I’m eyeing up three NBA Friday games to dump some money on. First, a matchup no one cares about in the Raptors vs. Thunder.
Then a rematch of a first-round playoff series last year when the Grizzlies host the T-Wolves. And then a game only Californians care about: Kings at Lakers.
Below, I’ll handicap the games in order of most to least favorite bet.
Toronto Raptors (7-5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (4-7)
Toronto typically plays lower-scoring games in this spot. The Raptors are 4-11 Over/Under (O/U) in their last 15 road games and 4-10 O/U as road favorites since the beginning of last season.
Furthermore, both teams rank eighth or better in defensive rating, 24th or worse in true shooting percentage, and have a below-average free-throw attempt rate.
But, neither turns the ball over. OKC has the second-best offensive turnover rate (TOV%) and Toronto is third in offensive TOV%. So I see a lot of long possessions that end with bricks in Raptors-Thunder.
Toronto’s leader in usage rate and PER (F Pascal Siakam) is sidelined with an injury. The Raptors score 8.4 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Siakam is on the floor, per CleaningTheClass.com (CTG).
The Under is the sharp side. At the time of writing, VSIN reports that roughly 60% of the bets placed are on the Over at DraftKings but nearly three-fourths of the cash is on the Under.
It’s typically wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public since professional bettors wager a lot more dough than your average Joe. Also, the Raptors-Thunder has fallen from a 222.5-point opener down to the current number.
NBA Best Bet #1: UNDER 220 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to 219
Minnesota Timberwolves (5-7) at Memphis Grizzlies (8-4)
This is a rematch from a thrilling first-round Western Conference playoff series last year in which the Grizzlies prevailed with a 4-2 series win.
Also, in the spirit of transparency, we are taking the public side here. The public is backing Memphis whereas Minnesota is getting more of the money in the betting market.
However, I’m okay rolling with the public on this because the T-Wolves are still making dumb mistakes. Speaking of which, look at this play 👇👇👇. I’ve literally never seen this before.
Minnesota isn’t a lock to make the playoffs like people expected in the preseason after acquiring C Rudy Gobert. After a nice start to the season, the Timberwolves are 1-5 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in their last six games.
Also, the T-Wolves are 0-6 ATS in their last six games vs. teams with a winning record. The Grizzlies are 17-11 ATS at home vs. teams with a losing record (+6.5 spread differential).
Furthermore, Minnesota has glaring weaknesses Memphis can exploit. The Grizzlies score a ton of easy buckets by creating turnovers and crashing the glass.
Memphis scores the most second-chance points per game (PPG) and the fourth-most points off of turnovers per game. Minnesota is 25th in second-chance points PPG allowed and 23rd in offensive turnover rate.
The Grizzlies have a strength-on-weakness edge over the T-Wolves in transition as well. Memphis averages the most fastbreak PPG and Minnesota is 26th in fastbreak PPG allowed.
Most importantly, the Grizzlies’ backcourt of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane smokes the T-Wolves’ backcourt. Ja is putting up 28.8 PPG on 53.5% eFG%, while Bane is scoring 24.7 PPG on 57.9% eFG% and Minnesota has one of the worst defensive backcourts in the NBA.
NBA Best Bet #2: Grizzlies -4 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5
Sacramento Kings (4-6) at Los Angeles Lakers (2-9)
This is another public play because everyone is aware of how terribly this Lakers-thing is going and LeBron James is sitting with an abductor strain.
But, the oddsmakers are begging for money since the Kings are rarely road favorites over the Lakers. It’s happened just six times since 2001. Sactown is 4-2 SU and ATS in those games with a +5.2 margin of victory.
The Lakers are 15-25 ATS as a home underdog since 2018, LeBron’s first season in LA. While the Kings are 4-1 ATS on the road this season and have covered five of their last six games.
Also, LA has the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA over the last five games and is 24th in defensive effective field goal shooting (eFG%).
Sactown is third in eFG% and eighth in non-garbage time offensive TOV%, per CTG. The Kings obviously have their flaws but they also have a more complete roster than the Lakers.
There’s talent and depth at every position for Sacramento. Whereas LA is missing its leading scorer and assist man (LeBron) and the Lakers’ third-best player (Russell Westbrook) is on the trade block.
As an LA resident, it’s shocking to see the Kings as a favorite over the Lakers in LA. The sportsbooks are saying the Kings are clearly a better team. Let’s listen and lay the points with Sacramento.
NBA Best Bet #2: Kings -4 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5
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