The NBA schedule for Friday is robust, with nine games throughout the evening including a nationally televised affair between the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks.
Here are our three best bets from Friday night’s NBA slate.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Charlotte Hornets||7 p.m. ET|
|Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks||10 p.m. ET|
|Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers||10 p.m. ET|
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Charlotte Hornets
|Pick||LaMelo Ball, over 7.5 assists (+112), to record a triple-double (+1500)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: There are few days on the NBA regular season calendar I enjoy more than the night after the All-Star rosters are announced. And that’s because we get to bet on the All-Star snubs.
I’m not sure there’s a bigger snub this season than LaMelo Ball. Ball continues to be a revelation and looked like a surefire All-Star as the engine of the 7-seed Hornets, currently 28-24 and only 1.5 games back of the Nets to secure a definite playoff spot.
Ball continues to put up big nightly numbers at 19.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. He’s had four triple-doubles already this season and is one of the league’s brightest young stars, a walking highlight reel with his dazzling passes. In a bigger market, he’d be a certain All-Star and maybe a starter. Instead he was left off the team completely — and he most likely lost his spot to Darius Garland, whose team he’ll face tonight.
Sounds like a big incoming game from LaMelo to me. Besides, the numbers are already in our favor. Ball has gone over 7.5 assists in seven of his last 10 games, averaging 8.6 per game outside of one outlier with only two dimes. Ball has gone over 7.5 assists in 24 games this season, a 53% hit rate for a prop we’re getting plus juice on.
I’m also getting greedy and going for that triple-double All-Star statement game. Ball is a prideful player and you have to believe his teammates will want to help him make a statement. You know the points will be there, and he’s had double-digit points in 12 of 45 games and double-digit rebounds in nine of them. LaMelo has four triple-doubles this season, but he also has 10 other games where he was within three combined rebounds or assists of another triple-double. That’s 31% of his games where Ball has had a real shot.
We’re getting +1500, an implied 6.2% at a triple-double. He’s done it 8.9% of his games this year and gotten within range in 31% of them, so I have to take a shot in a game where he’ll want to put up big numbers.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: Both the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks come into tonight’s matchup after disappointing losses as double-digit home favorites on Wednesday night.
The 76ers have dominated this matchup in recent years, particularly due to Joel Embiid’s greatness. He is averaging 28 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists against Dallas, and Philly is 4-1 in Embiid’s five games against the Mavericks throughout his career.
Kristaps Porzingis is dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, so the Mavs will likely be shorthanded down low for Friday’s matchup. For a Mavericks team that ranks 19th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.4%), Porzingis’ absence should allow Embiid to continue this dominant stretch that has catapulted him into pole position on the NBA MVP odds board.
The Mavericks are also dealing with the loss of Tim Hardaway Jr., who is out with fracture in his left foot, which means they’ll be without two of their top four scorers. Outside of Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, the Mavs lack playmaking and rank 16th in Offensive Rating (111.3).
Their offensive diet is 3-point heavy — they take the seventh highest-frequency of 3-point field goals (39.5%) while shooting the sixth-lowest percentage in the league (33.7%). They’ll be facing a 76ers team that ranks ninth in Defensive Rating (109.2) and opponent 3-point percentage (34.6%).
The Sixers have a major edge in the front court with Embiid, the better offense (112.4 points per 100 possessions, ninth in the NBA) and a defense capable of slowing down the Mavericks’ perimeter attack, I like the 76ers to pull off the win as the road underdog.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers
|Pick||Trail Blazers First Quarter -2|
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Austin Wang: The Portland Trail Blazers have quietly been one of the best teams in the first quarter of late. They’ve gone 10-3 straight-up and against the spread in the first quarter in their previous 13 games. During this time frame, they are fifth in first quarter Net Rating (+9.8), per NBA Advanced Stats.
Anfernee Simons is having a breakout season, CJ McCollum is back healthy and they lead a strong, solid starting five that also features Norman Powell, Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic. However, they don’t have a strong bench. Nassir Little is out for the season and Larry Nance Jr. has been out as well. I don’t trust their second unit, as it has been susceptible to giving up leads.
The Thunder, on the other hand, are one of the worst teams ATS in the first quarter. They are covering machines for the full game, but they are only 20-28-2 ATS in the first quarter and have the league’s worst first quarter net rating. They are also without their best player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
In addition, the Thunder were supposed to travel to Portland from Dallas on Wednesday night after that impressive overtime win against the Mavericks. However, due to inclement weather in Dallas, they had to delay their flight until Thursday evening. I’m expecting some fatigue from the Thunder due to this erratic travel schedule. I also see a let-down spot for the Thunder after beating the Mavericks outright as double-digit underdogs.
These two teams played a few nights ago and Portland covered the 1Q spread with ease, 31-19 (in a game they wound up losing). With a little bit of revenge on their mind, I think Portland gets off to another strong start and covers the 1Q spread of -2 (up to -3).