Mike’s Twitter: @MOConnor_NBA
A 3-3 performance last week wasn’t what I was hoping for, but after three straight winning weeks, I can accept having one where I merely break even. This is the last Friday night of the NBA regular season, so let’s make it count. Here are my picks for tonight’s action-packed slate.
Smart Money NBA Betting Picks for Tonight’s Action
Here are the circumstances surrounding this game: Golden State and Memphis are currently tied for eighth place in the Western Conference, and they play each other on Sunday in Golden State. The season series is tied 1-1, so the winner of Sunday’s game will get the tiebreaker, and thus, the eighth seed – creating a circumstance where tonight’s game means absolutely nothing for them.
Even if the Warriors win tonight and the Grizzlies lose, the Dubs still would have to win on Sunday, because losing Sunday’s game would tie them with Memphis, and Memphis would hold the tiebreaker. There is no upside for them to come from this game.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and Mychal Mulder are all currently listed as questionable, and frankly, I’d be surprised if they play. There is no way that Golden State exposes themselves to any injury risk whatsoever.
While New Orleans has nothing to play for, either, they at least have nothing to lose. They’ll likely play all of their healthy players and play hard. Golden State is likely to have their third-stringers in by the third quarter. Take New Orleans to win this one.
For all of the same reasons that I’m betting on New Orleans, I’m also betting on Sacramento. There is simply no reason for the Grizzlies to play hard in this game.
Unlike the Warriors, the Grizzlies have not (yet) listed any of their key players on the injury report, but at the very least, I’d be surprised if they are both fully engaged and playing the entire game.
Nikola Jokić is currently listed as probable, and as long as he plays, I like this line for Denver. Simply put, the Denver Nuggets have something left to play for, and the Detroit Pistons do not. Denver still has a chance to catch the Clippers for the 3rd seed, and I have to think that they’d like to do so.
I’m always wary of betting on a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. But Detroit is simply awful, has suffered three straight blowouts, and is once again without Jerami Grant. I’m very comfortable betting that Jokić can manhandle a front line of Isaiah Stewart and Jahlil Okafor.
This is a risky bet, since Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Serge Ibaka are all questionable. The Clippers could easily end up sitting all three of them, and this bet will end up looking silly.
However, assuming that the Clippers have any desire to fend off Denver for the third seed, they’ll play at least one or two of those three players, in which case they’ll blow the doors off of the tanktastic Rockets.
The Rockets have given some teams close games lately, including a two-point loss to the Lakers, but that’s mostly been the product of Kelly Olynyk going nuts. Assuming they’re facing a relatively healthy Clippers team tonight, they’ll suffer a blowout.
Top Player Props for Tonight’s NBA Action
The odds on this aren’t great, but I feel very comfortable betting it. The Raptors allow the fifth most three-pointers in the league – their defensive scheme is predicated upon it. And they especially love leaving big men open on the perimeter to help protect the rim. Porziņģis is averaging 2.2 made threes per game this season, and going against a team that will scheme to allow shots for him, I love this bet.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards: Russell Westbrook Over 55.5 Points/Rebounds/Assists (-113)
I’ve made a fortune in recent weeks betting on the over for Russell Westbrook. He’s hit over this number of points, rebounds, and assists in five of his last seven games. Going against a terrible defensive team in Cleveland, I like these odds once again.
Also important to keep in mind: Bradley Beal is out once again, so the offense will be 100 percent Westbrook. Lastly, the Wizards still have something to play for, as they need one more win before they eliminate Chicago and clinch the final spot in the play-in tournament.