Both games are among the four our analysts are betting along with a total and prop showing value in two other matchups on the slate. Check out their top plays for Friday below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic||7 p.m. ET|
|Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets||10 p.m. ET|
|Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers||10:30 p.m. ET|
Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Austin Wang: This total has seen significant steam downward here on Friday morning as the market has bet this down from 211 to 206.5.
The Magic rank 24th in Offensive Rating (101.6) and 23rd in Effective Field Goal% (49.9%). They have the fourth-highest 3-point attempt rate (47% of field goal attempts), but are shooting at just a 33% clip. Their highest usage player, Cole Anthony, is shooting 41.3% from the field.
Meanwhile, the Raptors have been one of the most ferocious defensive team so far — fifth league-wide in Defensive Rating (100.4) — and have been able to defend the 3-pointer well, which should spell trouble for the Magic. I struggle to see them breaking 100 points in this matchup.
The Raptors are also having their struggles on offense, too. They rank 19th in Offensive Rating (104.6) and 29th in Effective FG% (47.1%). They do not have a go-to person who can score in the halfcourt with Pascal Siakam still recovering from injury and Fred VanVleet has struggled to begin the season.
The new rule changes to prevent “non-basketball moves” in an effort to draw fouls have had a ripple effect on the league. Officials are allowing more physicality and calling less fouls. This season, the average number of free throw attempts per game is 19.9, down from 21.9 last season and 23.1 in the 2019-2020 season. This has benefited the Raptors, who have developed a strong defensive identity.
These two teams rank 26th and 27th in Pace, per NBA Advanced Stats. This game will be a low-scoring grind that I predict will finish in the low 200s.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Matt Trebby: So far this season, the new-look, gritty Heat are thriving. They have the NBA’s best Defensive Rating (92.0) and the second-highest Net Rating (14.5, trailing only the Utah Jazz).
Miami is going to take on another early success story tonight in the Charlotte Hornets, who are 4-1 and have James Borrego looking like a Coach of the Year Candidate. Charlotte’s Net Rating ranks sixth in the NBA, although it’s only 5.8, which is a far cry from Miami’s impressive mark.
Three of Miami’s four games have gone to the under this season, with the only outlier being a blowout win over the very shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks. Otherwise, the Heat have held opponents to 91, 90 and 93 points.
Because of that, 223 seems rather high for a Heat game. Sure the Hornets play at the NBA’s fourth-fastest Pace and have been over machines this season, but this game is in Miami and I expect the Heat to make it their kind of matchup.
I’m going to back the much more experienced team’s style to win out here, as well as Miami to make it a real grind for the young Hornets.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets
|Pick||Under 216 (-110)|
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: The Mavericks have gone 8-8 against the spread on the second night of back-to-backs since the start of last season, and the Nuggets have been terrible ATS in almost every scenario.
With Nikola Jokic’s status up in the air, this is a very hard one to call, but I don’t know if the Nuggets would necessarily even be in a good spot if he plays.
The Mavericks have been excellent down low on the defensive end. They have the sixth-best field goal percentage allowed inside 10 feet at 53.3%, a season after ranking just outside the top 10 in that category. They’ve actually had a higher rebounding rate than the Nuggets, too, and these teams both rank 10th and 11th in Defensive Efficiency.
That said, I’m not ready to back Dallas. Not on a back-to-back, where Luka Doncic has shot 44.6% from the field and 29.2% on 3s over his career (he’s a 45.7% shooter and 33% from deep for reference).
If the Mavericks can’t get a good game from Doncic, who turned the ball over seven times on Thursday, and the Nuggets can’t get Jokic to provide scoring underneath (due to injury or good defense), I don’t see a way either team runs up the score.
There’s also the fact that both sides are in the bottom half of the league in Pace to help out the cause for the under. It’s a low number, but it’s low for a reason. I expect a rock fight.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
|Pick||Evan Mobley Over 7.5 Rebounds (-105)|
|Tipoff||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: Mobley was often pushed around at USC, but added a heap of muscle and weight this summer. That strength has helped him gobble up more rebounds, and he’s benefiting by playing at the four too, with Allen stuck facing opposing centers and playing against the biggest, strongest guys.
The healthy Lakers would certainly be a new test, but these Lakers don’t look particularly healthy. LeBron James is a question mark again, and Anthony Davis has not been cleared yet either. I do expect Davis to play, but even then he’ll probably be limited and he’s also spent over half his minutes at center this season, so Mobley is probably rebounding against guys like Carmelo Anthony and Kent Bazemore.
Mobley averaged a rebound every 3.4 minutes in the preseason, and he’s been almost as strong in the regular season. He high points rebounds well and has displayed intelligent positioning.
For all their presumed size, the Lakers have actually ranked near the bottom of the league in rebounding this year, so I’m not afraid of this matchup. I’ll just keep riding with Mobley until the books adjust this another rebound further like they should. I’ll play the over to -130.