76ers Over Magic and Friday’s NBA Predictions
Thursday night provided a wild ride in the NBA, with the Rockets and Warriors capping a solid six-game slate with an insane double overtime finish. Houston shocked with their first win against the Dubs in eight tries, which capped a pretty up and down night when it came to NBA predictions.
We at least broke even on the night (3-3), as we had easy calls with Bucks and Hornets wins, but had one sweet underdog call in the Clippers taking down the Cavs in Cleveland. Unfortunately we didn’t anticipate the Grizzlies winning with just nine guys and we expected Houston’s bad run against the Warriors to roll on.
Such is life in the NBA betting world, of course.
It could get even crazier on Friday, when nine games hit the hardwood and several of the matchups feel like toss-ups. If you plan on throwing down any bets, be sure to check in with our matchup breakdown to see who might escape with a win:
Our upset NBA pick of the night is the Sixers notching their fifth win of the year, which would also mark their fifth win at home. That’s where they are tonight, and where they play their best ball. They’ll have Joel Embiid on hand (with a raised minutes restriction) and they’ll be uber fresh after having Wednesday’s title with the Kings postponed.
Orlando has been grinding at a disgusting rate, with just one opponent scoring more than 95 points in their last six games. Their defense and slow pace can lull teams into a deep, dark sleep, but they aren’t actually any good, themselves. That could still help them beat a somewhat inferior Philly team, but Orlando’s weak 3-6 home mark continues to be troubling.
The Lakers head to Canada at less than full strength, as D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young won’t be on hand. That should be bad news, as the Lakers are just 4-6 on the road and they’ll be facing a really tough Raptors team (6-3 at home).
The Lakers oddly compete with just about everyone and they’re a respectable 10-10 right now, but this isn’t a good spot to bet on them. Toronto has been picking up steam at home and L.A. can’t defend Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan. Even Jonas Valanciunas should have his way down low tonight in a game Vegas figures to be a blowout. We tend to agree.
The Timberwolves and Knicks face off for this second time in the past week tonight, as this inter-conference series shifts to Madison Square Garden. The last game was fairly tight, with New York pulling out a nice road win.
The Timberwolves were favored in that game, where Karl-Anthony Towns went absolutely nuts down low. Obviously, New York can’t stop him, but they did a decent job elsewhere and showed up offensively, themselves.
We can probably expect another close game and a big game from KAT, but the Knicks have largely been tough at home (7-3) and the Wolves tend to shrink on the road (2-7). With the spread being so small, it doesn’t make much sense to reach for Minnesota here. We’ll take Melo and co. to cover.
The Kings enter Boston extremely fresh, as their last game was cancelled. Boston is reasonably fresh, as well, though, and they’ll be at home with a very favorable matchup in front of them.
Isaiah Thomas could get some revenge against the team that originally drafted him, too. He’s been a scoring monster all year, averaging over 26 points per game. It’s unlikely his hot run goes cold here, while the Celtics are the healthiest they’ve been all season with Jae Crowder and Al Horford both back in the lineup.
DeMarcus Cousins is always a handful and has a nice four-game run of 30+ points scored, but he’s largely by himself. Considering the Kings are just 7-11 on the year and 3-6 on the road, it doesn’t make much sense to buy them beating a solid Boston team on the road. That being said, they’re fresh and Boston doesn’t have anyone to contain Boogie. He should be huge again tonight as the Kings beat the spread in a tight, high-scoring affair.
The betting info isn’t out yet for this Cavs vs. Bulls battle at the United Center. Cleveland just played last night and could rest some star players – most notably LeBron James. Dwyane Wade has been a nightly rest risk for the Bulls, as well.
I highly doubt he’ll sit this one out, though, and his battles with buddy LeBron James have been pretty epic:
The Game. The Closer. The Trade. Take a look at some of the best Bulls vs. Cavs moments over the years:
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls)
The Cavs figure to be the favorite if everyone is active, however, as they dropped a tough game against the Clippers last night and have now lost two straight. Chicago on the road might be a tough spot, but the defending champs should be focused and driven to take this divisional battle.
The Bulls have looked solid this year and this is a crucial game for the top of the Central Division, though, so this feels like a classic pick’em. The Bulls are a sneaky bet here, but we don’t love the odds of Cleveland losing a third straight game.
This is another tough game to call, as the Pistons are playing well defensively and come into Atlanta tonight a little hot with two straight wins. The betting info is slow to get out for this one, too, as Hawks big man Paul Millsap (hip) missed the team’s last game and could be iffy to play in this one, too.
Atlanta feels like a safe pick at home, here they’re 6-2 on the year, but they’ve slipped considerably lately and are stuck in a four-game losing streak. Few things cure bad runs like a home game, however, and Atlanta is fully capable of defending at a high level, just like the Pistons. As long as Millsap can take the court, we’ll take the Hawks to get off the schneid.
The Clippers are another team that played last night and could be a little tired. This date in New Orleans actually has the makings of a trap game, as they got up to play (and beat) the Cavs in Cleveland last night and could be too tired to pull out another road win.
It’s a fair argument, especially considering the Pelicans have enjoyed most of their success (5 of 7 wins) at home and have also been much more cohesive ever since Jrue Holiday (personal) returned to the court. He’s starting again, too, so the Pellies are looking a little more dangerous than usual, while Anthony Davis is also flat out wrecking at home.
We picked the Clippers to get the upset last night, but on no rest, they’re a prime upset candidate on the road tonight. The lines aren’t out yet, but we’ll take the Pels to beat any spread and like their chances at a full upset win.
The Spurs haven’t looked quite like themselves in their past two games, where they lost to the Magic and let both Orlando and Dallas control the pace of their games. Things should change greatly tonight, as John Wall and the Wiz promise to speed things up in San Antonio.
Normally the Spurs are such an easy pick against an inferior opponent, but their 4-4 home record is certainly cause for pause. It’s also possible Wall and co. get out to an early lead and run away with their speed and scoring.
I’m not loving that narrative, however, as Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge should dominate this matchup on paper and Washington (1-6 on the road) just hasn’t been consistent (or very good) this year. Instead, look for the Spurs to run a bit before tightening up their defense late to get their fifth home win of the year.
The Rockets and Nuggets clash for what could be a very intense game in Denver tonight. The Rockets could easily be in for a letdown after beating the Warriors in 2OT last night, but it’s tough to hate on them too much against a banged up Nuggets team that is just 3-6 on their own floor.
The one thing we can bank on here is the Over, as these teams both can pour on the points and don’t defend much at all. Denver feels like the weaker pick, too, simply because Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris and Will Barton are all banged up and could be out.
With the Nuggets not being 100% or even reliable on their own floor, we tentatively take the tired Rockets to win their second game in a row.
Pick: Rockets 108, Nuggets 104