NBA betting: Best value bets for Friday night
Chris Sheridan finds the value in the NBA on Friday night with picks for almost every game on the slate.
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The NBA All-Star reserves have been announced, which means we also have an All-Snub team. Those are the guys primed to have huge weekends to show opposing coaches (who selected the reserves) the error of their ways.
A season ago, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks was the most prominent NBA All-Star snub as he was having a breakout season. Who is this season’s Trae?
Good question, and there is no shortage of candidates, but keep in mind that commissioner Adam Silver is going to choose injury replacements for Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. That could make a guy an All-Snub on Friday and an All-Star on Saturday or Sunday.
Heading up that list is Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen, who is second in the league in field goal percentage (.678) and ninth in rebounding (10.7) for a Cleveland Cavaliers team that begins the weekend fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs have crashed back to Earth over the past week with losses to the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, which is mostly a function of them being without a more experienced point guard than Brandon Goodwin as All-Star Darius Garland (lower back soreness) sits out.
Allen is matched up against Mason Plumlee of the Charlotte Hornets tonight on the road, and there is no posted line on how many airballs Plumlee will have from the free throw line.
Mason Plumlee just a *little* off on this free throw 😅pic.twitter.com/pLGUoqcZjt— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 20, 2022
What is important to know is that Allen has gone three straight games without a double-double but had 24 points and 16 rebounds the last time he suited up at The Hive. Tonight, Allen’s player props are 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Those seem just about right, but what to make of teammate Evan Mobley’s props of 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds?
Well, Mobley is the -350 favorite for Rookie of the Year, and he had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds the last time the Cavs traveled to Charlotte. But are his props of 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds to be messed with? It says here that the safest play is to take the Cavs and the 4.5 points (-110) they are getting, especially because they are 11-5-1 as a road underdog.
The thing with the Cavs is that they play so big so often, it’s hard to pinpoint whether Allen, Mobley, Lauri Markkanen or Kevin Love will be the big man contributing most. So the play in this game is only going to be Cavs and the points, which would make for a boring wager card if that was the only pick being played.
So it will not be.
The ESPN game tonight is Philadelphia at Dallas, which is a beauty because it features two players who are in the MVP conversation, one (Joe Embiid) more so than the other (Luka Doncic). The Slovenian kid is coming off a 40-point outing and has scored at least 30 in three straight to rise to sixth in the scoring race at 26.0 points per game (Embiid is leading the NBA at 29.1 ppg).
Doncic had a four-rebound, four-assist game and a four-rebound, three-assist game in his two meetings with the 76ers last season, and those totals are especially low for him. The previous season, he finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double in his only game against the Sixers, but as a rookie he played once against Philly and did nothing special. That represents a fairly broad body of work that tells us that Doncic does not have his greatest games against Philadelphia.
The Mavs are coming off an overtime loss to Oklahoma City and another bad loss on the road at Orlando, and tonight they continue a six-game homestand. They are favored by 2 points, and the play we like is Doncic under 9.5 rebounds (-125) and under 8.5 assists (+100), along with Philly +2 (-115) because the Sixers are a league-best 9-4-0 ATS as a road underdog.
So that brings your parlay card up to four picks. What else? Let’s have a look at what else is on tap:
Boston (-8) at Detroit: The Pistons have only defeated the Cavs and Kings in their past eight games as they battle Orlando for the worst record to secure the overall No. 1 pick in the draft for a second straight season. Jerami Grant is being mentioned in a bunch of trade rumors with the deadline next Thursday. The Celtics, meanwhile, are doing a little better than treading water with a 28-25 record after three straight wins. The play is the Celtics (7-3-0 ATS as a road favorite) to cover (-110).
Chicago (-2.5) at Indiana: A puzzling line, given that the Bulls are about 8 million times better. Give the points and play Nikola Vucevic’s point total “over” if it comes out at 18.5 or lower.
Atlanta (+1.5) at Toronto: The Hawks just ended the Suns’ 11-game winning streak behind 43 points from Young, and tonight they are on the second night of a back-to-back against a Raptors team that has won four straight and also will be on a back-to-back but without having traveled. Stay away from this one. The Raptors are looking sneaky good lately.
Houston (+3.5) at San Antonio: Wins in four of their last nine games represent the best stretch for the Rockets since James Harden was wearing red. The Spurs are 8-4-0 ATS as a home favorite, but it is unknown whether Dejounte Murray, who sat out last night after originally being listed as questionable, will be cleared to play. The line we like is under 234.5 (-110) because that seems to have been set a little too high. Plus unders are always winning until they are not.
New Orleans (+6) at Denver: Nikola Jokic has gone five whole days without a triple-double. There is no line yet on him getting one tonight, but there will be. The last time he went up against Jonas Valanciunas was Jan. 28, and he had one of his seven TDs. He also had one against the Pelicans on Dec. 8, and “these things happen in threes” seems especially relevant. Go “Yes” on Jokic to have a triple-double (+165).
Brooklyn (+3.5) at Utah: The Nets are in the middle of their worst stretch (six straight losses) of the past two seasons and James Harden is playing through a hand injury but not playing well (he has missed 22 of his last 30 shots). The Jazz are only 8-18-0 at home ATS as a favorite, so take the points (-105) and hold your breath. The Nets are due for a good one.
Oklahoma City (+8) at Portland: Ugh. A Thunder game. Which coincides with a Blazers game. Portland is playing so poorly you wonder how on earth the Blazers can be favored by 8. The Thunder are 16-9-0 ATS as a road ‘dog, so take the points and make sure you are highly and safely medicated if you try to watch this one end to end.
In regards to those All-Star snubs, we will circle back Tuesday. But aside from Allen, the guys who should feel especially stoked this weekend are Murray of the Spurs, Bam Adebayo of the Heat (he plays next Saturday at Charlotte) and Anthony Edwards of Minnesota, who plays next at home Sunday against the Pistons.