Friday, March 1, 2024

NBA Odds, Best Bets: Expert Picks for Timberwolves vs. Suns

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The NBA regular season continues on Wednesday night with a 10-game slate and two nationally televised matchups. Our NBA betting experts have six best bets ready for five different games, including both matchups on ESPN. Find their best bets and analysis below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Heat vs. Knicks Spread

Pick
Knicks -4.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Chris Baker: It’s difficult to make a prediction without knowing the status of the two most impactful players on either side of the court, but if Jimmy Butler and Jalen Brunson are both able to go, I would lean toward the Knicks at -4.5.

This line says the Knicks are only 1-1.5 points better than the Raptors, as Toronto opened at -3 yesterday before Butler was ruled out.

Considering the Heat are now on a back-to-back and the Knicks rank a full two points ahead of the Raptors in Net Rating (+3.0 vs +1.0), I would have to make this line closer to -5.5/-6 if Brunson plays.

I expect Brunson to play tonight, so grab the Knicks at -4.5 now.


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Heat vs. Knicks Player Prop

Pick
Julius Randle Under 26.5 Points (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Bryan Fonseca: Last week, I assured y’all that Julius Randle would end the Knicks’ game against the Heat well under his points prop, and he did, finishing with 15, his lowest total in two months.

For many of those same reasons, I’m doing it again.

Randle has a 57-point outburst against the Minnesota Timberwolves to his name recently, but that aside, he hasn’t hit over 26.5 points in over two weeks. He, again, doesn’t typically play well against Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat save for the 43 points he had recently, and he’s only been over 26.5 points twice since March 5.

The game itself also feels like an under — 223? Did you watch the Heat last night?

If Jimmy Butler plays, expect him to perform better on what would be, for him, three nights rest. But the Heat are coming off a back-to-back, flying from Toronto to New York last night, and their offense was miserable fewer than 24 hours ago.

The Knicks may win, but I don’t think it’ll be because of a Randle explosion.


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Mavericks vs. 76ers Spread

Pick
76ers -4.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Kenny Ducey: For years now, the Mavericks have lived and died by the 3 far too many times to count. They’re ninth in that category for the season and won’t be excited to hear that the 76ers are one of the best in the NBA at defending the 3, particularly over the last 10 games where they’ve allowed just 32% of guarded looks to fall, the second-best mark in the NBA.

As a team ranked dead last in rebounding, the Mavericks also won’t have much fun against a 76ers team which has been strong on the glass of late. This is all on top of the fact that the Mavericks are a mess offensively, and the Sixers have been putting the clamps down.

The Sixers have lost just 11 games in Philly and enter this one 22-14-1 against the spread at home this season. I really don’t see Dallas winning, even in a must-win spot. The Sixers play excellent defense and have incredible depth, which should help them win even without Embiid and Harden.

I would lay the points here up to 6.5, but you’d probably be wise to wait on injury news. This line would indicate that sportsbooks feel at least Embiid is playing, so I wouldn’t expect a huge move if he’s ruled in. Without him, though, you’ll get an excellent price on the home team.


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Lakers vs. Bulls Total

Pick
Over 225
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Chris Baker: These teams cleared this total with LeBron James banged up and D’Angelo Russell out, so I will go back to the well here as both of those players are probable tonight.

Lebron and D’lo being in and 100% is a huge boon for this Lakers offense. In the small sample size we’ve seen of them together, the Lakers shot at the 100th percentile of Effective Field Goal percentage (63.2%). They also played extremely fast, pushing the ball in transition on 17.8% of their possessions. They also had a 100th percentile Transition Offensive Rating (+8.9) in those possessions together.

The Bulls are a league-average transition defense (16th) so I wouldn’t be overly concerned with them shutting down the Lakers’ transition game. The Lakers offense on Sunday also had a sound process, as they attempted 80% of their shots at the rim or from behind the arc. I expect their shooting efficiency to increase with their return to health.

Additionally, D’lo and Lebron’s return will be a huge detriment to the Lakers defense. D’lo has always been one of the worst on-ball defenders in the NBA and Lebron is not at the level he was in his prime, and frankly doesn’t give a lot of effort off the ball anymore. The Lakers do not have the wing defenders capable of matching up with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, so I expect them to get to their spots tonight.

Ultimately, the Lakers will play fast and have a ton of playmakers on the floor. Between Austin Reaves, LeBron, and D’lo, they should have plenty of ball-handlers capable of creating offense while simultaneously having guys whom the Bulls can pick on because of their defense. Take the over 225, and play this up to 226.5 tonight in Chicago.


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Clippers vs. Grizzlies Player Prop

Pick
Luke Kennard Over 2.5 3s Made +128
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: Remember, you’ll need to wait to get clear Morant news before making any decision here.

If Morant sits, Jones props look like a good play, particularly any double-double at plus odds. If Morris sits for LA, a Batum 3s over could play. I still like riding Kennard’s hot hand best, especially in a revenge spot against his old team, and even more if Morant sits and frees up more shots. I’ll look to play Kennard’s 3s over and maybe go with 4+ or more on an escalator play.

If you’re looking for a side, the Clippers are in the more desperate spot but have struggled against top teams, and Memphis has been so good at home, with or without Morant. I’d lean toward a home cover but prefer the props.


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Timberwolves vs. Suns Spread

Pick
Timberwolves +6
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Tyler Schmidt: Durant was hurt in warmups before his home debut in early March, but barring another freak injury, Durant will start in his first game at home for the Suns. It would be fitting for the Timberwolves to spoil Durant’s homecoming.

The Suns did win all three road games that Durant played in, but I smell an upset by the Timberwolves, or at least they play well enough to cover this spread. The Timberwolves are fully healthy and have a great mixture of veterans and young talent that are clicking at the right time.

I would take the Timberwolves at +6 with a sprinkle on the moneyline at +200. Take the Timberwolves down to +4 with Towns and Edwards probable to play.

If you are looking at a future, I’m buying this Timberwolves team. They are currently +4500 to win the Western Conference. This conference is a juggernaut, but it is also wide open, and I think they can make a run at the title.


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