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Yesterday was a horror movie for me in the NBA, taking a 0-3 dump after starting the week 7-1. I jinxed myself by running my stupid piehole during the NBA gambling show on the OutKick Bets podcast feed.
Instead of crying about it, I’m going to handicap the NBA’s Friday slate angry and get my money back. My favorite looks in the 10-game NBA card are for Knicks-Heat, Suns-Bulls, and Grizzlies-Nuggets.
BUYER BEWARE: We are in the NBA’s “load management” era. It might be best to wait until the final injury reports are released before placing a bet.
New York Knicks (37-27) at Miami Heat (33-30), 8 p.m. ET
In their four games since the All-Star break, the Knicks have the best net rating (nRTG) in the NBA at +17.3. They have won seven straight since trading for wing Josh Hart. The Knicks are 6-0-1 against the spread (ATS) in those games.
Miami on the other hand has the 3rd-worst nRTG following the All-Star break at -13.4. The Heat is 1-3 straight up (SU) and ATS in those four games.
Also, judging by the line movement, Miami’s Jimmy Butler is unlikely to play. Butler is “questionable” as of 1:30 p.m ET and NYK has gone from +1.5 to -3.5 at the time of writing.
The Knicks upset the Heat 106-104 as 3-point ‘dogs at home in their 1st meeting this season in Feb. But, Butler played in that game, NYK was missing starting C Mitchell Robinson, and it was before the Hart trade.
New York scores 25.0 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Hart is on the floor and 9.6 when Robinson is in the game, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Finally, NYK is 7-2 straight up (SU) and ATS as road favorites with a +8.8 SU margin and +5.3 ATS margin. The Heat are 6-9 ATS at home vs. teams with a winning record and 9-10 ATS as underdogs with a -5.8 SU margin.
NBA Best Bet #1: Knicks -3
Phoenix Suns (34-29) at Chicago Bulls (29-34), 8 p.m. ET
Chicago is 2nd behind the Knicks in nRTG since the All-Star game at +16.6 on the strength of the 2nd-best defensive rating over that span.
The Bulls signed PG Patrick Beverley shortly after the trade deadline. Between Pat Bev and SG Alex Caruso, Chicago has the backcourt defense to give Suns guard Chris Paul and Devin Booker trouble.
Also, there is suspicious line movement headed towards Chicago in the betting market. Per VSIN, more than 85% of the action at DraftKings is on the Suns yet they’ve gone from -6 to -3.5.
This is especially worrisome considering Phoenix smacked Chicago 132-113 back in November. Also, the Bulls only beat the lowly Pistons 117-115 in their previous outing.
Now that Phoenix has Kevin Durant and is the favorite to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, the Suns will be a “public team” in the betting market.
The Bulls have regressed since last season and are on the outside looking into the playoffs. Based on their popularity, the Suns should be laying at least 5 points Friday.
Phoenix went all-in for KD and doesn’t have a lot of depth. If either Durant or Booker have an off-night, it’s going to be tough for the Suns to cover as favorites.
As crazy as it sounds, Bulls wings Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan can mostly offset KD and Booker’s production and Chicago’s role players will step up at home.
NBA Best Bet #2: Bulls +3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +3
- Betting strategy: Wait until closer to tip-off because if money keeps pouring in on the Suns, there could be a better number for the Bulls if we are patient.
Memphis Grizzlies (38-23) at Denver Nuggets (44-19), 10 p.m. ET
I whiffed with the Nuggets plus the points when these teams met last week and the Grizzlies won 112-95 at home. But now that they are back in Denver, I’m going back to the well with the Nuggets.
As home favorites vs. teams with a winning record, the Nuggets are 9-0 overall with a +14.9 margin of victory (MoV) and 7-2 ATS with a +8.6 ATS margin.
The Grizzlies are an NBA-worst 1-8 ATS as road underdogs with a -15.4 MoV and -11.6 ATS margin. In fact, their efficiency falls off a cliff on the road.
Memphis is 2nd in the NBA for non-garbage time nRTG at +5.7, according to CTG. But, on the road, the Grizzlies have a -1.6 adjusted nRTG, which ranks 10th in the NBA.
Denver’s elite defensive wing Aaron Gordon missed the previous Grizzlies-Nuggets meeting on Feb. 25th. The Nuggets score 20.4 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Gordon is playing.
Finally, we should see a more aggressive Nikola Jokic. He scored just 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting vs. the Grizzlies last week. But, Jokic has the biggest player mismatch on the floor since Memphis is missing starting big Steven Adams.
NBA Best Bet #3: Nuggets -4.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5.5
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