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I’m using the 11-game NBA Friday card as a means to boost my betting bankroll entering Super Bowl weekend. My gambling looks are in the matchups of Suns-Pacers, Jazz-Raptors, and Cavaliers-Pelicans.
You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my 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.)
Phoenix Suns (30-26) at Indiana Pacers (25-31), 7 p.m. ET
My Suns-Pacers handicap boils down to Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton not being good enough anymore to carry Phoenix past a solid Indiana squad on the road.
Maybe I’m wrong. CP3 could turn back the clock against a bad Pacers defense. And Ayton has a lot of untapped potential. However, Ayton hasn’t played well this season and his stock has fallen.
Indiana big Myles Turner could neutralize and/or out-play Ayton. The Suns beat the Pacers 112-107 in their 1st meeting this season on Jan. 21. Granted, Phoenix was without Ayton, CP3, and Devin Booker. All of whom should play Friday.
But, Indiana was without All-Star PG Tyrese Haliburton. This ties back into my 1st point, which is CP3 is old and less reliable this season whereas Haliburton is ascending.
Phoenix sent two starters — Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson — to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant who will be sidelined until post-All-Star break. The Suns are still without backup guards Landry Shamet and PG Cameron Payne.
The Pacers are 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS at home vs. opponents who are on the 2nd of a back-to-back (B2B). They have +5.5 SU margin and +2.7 ATS margin in those spots.
Indiana is an NBA-best 7-2 ATS when playing with a rest advantage with a +4.8 ATS margin. The Pacers play at the 6th-fastest pace, which makes them difficult to face on short rest.
The Suns are 3-5 ATS on the 2nd of a B2B this season with a -5.3 ATS margin. Mostly because their PG is old and their roster is thin due to injuries. Both of those things are true entering this game as well.
Let’s roll with …
NBA Best Bet #1: Pacers -2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Utah Jazz (27-29) at Toronto Raptors (26-30), 7:30 p.m. ET
The Jazz are entering tank-mode and the Raptors improved their roster for a playoff run. Toronto needed a rim-protecting, rebounding big. It got one at the trade deadline by acquiring C Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs.
Utah shipped off former starting PG Mike Conley and wing Jarred Vanderbilt at the trade deadline. The Jazz are +8 in Toronto despite covering -2.5 at home vs. the Raptors.
That 10.5-point swing is massive and signifies the market thinks Utah is due for regression. Also, this is the 1st of the Jazz’s 4-game road trip.
They flew from Salt Lake City to Toronto after last playing Wednesday. This is a short turnaround for the Jazz. The Raptors are playing their 2nd straight home game and are settled back into their home gym.
Toronto should crush Utah in battle of the possessions. The Raptors are a great offensive rebounding team and score a bunch of 2nd-chance points. The Jazz a terrible defensive rebounding team and allow a ton of putbacks.
The Raptors are 1st in both offensive and defensive turnover rate (TOV%). Utah has a bottom-10 offensive and defensive TOV%. Toronto out-rebounded and had better ball-security in the 1st meeting with Utah.
The Raptors are a poor shooting team but they are home and Jazz are a bad defense. Finally, Toronto has the best player on the floor in wing Pascal Siakam and Utah has no one to check him.
Siakam had a subpar game by his standard in the 1st Jazz-Raptors meeting February 1st. He scored 21 points on 9-of-22 with 10 rebounds but fouled out of the game.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse is a defensive mastermind and will put Siakam in better positions this time around. Remember, the Jazz’s roster had a complete makeover this offseason. Nurse will adjust and have a better defensive game plan Friday.
NBA Best Bet #2: Raptors -7.5 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Cleveland Cavaliers (35-22) at New Orleans Pelicans (29-27), 10 p.m. ET
Over their last five games, both teams are in the top-10 of effective field goal shooting, assist-to-turnover rate, rebounding rate and nRTG. But, the Pelicans are the home team and the Cavs struggle on the road.
The Cavaliers are 1-7 SU vs. on the road teams with a top-10 non-garbage time net rating (nRTG), according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). They have a -7.8 non-garbage time net rating (ranked 15th) and a -4.9 ATS margin in those contests.
The Pelicans are still 9th in non-garbage time nRTG for the season but certainly tailed off when All-Stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram went out with injuries. In fact, New Orleans lost 10 consecutive games from Jan. 16 to Feb. 2.
However, Ingram is back and the Pelicans are on a 3-game winning streak (3-0 ATS). In his last three games, Ingram is averaging 30.3 PPG on 54.5% shooting with 5.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
Ingram missed NOLA’s 113-103 road loss to the Cavs in Cleveland on Jan. 16 as did Pelicans starting SF Herb Jones. Both of whom are in the projected starting 5 for the Pelicans Friday.
The Cavaliers are on fire lately — 6-2 SU and ATS over their last eight games — but their competition has been lackluster.
Cleveland’s current 4-game win streak is over the lowly Pistons, bum ass Wizards, sub-.500 Pacers, and a slumping Grizzlies team missing two starting bigs. Those other two wins were vs. the Clippers sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and a tanking Rockets team.
NBA Best Bet #3: Pelicans +3 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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One CommentLeave a Reply
Only halftime of game three, but these picks are getting massacred.