Handicapping the NBA: Friday Best Bets

Handicapping the NBA: Friday Best Bets

This article is part of our NBA Picks series.

It's been a tough adjustment to the new NBA season for oddsmakers and bettors alike through the first two weeks of the season. The Suns, Lakers, and Wizards remain the only undefeated teams against the spread. The Heat can also be included if you don't mind a push (4-0-1). Meanwhile, the Kings, Nets, Rockets, and Spurs have yet to cover, going a combined 0-17. Ironically, Brooklyn hosts Houston tonight in what projects to be the worse game possible to show somebody if you're trying to convince them that defense exists in the NBA.

Let's try to pick out some winning lines:

Knicks (+10.5) at Celtics -- FanDuel/DraftKings, Friday 12:38PM CT

I originally wanted to take the under on this game, but the value has probably been bet out of it. It's down to 211.5 after opening at 214.5 -- the teams have hit the under a combined seven times out of nine chances, and the expected pace is 96.9 possessions. However, all of this entices me to bet the heavy underdog in the Knicks. Fewer possessions will give Boston fewer opportunities to pull out in front with a huge lead, and expected absences of Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams shouldn't be ignored even though the Celtics managed to take it to the Bucks on Wednesday.

The Knicks have more weapons than they get credit for, despite being down both Dennis Smith and Elfrid Payton. RJ Barrett has been playing well, Bobby Portis can get hot, and Marcus Morris might be in revenge-game mode in TD Garden. Mitchell Robinson should also prevent easy shots at the rim. While BOS (-10.5) doesn't feel like as much of a trap as some other spreads, it's still getting extremely heavy action, with 71% of the bets being placed on the Celtics according to The Action Network. I'm going to try siding with the house here.

Lakers at Mavericks (+1.5) -- FanDuel/DraftKings, Friday 1:41PM CT

With Kyle Kuzma making his debut Friday (in a limited 15-20 minute role), the Lakers get some increased firepower. Anthony Davis is also coming off a dominant 40/20 performance against the Grizzlies. So it makes sense that they're 1.5-point favorites despite being on the road. However, Friday actually marks the Lakers' first real road game, since the opener was played in Staples Center against the Clippers. We have yet to see how this team reacts to a hostile environment. And it's possible an altered rotation with Kuzma in the mix throws off some of the team chemistry.

Meanwhile, Dallas is off to a quality 3-1 start with a pair of home games and a pair of road games. That's despite Luka Doncic shooting just 28.6 percent from deep and Kristaps Porzingis shooting only 42.9 percent from the field. I like getting points for the home team in a situation where positive regression should be en route. Furthermore, the line movement on this game is suspicious. 67% of the tickets are being written for the Lakers, who started at -2, but the line is moving in the opposite direction.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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