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Truth be told, it’s been a terrible week for ya boy in the NBA but a lot of my beats were coin-flip scenarios that didn’t go my way. Oh well. No one feels sorry for me nor should they.
That said, I’m getting back on that horse and taking a couple of shots in the NBA’s 5-game Friday card. My gambling looks are in the Grizzlies-Timberwolves, Raptors-Warriors and Magic-Heat matchups.
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 Monday-Friday.
(Word to the wise: It’s the “load management” era in the NBA and random injury news. NBA players are sitting out more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports before betting.)
Memphis Grizzlies (31-17) at Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25) at 7:30 p.m. ET
These teams are split 1-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) this season with the home team winning and covering both. The T-Wolves are 3-0 SU and ATS vs. the Grizzlies at home since 2021.
The most important factors for my Grizzlies-Timberwolves handicap is Memphis’ injury situation and Minnesota wing Anthony Edwards‘ recent play.
Memphis could have cluster injuries to its backcourt. Grizzlies SG Desmond Bane is “questionable” to play and SG John Konchar has already been ruled out.
The injury to Grizzlies’ big Steven Adams also plays a bigger role in this game because of T-Wolves big Rudy Gobert who should own the boards and is by far the biggest paint presence on the floor.
Gobert, a 3-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, can make it difficult for Ja Morant to get to the rim. Minnesota is eighth in defensive field goal shooting at the rim, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Edwards is ballin’ as well this month and has played well vs. Memphis this season. He is averaging 26.5 PPG in January and 28.5 PPG against the Grizzlies on 71.0% true shooting (.588/.500/.857) with a +30 net rating.
Memphis could be fatigued from its current 5-game road trip. The Grizzlies just played a tightly contested battle at the Golden State Warriors Wednesday that could’ve taken a toll.
Finally, most of the market is hammering Memphis laying the points here but the line isn’t really budging. Perhaps the T-Wolves become +4 ‘dogs closer to tip-off but, for now, let’s lock in Minnesota at the current price.
NBA Best Bet #1: Timberwolves +3 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +2.5
Toronto Raptors (22-27) at Golden State Warriors (24-24) at 10 p.m. ET
The Warriors slapped around the Raptors 126-110 in Toronto as 6-point road underdogs in their first meeting this season on Dec. 18. The Raptors won the rebounding and turnover battle but couldn’t make any shots.
Golden State was missing Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins for that game. My hunch is the market will feel the Warriors -5 is a good price. It does feel cheap and frankly too good to be true.
Toronto was missing two starters against Golden State earlier this season: SG Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby. Since the Raptors play their starters a lot, these losses loomed large that day.
Also, the Raptors have a massive strength-on-weakness edge in ball-security. Toronto leads the NBA in in turnover rate (TOV%) on both ends of the floor. Golden State is 29th in offensive TOV%.
Furthermore, the Raptors lead the league in points off of turnovers per game and the Warriors are 29th in points off of turnovers allowed per game.
Based on Golden State’s recent rotations and change to the starting 5, Toronto will be able to grab offensive rebounds. The Warriors replaced big Kevon Looney in the starting 5 with combo guard Jordan Poole.
We may lose this edge if Wiggins — who is “questionable” — misses Friday because Looney would replace him in the starting lineup. But, if Wiggins misses, then the Warriors are missing a key piece to their defense.
Anywho, the Raptors are 4th in offensive rebounding rate and 2nd in second-chance points per game (PPG). Even if Looney starts, Toronto’s a good enough offensive rebounding team to still do damage in this area.
NBA Best Bet #2: Raptors +5 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +4.5
Orlando Magic (19-29) at Miami Heat (27-22) at 8 p.m. ET
This is the first Magic-Heat meeting of the season and both teams have better defensive ratings than offensive. Each are bottom-10 in offensive shot quality, per CTG, and play at a below-average pace.
Also, both have a below-average effective field goal shooting rate, below-average offensive rebounding rate and are ranked 11th or better in defensive FT/FGA rate.
Miami struggles to get wide-open 3-point attempts because it cannot space the floor without 3-point specialist SG Duncan Robinson.
However, the Heat’s defense lead the NBA in wide-open 3-point-attempt rate allowed. “Wide-open 3s” are defined by the shooter having at least six feet of distance between he and the nearest defender.
Orlando has a lot of size to clog the paint against Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and Miami leads the league in paint PPG allowed.
This feels like a sell-high spot for Orlando’s offense. The Magic have gone Over the total in four of their last five games. The Heat have held their opponents to less than 100 points in four of their last six games.
The line movement is kinda confirming my instinct here. Magic-Heat opened with a 222.5-point total. It’s been lowered to the current number (219.5) despite nearly two-thirds of the action at DraftKings being on the Over, per VSIN.
NBA Best Bet #3: UNDER 219.5 in Magic-Heat (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to 219
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