Oklahoma City Thunder Over Memphis Grizzlies and Friday’s Free NBA Picks
Thursday night’s NBA slate went largely as we expected, as the Clippers, Wizards and Spurs all won at home. The only game that went the opposite direction was the Hawks/Rockets, as Dwight Howard beasted out for 24 points and 23 rebounds in a revenge win over his former squad.
That still gave us a solid 3-1 record on the night, and if you rolled with our NBA betting logic, you probably experienced a pretty profitable night. Friday night stretches things out a bit more, as we get nine games – a slew of which have tight spreads.
Let’s dive in and see which way you’ll want to lean with your NBA bets tonight:
Toronto enters the Amway Center as light favorites over the Magic tonight, as Vegas is likely a bit worried about the status of star shooting guard, DeMar DeRozan (ankle). DeRozan sat out Toronto’s previous two games to rest his sore ankle and is in doubt again tonight.
Orlando is at full strength, however, as star shooting guard Evan Fournier (foot) will play in his third straight game since returning from an ailment of his own. That could continue to help lift Orlando’s lethargic offense. They certainly need all the help they can get, as the Magic are floundering these days (2-8 over their last 10 games).
The Magic did win the most recent game in this series, but the Raptors have dominated overall, winning 14 of the last 16 meetings. With or without DeRozan, we expect the Raptors to get back on track as they continue to chase the Celtics for first place in the Atlantic Division.
We could get a bit of a shootout at the Barclays Center tonight, as Paul George leads his Pacers up against Brook Lopez and the Nets. Brooklyn still has the NBA’s worst record, but they run as fast as anyone and tend to play their best ball at home.
That all could be trouble for the Pacers, who have really struggled on the road (8-16). Then again, Indy is red hot right now (won four straight) and has taken 3 of the last 4 in this series. The Nets should give it a go in a high-scoring affair and have a shot at beating the spread, but we like the Pacers to get their fifth straight win tonight.
Things could slow down for the Timberwolves tonight, as they head into Detroit to take on a tough Pistons defense. Detroit is a solid 13-10 on their home floor and tends to play well on the defensive and at home. Minnesota has been solid (6-4 over their last 10 games), but will be looking to improve on a shaky 7-16 road record.
This looks like a favorable spot for the Pistons, as they have the size and length down low to give Karl-Anthony Towns trouble, as well as the length on the outside to stop Minnesota’s top perimeter scorers.
Vegas likes this game to be tight and low-scoring and it’s hard to argue against that. With Detroit at home and the Pistons holding a three-game winning streak in this series, it’s hard to argue against them as the favorite, either.
We could get a barn burner in Houston tonight, as a potentially tired Rockets team hosts the Bulls after losing to the Hawks last night. It’s fair to question the direction the Rockets are headed in, as James Harden and co. are just 4-6 over their last 10 games.
Picking things up on the second game of a back-to-back set is never easy, but the Rockets don’t lose much at home (18-6) and will face a Bulls team that can’t seem to get out of its own way. Chicago was won two straight and is surprisingly 6-4 over their last 10 games, but this team lacks shooting or a true identity.
The Bulls have been one of the more erratic teams all year and seem to go the opposite way of our picks every night out. However, they’re just 10-14 on the road and they’re undoubtedly the inferior team here. If this gets into a shootout – and it should – we love the Rockets.
D’Angelo Russell is playing lights out right now and provided he doesn’t get rested, he figures to continue his tear in a big showdown with the Celtics at TD Garden. Unfortunately, DLo’s stellar play doesn’t always lead to wins and getting a win over the Celtics on the road seems next to impossible.
That’s because Isaiah Thomas has been even better and truly is probably playing better than anyone in the league right now. Thomas is especially dangerous on his home floor, too, where he’s helped the Celtics to a stout 17-8 mark.
Vegas gives Boston quite the spread advantage here, but it’s tough to balk at it considering their nice 5-game winning streak. This series has shockingly been very back and forth (tied 2-2 in last four meetings), but the Lakers are absolutely horrendous on the road (5-22) and this doesn’t look like a great spot for them to sneak a road win.
The game of the night probably goes down in OKC, where Russell Westbrook eyes yet another triple-double, as well as a big home win over the Grizzlies. The Thunder are mild favorites in what is virtually a pick’em game, as they meet up with the Grizz for the third time this year.
The two teams split the first two meetings, while OKC has now claimed three of the last four games. The Grizzlies have bounced back from a mini-drought, as they’ve now ripped off three straight wins and are a solid 6-4 over their last 10 games.
OKC is going in the opposite direction, as they’ve felt the absence of big man Enes Kanter during a three-game skid. Nothing has to break here, but the Thunder are at home and have Steven Adams to counter Marc Gasol. We like Oklahoma City to squeak out a close one.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks did not fare well at Utah in their last game and overall have been struggling for a while now. The Bucks are in a bad way, having dropped four straight and 9 of their last 10.
Perhaps a trip to Denver could cure what ails them, as the Nuggets are pretty banged up and could be without big man Nikola Jokic. Denver is already for sure going to be without star forward Danilo Gallinari, which saps their offense a bit:
Danilo Gallinari MRI on groin came back negative. He's expected to return to Nuggets soon. "Short rest," source said.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 3, 2017
That’s good news for the Bucks, while Milwaukee could have a good chance to get their own offense going against a shaky Denver defense that allows an insane 111 points per game. The return of Jokic could give the Nuggets the edge, but he could be limited or even a little rusty. Overall, the Bucks are a tough sell, but this looks to be as good a spot as any for them to nab a win.
We could be in for an interesting tilt in Portland tonight, as the Mavs and Blazers butt heads with both teams playing well. Portland won their last game and is a respectable 5-5 over their last 10 games, while they also play host behind a solid 14-10 home record. Dallas, meanwhile, isn’t close to full strength but has still managed to rip off three straight wins and are 7-3 over their last 10 games.
It doesn’t make any sense how Dallas is getting wins right now, as they’re down to a street free agent in point guard Yogi Ferrell and are without the likes of Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Andrew Bogut.
Dallas could be tough to trust in this one, as Dirk Nowitzki and co. are just 7-18 outside of Dallas this year and 1-2 in their last three meetings with the Blazers. Portland’s defense remains terrible, but in a game that could offer more scoring than Vegas suggests, the Blazers come off as the more dangerous squad. Dallas is a fine upset play tonight, but we’ll ride with the Blazers on their home floor.
The last game of the night is part of a two-game set that tips off at 10:30 pm ET and this one goes down in Sacramento between the Kings and Suns. Right off the bat Phoenix is in a tough spot, as they struggle mightily (7-18) on the road and are reeling right now behind five straight losses.
Sacramento has dropped two straight and are just 3-7 over their last 10 contests, but they have a monster down low in DeMarcus Cousins and have slapped the Suns around (won four straight) in this series.
The reality here is this game is a virtual toss-up, as neither side plays much defense and both teams can pile on the points. Due to Phoenix’s road struggles and inability to lock down wins in close games, however, we feel better rolling with the favored Kings tonight. Expect a big game out of Boogie.