The New York Knicks did not quit when they were down 21 points against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night. Instead, they rallied off the energy of the Madison Square Garden crowd and stormed back from their 21-point deficit behind monster games from Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

This happened on the same day the Knicks learned that one of their best players, Julius Randle, will miss the remainder of the regular season and entire postseason after undergoing shoulder surgery. 

Thursday’s victory moved New York into a fourth-place tie with the Orlando Magic in the East, and the Knicks would be favored if those two teams meet in the first round of the upcoming playoffs. New York is +4000 to win the title on the Betway board, while Orlando is +20000.

Boston and Denver remain the favorites to meet for the title, but the Nuggets got a miss from Nikola Jokic at the buzzer last night and lost to the Clippers by two points, while the Celtics remain more or less the same team that rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to tie the Heat 3-3 before losing a Game 7 at home in last year’s playoffs. Boston lost that one decisively (by 19 points) despite being a 7½-point favorite.

That loss looms large in the heads of the Celtics’ mainstay players, and it will hover over them until they show that they are worthy of playing for the championship.

Playoff basketball is just different, and what happens over the span of two weeks in late April and/or early May can wipe out the entirety of everything positive that took place from the time training camp opened in late September until the regular season ended in mid-April.

So, as the remainder of the NBA season plays out, remember that playoff teams and lottery teams are playing for two different things, and the cold, hard truth in the NBA is that when it is all said and done, there are 29 losing teams and one champion.

With that in mind, let’s go make some money for this weekend.

Best NBA Parlays Today – Friday, April 5, 2024: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+3034)

Thunder vs. Pacers Prediction and Pick  

When these teams met on March 12, the Pacers went into Oklahoma City and won by 10 points on the Thunder’s home court. As good as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is, Tyrese Haliburton is better, and the Pacers have more experience. Indiana has gone over just once in its past four games, but this line has been set seven points lower than the last time these two teams met.

Leg-1 Parlay Pick: Oklahoma City-Indiana over 233½ points (-110)

Trail Blazers vs. Wizards Prediction and Pick 

Two of the worst teams in the NBA meet in the nation’s capital on Friday. Portland has been going with five rookies in its starting lineup due to an avalanche of injuries. In their last outing, the Blazers defeated Charlotte 89-86 in a game that nobody will ever remember, and Portland is a 1½-point underdog at Washington on Friday -- marking the second straight game in which the Blazers are low-number ’dogs. The Wizards, coming off a five-point loss to the Lakers, are playing out the string at this point and will give end-of-the-bench players bigger minutes.

Leg-2 Parlay Pick: Portland-Washington under 221½ (-115)

Kings vs. Celtics Prediction and Pick 

Sacramento let its foot off the gas on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and a lesson was learned. The Kings will never be further from home geographically than they will be on Friday at the TD Garden, and the Celtics will be on cruise control after having already reached 60 victories. Boston has lost at home to Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Los Angeles Lakers, and they had back-to-back hiccups against the Atlanta Hawks on March 25 and March 28. With the spread set at 10½ points, it is time to predict an upset. Remember, the Kings are a very good team with a winning road record (21-17). This game is the odds-builder in our parlay.

Leg-3 Parlay Pick: Sacramento moneyline at Boston (+360).

Heat vs Rockets Prediction and Pick

This is one of the lowest over/under lines we have seen for a Rockets game all season, but Houston has gone over in three straight and nine of its last 11. Just because the Rockets lost to Golden State on Thursday and are now all but eliminated from playoff contention does not mean that they are playing for nothing. Contract extensions are on the line, and the team is building up for next season with a core that includes Jabari Smith, Jalen Green, Fred VanVleet, and Dillon Brooks – a retooling effort that will continue over the summer. In the meantime, this is a chance for both teams to break out the “Friday Night Lights” Texas thing and light up the scoreboard in a game that means more to Miami.

Leg-4 Parlay Pick: Miami-Houston over 214 ½

Odds are subject to change*

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