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Let’s try to boost our betting bankrolls heading into the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend by gambling on a few of these NBA Friday games.
There are nine games scheduled to tip-off Friday in the Association and I have gambling looks in Pelicans-Pistons, Knicks-Wizards, and Nuggets-Clippers.
You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my recently launched NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed.
(Buyer beware: It’s the “load management” era in the NBA and players are sitting out more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports before betting.)
New Orleans Pelicans (25-17) at Detroit Pistons (12-33)
We are betting our third consecutive Pelicans Over after cashing back-to-back Overs in NOLA games earlier this week. The Pelicans are 3-0 Over/Under (O/U) in their last three games and 15-5 O/U on the road with a +5.7 O/U margin.
The Pistons have gone Over the total in five of their last six games including three consecutive as well. Detroit scores four more points per game (PPG) at home compared to on the road and is 13-5-1 O/U as home ‘dogs with a +8.1 O/U margin.
This Pelicans-Pistons total has been steamed from a 233-point opener up to the current number (234). This has to be sharp action because how many casual NBA fans are betting a Pelicans-Pistons Over?
Furthermore, New Orleans is missing its two best offensive players. The Pelicans are without All-Stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram yet this total is climbing.
However, with Ingram and Zion out of the lineup, there is less ball stopping on the Pelicans and they play at a faster pace. The Pistons are playing at the second-fastest pace in the NBA this month.
Neither team plays closes out aggressively on 3-pointers. New Orleans and Detroit are bottom-10 in wide-open 3-point rate allowed and top-10 in wide-open 3-point attempts.
“Wide-open 3s” are defined by 3-point shooters having at least six feet of distance from the closest defender. We don’t even need efficient offense for this Over to cash if we get a faster pace and wide-open 3s.
Finally, this Pelicans-Pistons total is 234 while their first meeting had a 228.5-point total on Dec. 7. This raises red flags for me because both teams were healthier then and they scored a combined 202 points.
NBA Best Bet #1: OVER 234 in Pelicans-Pistons (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
New York Knicks (23-19) at Washington Wizards (18-24)
The Knicks have been easy money as road favorites, and on the road in general, since the beginning of last season. Over that span, NYK is 12-6 against the spread (ATS) as road favorites with a +4.9 ATS margin.
Also, the Knicks are 24-7 ATS in their last 31 road games dating back to last year and 4-1 ATS in their last five visits to Washington. This season, NYK is 4-1 ATS as road favorites with a +9.5 ATS margin.
Over the past two weeks, the Knicks are 5-1 straight up (SU) and 4-2 ATS. They have the third-best non-garbage time net rating at +8.5 and the sixth-best ATS margin at +5.3 during that stretch, per CleaningTheGlass.com.
Furthermore, NYK’s leading scorer, Julius Randle, plays better on the road. Randle shoots almost 3% better away from the Garden (47.1-44.2%) and nearly 12% better from behind the arc (39.6-28.0%). The Knicks go as Randle goes mostly.
The Wizards could be without three-four starters. Washington All-Star Bradley Beal has been ruled out and PF Kristaps Porzingis, PG Monte Morris and C Daniel Gafford are all “questionable” to play.
There’s been heavy sharp line movement toward New York. This game opened with the Knicks -3 but quickly got up to -4 and now -4.5. Granted, we are getting a little late to the party on the NYK but I like it all the way up to -5.
NBA Best Bet #2: New York Knicks -4.5 (-115) at DraftKings, up to -5
Denver Nuggets (28-13) at Los Angeles Clippers (22-21)
Speaking of “easy money,” if you bet the Under for every Clippers’ home game you’d be up at least a dozen units currently. LAC is 3-18 O/U at home this season with a -10.8 O/U margin.
Furthermore, the Clippers have gone Under the total in five of their last six games against teams with a 60% winning rate or better. Five straight Nuggets-Clippers meetings have gone Under the total as well.
Denver is 20th in possessions per 48 minutes (pace) and LAC is 22nd. A slower pace leads to fewer possessions, which is what we want for an Under bet. Plus the Nuggets are 24th in 3-point-attempt rate.
Both are solid defensive rebounding teams but don’t force a lot of turnovers. This suggests there could be a lot of long, one-and-done possessions that are closed out with defensive rebounds.
Moreover, both teams are a little banged-up. Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic is “questionable” to play. Jamal Murray technically is listed as “probable” but left Denver’s previous game with an injury early in the fourth quarter.
LAC on the other hand are still without All-Star Paul George and sharp-shooting two-guard Luke Kennard. Sans George the Clippers don’t really have a point guard. Kennard’s absence greatly affects LAC’s floor-spacing.
NBA Best Bet #3: UNDER 224.5 in Nuggets-Clippers (-110) at DraftKings
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