This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Friday brings a fairly light slate with just seven games in the NBA. Luckily, there are still plenty of wagering opportunities to consider. Let's check in on where my overall record stands after a profitable column last week that included hitting the parlay.
Player props: 12-8
Spread picks: 3-2
Let's dive into the slate and try and cash in again this week. As per usual, all odds are obtained from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Collin Sexton, 19.5 Points: Over (-104)
Not much has gone right for the Cavaliers this season, but they have to be excited about Sexton's play down the stretch. He's averaged 26.3 points over his last seven contests on an insane 57 percent shooting from the field. Considering he's only shooting 42.3 percent for the season, don't expect him to be able to keep this up. However, he also averaged 17.3 shot attempts during that seven-game stretch, up from 14.3 per contest, overall. The Clippers play at the eighth-fastest pace (102.5 possessions per game) in the league, so look for Sexton to receive enough scoring opportunities to leave him with a favorable chance of hitting the over.
Josh Richardson, 15.5 Points: Under (-124)
Despite playing at the sixth-fastest pace (103.3), the Bucks allow the ninth-fewest points per game (108.5). The Heat are already a bad offensive team, so it should come as no surprise that they've only averaged 92.7 points across three previous meetings with the Bucks this season. Richardson has averaged just 11 points against the Bucks and hasn't scored more than 15 points in six straight games, overall. I'll take the under.
Patrick Beverley, 9.5 Points: Over (+104)
Beverley's 11.9 percent usage rate doesn't really favor taking the over here, but the Clippers playing at such as fast pace has helped with his upside. So has the departures of Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley, which have left Beverley with plenty of playing time. He's scored at least 10 points in eight of his last 11 contests and has a nice matchup here considering the Cavaliers have allowed an average of 114.9 points across their last 15 games. With these favorable odds, rolling with the over might be a risk worth taking.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 11.5 Points: Over (-128)
Sexton isn't the only rookie in this game who is rolling down the stretch. Gilgeous-Alexander has been on an offensive hot streak for the surging Clippers, averaging 14.1 points across his last 10 games. He shot a lofty 55.7 percent from the field during that stretch, but he's generally been efficient by shooting 47.1 percent for the season. This is not a big number, which makes the over very appealing.
Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks: MIA (+8.5)
The good news for the Bucks is that Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) is listed as probable for this contest. The bad news is they will be without Malcolm Brogdon (foot) and Nikola Mirotic (thumb). Those are two key members of their rotation. The Heat are one of those odd teams that has a better record on the road (18-16) than they do at home (17-20). I don't think they will defeat the Bucks, but it should be noted that the Heat are 23-11 against the spread on the road, including 17-7 against the spread as a road underdog. I think they keep it close enough, so I'll take them and the points.
There's nothing like the good old revenge game narrative to spice up a Friday night! D'Angelo Russell had a messy tenure during his time with the Lakers and was ultimately dealt to the Nets after they drafted Lonzo Ball. His first season with the Nets wasn't exactly great, but he's made tremendous strides this year. While some expect him to put on a scoring clinic in this game, don't sleep on his ability to hit the over in rebounds, too. He's grabbed at least four boards in four straight games and the Lakers allow the fourth-most rebounds per game (47.1) in the league.
The Nuggets have a quick turnaround after defeating the Wizards on the road Thursday. Jokic played 35 minutes in that contest, so it wouldn't be all that surprising to see him play limited minutes Friday against the lowly Knicks, especially since the Nuggets could jump out to a big lead early. Jokic is already averaging just 17.7 points across his last 10 contests, so any reduction in playing time could really make hitting the over here difficult. With so many factors potentially leading to reduced minutes, I like the under here for the second leg of this parlay.