Handicapping the NBA: Friday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Friday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha: Rockets to win (-142) vs. Thunder – FanDuel, 1:31 PM CT

These are two bad teams, but I think the Thunder are much worse. As much as I like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Josh Giddey, the Rockets have a much better total rotation. Plus, it's Houston's home opener, which is a boost. I also wouldn't mind Josh Giddey over 20.5 P+R+A (-130, FanDuel) given the lack of defense in this game and his potential for a smooth 15/5/5 on any given night. He struggled in the opener against the Jazz, so this could be a great spot to buy low.

Scottie Barnes over 18.5 points + rebounds + assists at Celtics – FanDuel, 1:35 PM CT

Barnes was subpar in the opener against the Wizards. The Raptors put up only 83 points and Barnes posted 12 points (5-13 FG), nine rebounds and one assist with six turnovers. I don't get why his P+R+A has dropped from what he put up on Wednesday. His 13 attempts suggest he should score more than 12 points, he's a good rebounder, and his six turnovers show he's doing what he can to get his teammates involved (even if those passes were intercepted). He only has to post 10/5/4 to reach this over, which is easily within the realm of possibility, even against a tough defensive team in the Celtics.

Nick Whalen: Phoenix Suns +1.0 at Los Angeles Lakers – DraftKings Sportsbook, 12:30PM CT

Both teams suffered second-half letdowns in their respective openers, but I have far fewer questions about the Suns' roster than I do the Lakers'. Russell Westbrook is nowhere near finding his niche within the offense, and while LeBron James and Anthony Davis are capable of carrying the team, the Lakers need some contributions from role players. With Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza and Wayne Ellington all out again, the Lakers are short on options in the backcourt, which will again lead to some clunky lineups. I like Phoenix to take advantage and bounce back with a fairly easy victory on the road.

Jalen Green OVER 12.5 points (-130) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – DraftKings Sportsbook, 12:30PM CT

The entire Rockets roster had a tough night against Minnesota in the opener, but Houston is in an excellent spot to bounce back against what might be the most stat-friendly opponent in the league this season. Both of these teams are mired in rebuilds and neither team is interested in playing defense. Green should again see 30-plus minutes, which should be more than enough to score at least 13 points.

Michael Spero: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over 22.5 points (-120) vs. ThunderDraftKings Sportsbook 1:27 PM

Gilgeous-Alexander's first outing of the season was nothing spectacular, scoring just 18 points as the Thunder fell to the Jazz. However, Gilgeous-Alexander finds himself in a great spot in tonight's matchup against the Rockets. Houston's defense looked abysmal in their first showing of the season and Gilgeous-Alexander should see lots of opportunities to score in what should be a decently competitive matchup.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
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.
Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
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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