Handicapping the NBA: Friday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Friday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha

Tobias Harris over 19.5 points (-106) at NOP – DraftKings (12:37 PM CT)

Harris has averaged 20.7 points per game across the past 10, so this number passes the smell test. What's tipping me to the over is how the Pelicans play defense, plus their specific personnel on the wing. New Orleans plays a drop defense, meaning Steven Adams will (nearly) always opt to protect the rim over contesting a jump shot. The effects of this type of defense are obvious when you consider the Pelicans give up the fewest rebounds (40.5) but allow the most made threes (15.2) per game. The Pelicans' defense is also weakest at forward. Zion Williamson is slow laterally and gets caught on screens. Brandon Ingram, who is questionable, isn't a great defender either. His potential replacement, James Johnson, is a solid defender but not lock-down.

The result should be plenty of open jumpers for Harris – a 50/40/90 player if you do some gracious rounding – coming off screens. Joel Embiid's gravity will create plenty of looks for Harris as well. Ultimately, Harris is someone who can get you 20 points without touching the paint, and that's the perfect type of player to exploit the Pelicans' defense. I'd also consider Ben Simmons under 21.5 points + rebounds (-113) via FanDuel.

Nick Whalen

Philadelphia 76ers -6.5 (-110) at NOP – DraftKings (12:16 PM CT)

The Pelicans enter the night losers of four of their last five games, while Brandon Ingram's status is still very much in the balance. Lonzo Ball is also questionable, so if either player sits out, the Pelicans will be extremely reliant on Zion Williamson and a collection of role players for offense. The Sixers, meanwhile, just held the Celtics to 96 points on Wednesday and have won their last five games with a healthy Joel Embiid by at least eight points. Philly is 9-6-2 ATS as a road favorite this season and 21-13 ATS with one day of rest between games. 

Joe Bartel

Alex Len under 7.5 points (-113) vs GSDraftKings (1:54 PM CT)

I really have no idea how the Wizards operate their frontcourt rotation game-to-game. Len has two games under 17 minutes played in the last week, but sandwiched in between those was a 13-point, 29-minute outing against the Raptors. Robin Lopez injured his quad in that game after playing just nine minutes so that explains the usage somewhat, but it's worth reiterating the Wizards are seemingly picking playing time out of a hat. The Warriors allow the ninth-most points to opposing centers, but I'm not sure it really matters if the 27-year-old continues to lose playing time to Lopez and company, so I'll take advantage of the "prop bets are only for starters" rule that sportsbook have seemingly imposed this year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joe Bartel
Joe Bartel is RotoWire's Operations Specialist and football contributor among many other things. When not at the office, he's probably playing a variety of Gen 4 console games or rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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