Friday is typically the most loaded night of the NBA week and despite the NCAA Tournament getting the lion’s share of attention, tonight’s slate has plenty to offer bettors. On the national TV front, we’ve got two games on NBA TV: Warriors vs. Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Mavericks vs. Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Those two games are amongst our staff’s best bets today, which include player prop and spread bets. Read on for their analysis and expert picks for Friday’s slate.
NBA Odds & Best Bets
Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Hornets
Alex Hinton: If you have placed Tobias Harris on your “ban list” for the remainder of the season, I don’t blame you. He has gone under this line in five consecutive games and seven of his last 10 games overall. Facing the Charlotte Hornets may be just what he needs to snap out of his slump.
Harris has gone over this line in both meetings against the Hornets this meeting. Now, in the first meeting, Philadelphia was missing Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey, and Harris scored 19 points. However, Embiid and Harden played in the second matchup and he scored 17 points.
Charlotte struggles against power forwards, making them a prime matchup for Harris. They rank 29th defending power forwards, according to props.cash. They are also 23rd in points allowed per game and 21st in defensive rating.
Volume will be the key to Harris to cashing this over. His scoring is down because he is averaging eight field goals per game over his last 10 games. However, Harris is still shooting 49.1% from the field this season. He is still capable of getting 20 points on any given night, particularly in this matchup. He will not need that many attempts to get over this line.
This is a game where Philadelphia is going to score a ton of points. It scored 131 points in the last meeting against the Hornets. There is plenty of room for Tobias Harris to get to 13 points here.
Golden State Warriors vs. Atlanta Hawks
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: On the road, the Warriors have been squarely in auto-fade territory for a while now (7-27 straight up and 9-25 ATS), but there are other reasons to back the Hawks in this spot.
One reason is they have the revenge factor from earlier this season when the Hawks lost a double-overtime game at the Chase Center. Atlanta was without Clint Capela and the Warriors without Steph Curry.
Tonight, Atlanta is at full strength while Draymond Green (suspension) and Andrew Wiggins (personal) are the key absences for Golden State. Steph Curry is questionable with thumb soreness and Kevon Looney is probable with back soreness.
I’ll assume Curry and Looney both play and still feel good about taking the Hawks at home. In the last four meetings between these two teams, the home team has won and covered in all four and they split the season series last year.
This is the last of a three-game home stand for the Hawks. They lost the first two already to the Celtics and Timberwolves respectively, making it the first time all season they’ll go under .500 in a home stand of three or more games.
Atlanta needs this game just a little more than the Warriors and I like them as short home favorites.
I took the Hawks at -1.5 and would take them down to -3 with Curry playing and -5.5 if he sits.
Golden State Warriors vs. Atlanta Hawks
Chris Baker: This bet is all about Draymond Green’s absence from the Warriors. Green is out for this one and traditional metrics don’t do a good enough job of accounting for his impact.
Green is one of the most valuable players in the NBA, ranking second in the NBA in Net-Rating swing (+12.7) behind Nikola Jokic. With Draymond Green on the floor the Warriors have a 110.8 defensive rating (86th percentile). With Green off they have a 119.7 defensive rating (13th percentile). I think everyone knows about his defense, but his ability to handle the ball and initiate the Warriors offense is also irreplaceable.
The Warriors will likely insert Jonathan Kuminga into the starting unit, but Kuminga is nowhere near the playmaker that Green is. Without Green, the Warriors offense should be less efficient as their shooters will struggle to get the same clean shots they always get with Draymond.
Furthermore, the Hawks have a two game rest advantage over the Warriors as they last played on Monday night versus the Timberwolves. They should be well-rested and I expect Quin Snyder to come up with a good game plan to pick up a much needed win against this dubs team. Stephen Curry is also officially questionable for this one so if he ends up sitting expect this line to close around -6 or -7. Take the Hawks -2.5 and play this up to -3.5.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The playoff race in the West is about as tight as they come. The Mavericks and Lakers are only three and four games behind the Suns in the loss column and a win for either team could set them on a path to avoid the play-in entirely.
Kyrie Irving (foot) is questionable for Friday’s matchup, while Luka Doncic (thigh) has already been ruled out.
Neither star has played since the Mavericks 106-113 loss to New Orleans on March 8 and those absences couldn’t come at a worse time for Dallas as the Mavericks find themselves in a competitive hunt for playoff seeding.
The Lakers appear eminently aware of their precarious playoff position. Since the Feb. 9 trade deadline, they have the seventh-best record in the league (9-6 straight up and ATS).
In LeBron James’ absence, Anthony Davis has stepped things up significantly, averaging 24.6 points, 14.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 blocks per game since the deadline.
It should be noted that Davis missed last game with a nagging foot injury, but is listed as probable for Friday. If he plays (as expected), I like the Lakers against the spread, regardless if Irving plays.
Aside from a matchup advantage, the Lakers are showing more effort. The Mavericks are just 6-9 since trading for Irving.
There is also a trend that leans toward the Lakers in this matchup. They have shown resilience after underachieving. They’re 5-0 in their past five games following an ATS loss. And there’s a related system on Bet Labs I’ve been tracking that fits with the Lakers on Friday night:
I’d take the Lakers to -6 if both Davis and Irving play and down to -7.5 with Irving out.
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