defensive talent. I don’t want to bet the Raptors to cover (spread is -11.5) because the number is so high, so I’ll just take the Jazz team under.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
|Pick||Nets -4.5 (-110)|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: The Nets have been a brutal team to back against the spread all season, but a lot of their negative trends have to do with a 1-8 ATS cold spell that followed the loss of Joe Harris in November. The fact of the matter is, Brooklyn continued to win during that period of time and has since improved marginally in its ATS numbers.
I’m not overly concerned with the fact that the Nets are just 9-9 straight up as home favorites, which is one of the worst marks in the NBA. I’m more focused on the Bucks’ 1-5 record against the spread as road underdogs, and their 2-7 mark ATS getting points in general.
Those are a lot of trends to digest, but the bottom line here is that when the Bucks are underdogs, it’s for good reason. The Nets have made strides lately in putting away their opponents and they’ve gotten a lot healthier. I’m also looking at an elite Nets frontline that has ranked in the top 10 in field goal percentage in the restricted area and the surrounding paint and seeing something of an edge here for Brooklyn against Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee is simply dealing with too many injuries around the court, and the Nets are now fully staffed with the exception of Harris and Kyrie Irving. I was already into Brooklyn here, but with so many key pieces out for the Bucks I love them even more. It could get ugly.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
|Tipoff||10:10 PM ET|
Raheem Palmer: The Hawks are struggling defensively, allowing 122.7 points per 100 possessions (28th among NBA teams) over the past two weeks.
It’s no surprise, they’ve seen their totals go over in four out of their past five games with the only game to go under being their Wednesday night 108-102 win over the Sacramento Kings — a game in Trae Young missed due to injury.
With Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins back in the lineup we’re looking at a full strength Hawks lineup that should play at the top end of their range for a team that ranks second in Offensive Rating, scoring 114 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
With the Lakers ranking 25th in Defensive Rating, allowing 115.9 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, this feels like a shootout in the making at the
Staples Center Crypto.com Arena on Friday night.
My model makes this game 228 and while I was able to grab the 226.5 I like the value on this at 227.5 as this game could fly well over the total.