The NBA is back in action this Friday, and the nine-game card is loaded with action. I’m staying away from the games on the national market (Knicks/Bucks, Pelicans/Warriors) to target a pair of smaller-market players.
Here are my top NBA betting picks for Friday’s action.
Written Picks YTD: 17-10-0 (+11.08u)
Total Picks YTD: 32-24-0 (+17.50u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for any other plays.
1. Buddy Hield o14.5 Points | -118 (.5u) at FD Sportsbook
2. Buddy Hield o3.5 Made Threes | +100 (.5u) at FD Sportsbook
Let’s split a unit on these two Buddy Hield props. We want to save some bankroll for a teased-up SGP I’ll discuss later.
There are three key reasons for target Hield tonight, but the most significant is how awful the Hornets have played against opposing small forwards. They allow the second-most points (26.2) and the ninth-most made threes (3.31) to the position. While some may view Hield as more of a shooting guard, he has spent 93% of his minutes at the three spot because of how many talented guards Sacramento has on its roster. And it’s not like the Hornets are any better at defending twos — they give up the second-most points (26.3) and second-most made threes (4.25) to the position.
Next, these teams play at top-five paces. The Hornets rank fourth (103.8) and the Kings rank fifth (103.7), so Hield should get plenty of chances to shoot the ball tonight. Hield is also pretty fresh — he only had to play 23 minutes in a commanding win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
Lastly, Hield absolutely toasted the Hornets last season. He went for 30 points on 8-of-15 from beyond the arc in their first meeting (good for his season-high in makes) and for 23 points on 5-of-11 from deep in the second. We don’t even need him to have those kinds of numbers tonight to cash these props.
3. De’Aaron Fox o6.5 Assists | +116 at FD Sportsbook
Fox has gotten off to a slow start this year, especially scoring-wise. He is averaging just 17.9 points per game thus far; he averaged 25.2 last year. And unfortunately for him, this isn’t the best team to turn things around against — the Hornets surrender the fewest points per game to point guards (18.5).
So if opposing ones aren’t scoring against Charlotte, what do they do instead? Pass. The Hornets allow the seventh-most assists per game to the position (9.56) and the fifth-most overall assists per game (26.1). Passing is exactly what Fox did against the Hornets last year. He recorded 14 assists in their first meeting (a season-high) and eight in their second.
Of course, it’s important to note that Fox’s usage rate has fallen since last season. He recorded a 30.4% last year but is at just 27.2% this year. His minutes per game have actually increased, too, which is all the more concerning. But Fox still averages 6.5 assists per game and has gone over this total three times. He also still leads the Kings in assist rate with a respectable 27%. The books are offering this line too far into the plus money to pass it up.
4. SGP: Hield 20+ PTS + Hield 4+ 3PT + Fox 8+ AST | +1035 (.1u) at FD Sportsbook
Here’s the SGP you’ve been waiting for. I love the value here because it hit in both games between these teams last year. Books are fading Fox far too much because of his slump, so we’re getting his assists line at +200. Davion Mitchell’s arrival may sap Fox of some usage, but he has recorded at least eight assists three times this season. The books also aren’t adjusting enough for correlation — Fox passed to Hield for four of his eight three-pointers when these teams played last February.
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