NBABet's 4 Best Bets for Friday Night

Check out the four bets the Action Network's NBA analysts are making from two matchups on Friday night's nine-game basketball slate.

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Well hello, Friday.

Tonight’s nine-game hoops slate features two exciting national tv games: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns (10 p.m. ET on ESPN).

But for tonight’s favorite bets, our NBA analysts are going off the beaten path with two prop picks, one spread bet and another on a total. You can find their analysis and bets below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Clippers vs. Pelicans Props 8 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Pelicans Spread 8 p.m. ET
Raptors vs. Kings Total 10 p.m. ET
Raptors vs. Kings Prop 10 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Pick Ivica Zubac Over 9.5 Points (-116)
Book <!–FanDuel–>FanDuel
Tipoff 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Kenny Ducey: The Pelicans have one of the worst defenses in the NBA. They’ve given up a league-worst 113.2 points per 100 possessions, and that’s been due to the fact that they’ve offered little to no resistance inside. Opponents are shooting 69.6% on field goal tries inside the restricted area, which ranks second-worst in the NBA.

Enter Ivica Zubac, who has been seeing plenty of minutes lately. He played 31 in a win over San Antonio before seeing a solid 27 against Memphis in a game where he would have easily hit 30 again had the Clippers kept the game close.

Zubac’s point total is sitting at 9.5 right now, and he’s been able to get over that mark in seven of his last nine games. It’s important to remember that Los Angeles is playing shorthanded right now, and will likely be without Nic Batum once again on Friday. Even with him, the absences of Marcus Morris and Kawhi Leonard have made it very difficult for Ty Lue to play small ball. As a result, he’s had to deploy his two bigs.

There should be nothing keeping Zubac off the court in this game, and nothing keeping him from scoring down low. I think this is a very good deal.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Pick Clippers -3.5
Book <!–BetMGM–>BetMGM

Austin Wang: The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be in a tough scheduling spot. They are on the second night of a back-to-back on the road and were blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies last night. This will be their fifth game in seven nights. In addition, they are dealing with some injuries to key rotational players such as Nicholas Batum and Marcus Morris.

The market and are pricing the game with these situational spots in mind, making the Clippers only 3.5-point favorites against the lowly 2-13 New Orleans Pelicans. I think this presents a nice opportunity to get the Clippers at a discount against one of the worst teams in the league.

The Pelicans rank in the Bottom 10 in both Offensive Rating (25th) and Defensive Rating (30th), per NBA Advanced Stats.

Brandon Ingram has recently returned to the Pelicans’ lineup after missing seven games. However, he draws a tough matchup in Paul George, who will give Ingram trouble on both sides of the court. One of Ingram’s strengths is his ability to get to the free throw line; however, the Clippers have the league’s lowest Free Throw Attempt rate (.172) allowed.

Jonas Valanciunas, the Pelicans’ next best scorer, will have Ivica Zubac matched up against him. Zubac’s style thrives against conventional big men such as Valanciunas.

The Clippers are one of the best shooting teams in the league. They are ranked eighth in 3-point shooting (35.9%), which is something the Pelicans have trouble defending.

Eric Bledsoe will be returning to New Orleans to face his former team. Even though his tenure with the Pelicans was short, I think he will have some additional motivation to show up his former teammates. He will also be looking to bounce back from last game’s four-point dud against the Grizzlies.

Since the 2013-2014 season, away favorites on the second game of back-to-back off a loss where they loss the first game on the road has gone 110-72-4 (60.2%) against the spread, per Gimme the Dog. This is active as a play on the Clippers. The market overrates the impact of the back-to-back as these favored teams have historically exceeded expectations.

My pick is on the Clippers to bounce back after their loss last night and cover against the Pelicans.

Toronto Raptors vs. Kings

Pick Over 219
Book BetMGM
Tipoff 10 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: This may come as a surprise to some, but over the past two weeks the Toronto Raptors are dead last in Defensive Rating, allowing 121 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.

They’ve particularly struggled in transition where they’re giving up 3.7 pts+/possessions against a Kings team which is second in transition pts+/ possessions (4.8). Look for De’Aaron Fox to push the pace and find some success in transition.

The Raptors are allowing opposing teams to shoot 67.7% at the rim and 37.5% from behind the arc, 27th and 26th among NBA teams. This certainly doesn’t bode well for the Raptors in that these are the two most efficient areas of the floor.

Nonetheless, the Kings have their own defensive struggles as they’re 20th in Defensive Rating (109.7) in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass. They also give up the highest amount of points in the paint (51.1) so Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby to have no problems scoring at the rim in this matchup.

With the Kings playing at a top 10 pace, I’m expecting a high scoring game. Looking at the last few times these teams have played, we’ve seen final scores of 124-126, 144-123, 118-113. 124-120, and 120-105. If it’s not broke, why fix it.

I’ll play the first half over 111 and full game over 219 with my model making this game 221.


Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings

Pick Scottie Barnes Over 2.5 assists (-155)
Book <!–DraftKings–>DraftKings

Brandon Anderson: Don’t look now, but Scottie Barnes is the Rookie of the Year favorite.

He elevates his teammates, with an innate passing ability for a guy his size and age. And once Barnes missed a few games and got some more help from the return of his teammates, we’ve seen Scottie’s role shift.

In his last seven games, he’s down to 12.1 shots per game, and his scoring has dropped to 13.6 PPG. But he’s doubled his assists line to 4.0 APG, with at least four assists in six of those seven games.

And that’s the angle we’re playing tonight. Barnes was one of the best passers in the entire draft — not for his age, not for his position, just best full stop. The dude played point guard as a 6-foot-7 freshman at Florida State. He’s creative with the ball, has an improving handle, and can really make plays.

This assists line is too low. It’s going to bump to 3.5 pretty quickly and may even move beyond that by season’s end. Barnes is a guy who will average five or more assists a game eventually in his career, and that may be setting the bar too low considering he’s already at 4.0 APG in this stretch.

I’ll play the over here to -175 as needed.