Friday night is full of exciting NBA games despite the fact that teams are still dealing with a rash of players entering health and safety protocols. But it’s full steam ahead in terms of on-the-court action with Steph Curry, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard and others suiting up around the league.
These are our three favorite NBA betting spots for the night:
The Bet: Heat -4 (-110, DraftKings)
The Heat have been underdogs in four straight games, presumably because they’ve been without key players like Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, but the team keeps producing at a high level, winning three of those four games outright. Against a talented Philadelphia team on Monday, the short-handed Heat were led by Gabe Vincent (26 points), Duncan Robinson (21), and Dewayne Dedmon (10 points and 14 rebounds) in a game they won by five as eight-point dogs.
Why can’t they contribute at similar or even higher levels against the lowly Magic, who have lost six straight and gone just 2-4 ATS over that span? They’re 3-8 ATS at home on the year and only 1-5 ATS in division games. This spread is too small, even for this version of the Heat.
The Bet: Blazers -2 (-105, Points Bet)
Portland has been one of the league’s most disappointing teams and one of its worst against the spread. They’ve lost 10 out of 11 games heading into this matchup vs. Charlotte, and they only covered twice in that span. But amongst that brutal record are some signs of life. They played intermittently without Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic over that period, and while McCollum remains out, Lillard and Nurkic are back and performing at a high level. (Lillard’s 31 vs. Phoenix on Monday almost led them to victory over arguably the league’s best team.)
Charlotte, meanwhile, has been one of the harder hit teams in recent weeks by COVID-19, and while the team’s affected players, including reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, are on their way back, their integration into the lineup will inevitably be a bit disruptive, which is to say nothing of the questions regarding their current conditioning.
Setting all that aside, the team just doesn’t perform the same way on the road as it does at home. The Hornets are 8-10 as an away team ATS (vs. their stellar 10-2 ATS record in Charlotte), and they’re 2-6 ATS in road games vs. Western Conference opponents.
The Play: Spurs +11.5 (-105, DraftKings)
San Antonio has been up and down over the course of the season, but as of late, whenever they’re down, they bounce right back up. After their last four ATS losses, the team rebounded with an ATS win. And as underdogs over the past few weeks, they’ve covered five of their last seven, including their last three on the road.
The Jazz have won eight consecutive games straight up, and some of those victories have been decisive. But for a good ATS team on the season, being home favorites has been one of their worst spots, only going 8-6 on the year. They’ve also lost outright in two of their last three games as home favorites of more than 10 points.
In this case, 11.5 will prove too many points for Coach Pop and San Antonio.