We’re just three days into the NBA season and things have already gotten crazy with overtime games and Curry flurries from beyond the arc.
Friday’s slate brings 10 more exciting matchups, and our NBA staff has four best bets which you can find below for tonight’s full slate.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|New York Knicks vs Orlando Magic||7 p.m. ET|
|Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics||7:30 p.m ET|
|Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers||10:10 p.m. ET|
New York Knicks vs Orlando Magic
|Pick||RJ Barrett over 20.5 Points + Rebounds (-115)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Joe Dellera: RJ Barrett played an absurd 47 minutes in the Knicks’ double-overtime victory over the Celtics. Does that mean he will see a little rest against the Magic? With head coach Tom Thibedeau at the helm, I doubt it.
Barrett has developed into a strong scorer over the past few months, and with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier added into the starting lineup, Barrett has greater opportunities to snag rebounds since neither is elite in that area. The Magic are not a good shooting basketball team, and there should be plenty of opportunities to clean the glass in this game.
While the Knicks have undergone some roster reconstruction over the offseason, over Barrett’s past 30 games, he’s gone over this 20.5 Points + Rebounds line 21-of-30 times, with a median output of 25.
I’m playing this at PointsBet, which has the least amount of juice of any book (-115), but I would bet this up to 21.5 with confidence.
New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic
|Pick||Kemba Walker Over 7.5 Rebounds + Assists|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: Knicks fans are gonna love Kemba Walker. Kemba is finally back home in New York, though he hits the road for Orlando in this one.
While I expect a big scoring season from Walker, we’re playing the secondary stats in this one with a focus on rebounds and assists. The Knicks are coming off a grueling double-overtime game in the season opener. Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, and Evan Fournier all played huge minutes — but Kemba played “only” 36 so he could have some fresher legs tonight.
Walker had eight rebounds in the opener, and though that won’t always happen of course, he does typically average around four per game. His assists are usually around five or six per game for his career. Kemba averages 10.2 rebounds + assists per game for his career, so why is this line so much lower?
I think it’s an overreaction to the three assists Kemba had in the opener. There was a whole of of Julius Randle time on the ball as Randle had a huge line, and Kemba got just the three dimes. But coming into this game, folks paying attention to the preseason were actually wondering if just the opposite might be true.
Walker had averaged 4.7 APG in 20.5 MPG during the preseason, with an assist every 4.4 minutes being actually well up from his recent production, with many fantasy pundits left wondering if Randle might actually cede some passing this year. After a huge minutes game, this could be a great spot for Kemba to shoulder more of the load. Besides, Kemba had six potential assists in the opener anyway — his teammates just missed a few of his dimes.
Even last year with the Celtics when Walker was hurt all year and never really found a rhythm, he went over 7.5 RA in 31 of his 43 games, going over this line 72% of the time. And in half of those 12 unders, he missed by a single rebound or assist.
This is the top prop on the board in our Props Tool for the Knicks-Magic game. We’re projecting Kemba at 9.0 rebounds + assists, and this line is low enough that Kemba is always a threat to go over it on either one of those stat categories alone, just like he did in the opener. We’re rating it a 10 out of 10, and you have to love it at plus juice. Let’s add it to our PLUS JUICE DAY!! plays over in today’s props piece.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
|Pick||Under 218.5 (-110)|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Raheem Palmer: All of the Celtics’ stars logged heavy minutes, and this early into the season, it wasn’t a surprise to see their stars fade towards the end of the game.
Jaylen Brown dropped 46 points but missed a crucial dunk in overtime that would have given the Celtics a three-point lead in overtime. I can’t help but believe there’s a carry over effect here in this spot in an early season game where teams are still finding their legs.
Nonetheless, they are facing an offensively inept Toronto Raptors team that could only muster 0.77 points per possession against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Although they likely won’t shoot 7-of-34 from behind the arc every night, things won’t get much easier against the C’s who have the length to make things tough on the Raptors.
Overall, I expect the Celtics to project as a better defensive team than the Wizards, so I’m not seeing the Raptors putting up a huge scoring outburst in this spot.
However, I do think this is a Raptors team that is solid defensively with OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes in the lineup to throw at Jayson Tatum and Brown. They held the Wizards to 0.92 points per possession on Wednesday, so we know this team can defend.
With the officials looking to reduce the amount of fouls, the Raptors projecting as an offense that still struggles to score in the half court and the Celtics coming off an early season overtime game, I think this is a good spot to play an under.
I played the under at 219, but I like this bet down to 217.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
|Pick||LeBron James Over 2.5 3-Pointers (+115)|
|Tipoff||10:10 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: It has become abundantly clear in the past few years that LeBron James is trying to shoot more 3s. He’s averaged 6.3 attempts from deep over the past two seasons, and he came out on opening night and took 11 triples, hitting five of them. That spoke to what seemed to be a strategy for the Lakers — chucking up 3-pointers in bunches.
L.A. was missing its only real shooters due to injury and still took 42 3s, which accounted for over 44% of its shots. I’d back James here to hit the over on his 3-pointer prop, which comes at plus money.
Not only did James look incredibly comfortable with his 3-point stroke in Tuesday’s loss to the Warriors, he’ll see the Suns Friday, a team that just allowed the Nuggets to knock down 43.6% of their shots from deep in a season-opening loss.
James went 3-for-8 from downtown the first time he saw the Suns last season and averaged three makes on eight attempts in the six postseason games they played.
We’ll have to see how the season develops for James, but in his older age it’s certainly possible he’s trying to play a bit more around the perimeter to save his body for later in the season. It sure looked like that in the Lakers’ first game.