It’s finally Friday! Along with the weekend being just hours away, it also means we’re getting a full slate of NBA games to bet tonight.
Among the 11 matchups on the schedule, we’ll see a national TV doubleheader featuring four teams in the top-eight of the respective conferences: Nets vs. Pelicans (7:30 p.m. ET) and Heat vs. Suns (10 p.m. ET).
Our betting analysts are targeting two more matchups on the slate. Check out their expert picks and predictions for those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Charlotte Hornets vs. Milwaukee Bucks||8 p.m. ET|
|Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers||10:30 p.m. ET|
Charlotte Hornets vs. Milwaukee Bucks
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The last game for the Bucks saw the game open with a truly remarkable first quarter in which the Toronto Raptors didn’t score until there was 5:18 left to go.
Toronto ended up scoring just 12 points for the quarter, thanks in part, to the Bucks stingy defense. Still, the Raptors were somehow only down by one point entering the second quarter thanks to the Bucks sometime-embarrassing offense.
Milwaukee is still a respectable 10th in the league in Adjusted Net Rating according to Dunks and Threes, despite just seven games from Khris Middleton. However, without the offensive threat of their All-Star wing, the Bucks are getting there primarily with defense. They rank third in the league at 109.4 in Adjusted Defensive Rating, but their Adjusted Offensive Rating of 111.1 ranks 24th.
Bad offense and good defense is always a good recipe for unders, especially when the other team struggles offensively like Charlotte does. The Hornets’ Adjusted Offensive Rating of 108.7 is the worst in the league, but their Adjusted Defensive Rating is somewhat concerning at 26th (115.3).
Even if the Hornets defense can’t stop Giannis and the Bucks, there’s a chance they don’t break 100 against Milwaukee, who matches up particularly well. The Hornets get a healthy diet of shots at the rim, ranking fourth in Rim Rate (38.6%), but the Bucks defense allows the fifth-fewest shots at the rim (30.7%).
Bucks games have gone over three of the last five games, and last game for the Hornets went over by 1.5, but the previous six Charlotte games went under. To top it off, seven of the last 10 meetings between these teams have gone under including the last four in a row. Take the under down to 230.5.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
|Tipoff||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Chris Baker: The Lakers got the better of this team on LeBron James’ birthday a week ago but the Hawks shot just 28% from three in that one. This Hawks team lives too much in the mid-range and doesn’t get up enough threes but that problem seemed to get solved a little bit against the Lakers last week as they took 36% of their shots from deep.
These shots didn’t fall but the Hawks were still allocating heavy minutes to guys like Jalen Johnson, Frank Kaminsky, and Aaron Holiday in that one. With De’Andre Hunter back in the lineup they have been able to shrink their lineup and we saw none of those poor bench players exceed more than 17 minutes.
The big problem for this Hawks team has been losing the math game all year as they rank just 29th in 3-point attempt rate on the year. The Lakers don’t present them with any math issues as they rank just 28th in three point rate and allow the 19th highest opponent three point rate on the defensive end.
The Hawks should be able to generate clean looks from beyond the arc. The Hawks also have a matchup advantage as they rank as the seventh-best transition defense according to Cleaning the Glass. This is huge when facing a Lakers team that ranks sixth in transition rate.
If the Hawks can force the Lakers to play in the half court the Lakers should struggle as they will be without key offensive contributors Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves for this one. Reaves has been easily the Lakers best player by net rating swing (+9.2) on the season.
His absence will be felt here and when you consider Troy Brown Jr, Russell Westbrook, and James are all also being listed questionable, I’m not really sure why we are getting the Hawks at such a cheap price. Hawks closed -6 at home a week ago and now get to face a banged-up Lakers team and now they are at just -2?
Keep in mind John Collins only played 23 minutes in the first matchup and there was no Hunter. This line should be closer to -5 with no Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker so I will gladly take the Hawks at -2 and play this up to -3.