Our NBA betting analysts are all over Friday night’s basketball slate.
You can check out our full-game breakdowns for three of tonight’s marquee matchups: 76ers vs. Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), Clippers vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET) and Suns vs. Warriors (10 p.m. ET on ESPN).
But our experts aren’t stopping there on tonight’s games. They have four more bets that they are eyeing — three full game spread and one first half bet.
Check out their analysis and best bets for Friday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards||7 p.m. ET|
|Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz||9 p.m. ET|
|Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors||10 p.m. ET|
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards
|Pick||Cavaliers 1H +2|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Austin Wang: Will someone please show the Cleveland Cavaliers some respect?
A quarter into the season, they have an 12-10 record and are almost halfway to reaching their 26.5 regular season win total. The Cavaliers continue to shut down their opponents with their stifling defense, ranked third in Defensive Rating (104.1) in the league.
Their trio of stud rookie Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro are giving their opponents fits. They are 15-7 (68.2%) against the spread and consistently outperforming market expectations.
Even better? They are 17-5 ATS in the first half, 16-3 ATS as an underdog, per our Bet Labs tool. They have an average first half margin of +2.1 overall and +11.3 in their last three games, per Team Rankings.
The Wizards have been no slouch either. They are 14-8 SU, 12-10 ATS and third seed in the Eastern Conference. However, their defense has slipped over the last few games. They are 23rd in Defensive Rating (112.0) in their last 10 games and have come back down to earth after their hot start. Bradley Beal has been struggling with his shot as of late, going a combined 16-for-41 (39%) in his previous two games.
In addition, the Wizards are only 9-12-1 ATS in the first half and have gone 1-7 ATS in their last eight games. They tend to get off to a slow start in their games, the opposite of the Cavaliers.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Kenny Ducey: It may not seem like it yet considering the wins keep rolling in, but the Nets are going to miss Joe Harris. In fact, Brooklyn has covered in just one of the seven games it has played without him, which was a win over Boston.
Against some great defenses, it has been hard for the Nets to score from outside. That’s what they like to do, too. Brooklyn has taken the fewest shots per game inside the restricted area in the NBA this year, and has relied heavily on its guard play and some shot creation by James Harden and Kevin Durant. The Timberwolves have the personnel here to combat that scoring with the seventh-best defensive rating in the NBA.
This line would seem to indicate that Karl-Anthony Towns is not playing, and even if that were the case I’d still take Minnesota to keep this thing close. Its defense translates with or without its stars, and with the Nets struggling mightily with putting away opponents, I don’t see much changing against a very good defensive group.
Should Towns play, as well, he’ll have a clear advantage inside against a weak Brooklyn frontcourt. This is a great buy early in the day, and it could turn into a tremendous value if Towns gives it a go. If he doesn’t, I wouldn’t expect this line to jump that much higher.
Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: Sometimes, I like to keep it nice and easy.
If you’re a regular reader of our staff best bets column, you’ve seen me back the Jazz in this spot before. All season long, I’ve been playing the Jazz as a 5-to-9.5 point favorite. There’s not a ton more analysis, and it’s pretty boring and vanilla doing the same pick over and over again. But you might describe the Jazz the same way, and both the pick and the Jazz keep winning so let’s stick with what works.
Since the calendar turned to 2021, the Jazz are 27-9 ATS as a favorite of 5-to-9.5 points. That’s a whopping 75% cover rate on games in that range, and the Jazz are covering by an average of 5.4 PPG. That trend is also 6-2 on the new season, again right at 75% cover rate.
But the trend tonight is even stronger because the Jazz are at home. We know Utah is always great at home in the elevation with a distinct home-court advantage. And sure enough, when we add in Utah as the home team to our criteria, the Jazz move to a sizzling 15-3 ATS in 2021, with that cover margin increasing to 7.4 PPG as Utah covers an amazing 83% of the time.
We never really know which version of the Celtics we’ll get, and Jaylen Brown being out certainly won’t help, but we pretty much know the Jazz will show up. Utah has ranked near the top of the league on both offense and defense all season yet again, and the Jazz are actually second in Net Rating at Basketball Reference, ahead of the Phoenix Suns on that incredible win streak.
Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: Stephen Curry is coming off the worst game of his career, a performance in which he scored 12 points on 4-of-21 (19%) shooting while finishing just 3-of-14 (21.4%) from the field.
Throughout his career, Curry has just 15 games in his career including the postseason (894) where he shot below 20% from the field. Although we need to give credit to Mikal Bridges and the 18-3 Suns for putting Curry in a straitjacket all night long, Curry has shot under 20% from the field just 1.67% of the time throughout his career.
Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear that won’t be happening again. Despite the poor performance, the Warriors were still down just two points headed into the fourth quarter and were down just three points headed into the final three minutes of the game. When you consider the Warriors also had 23 turnovers in addition to getting the worst game of Curry’s career, it’s clear the Warriors are in for a prime bounce back spot tonight against the Suns who have won 17 straight games after starting the season 1-3.
The Warriors are the better team and are 11-1 at home this season. With my model making home court advantage at 2.45 points this season and the Suns missing Devin Booker look for the Warriors to clean up the turnovers and score more efficiently on this Suns defense that is allowing opposing teams to shoot 35.5% from behind the arc — 17th among NBA teams.