NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, March 31st

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Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

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All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

Stay up to date on injury news with our injury report page as well.

*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 61-70 | Units: -12.20 | ROI: -9.52%

Orlando Magic (-2.5, 230.5) at Washington Wizards

Washington has won two of three and covered three straight despite essentially shutting down both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma. The results recently might have been positive for the Wizards, but this team has put in no effort on the defensive end. Since the beginning of March Washington has allowed 120.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and as a result their games are 10-6 to the over. Two of the three games against Orlando have gone over as well, and these games have been quick with an average of 103.5 possessions per game. The pace will likely be similar tonight, and games between teams which have been all but eliminated tend to play fast with little defense.

Bet: OVER 224.5 (0.5u)

Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets (-4, 229.5)

Detroit is rolling with its usual backup squad tonight. Five players – Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, Isaiah Stewart, Hamidou Diallo and Rodney McGruder – are all out for the Pistons. This version of Detroit has been abysmal on defense, allowing 122.0 points per 100 possessions and 1.411 per play in transition. They are also effective in their own right in transition, averaging 1.46 per play offensively. Houston has had its own well-documented struggles on defense, allowing 129.7 points per 100 possessions on defense during this 0-7 SU/2-5 ATS slide. Neither team is overly quick in terms of pace, but both are poor defensively with the ability to exploit the other in the fastbreak. This game has dipped to 228.5 on the market this morning, but I’ll push against that.

Bet: OVER 228.5 (0.5u)

Best Bet Recap

Magic/Wizards OVER 224.5 (0.5u)
Pistons/Rockets OVER 228.5 (0.5u)

NBA Games & Odds

Chicago Bulls (-6.5, 225) at Charlotte Hornets

It’s a crowded injury report once again for Charlotte, and that is why this number has been inflated from the overnight opener. Terry Rozier is out, Gordon Hayward is doubtful and both Kelly Oubre and Dennis Smith Jr. are questionable. If both Oubre and Smith are ruled out this number will hit double-digits, so keep your eye on the news feed and your finger on the button. Chicago has dropped its last two, and it is no guarantee that Alex Caruso plays tonight considering the Bulls are all but locked into the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Oklahoma City Thunder (-3.5, 236.5) at Indiana Pacers

Myles Turner is listed as questionable to play, but reports have come out suggesting that he is done for the season. Should he be ruled out this number will likely swing back to Oklahoma City, but even with the absences of both Turner and Tyrese Haliburton it is hard to lay a price with the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will not play due to his ankle injury, and Oklahoma City is sliding. The team is 2-3 SU/0-4-1 ATS in its last four games, and it has closed laying an average of 9.7 points per game in those contests. The market is clearly too high on the Thunder, and if they close as 3.5-point favorites on the road without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander it could be a spot to come in on Indiana.

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers (-6, 225)

James Harden and Joel Embiid are not on the injury report this morning so bettors can expect both on the floor tonight. Philadelphia is 27-11 SU/24-14 ATS at home this season, but this time of year always adds some outside factors that might impact the result. The 76ers are virtually locked into the third seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors are ninth in the East and can still grab a spot in the top two play-in seeds. One angle to watch here is Embiid’s points and rebounds prop. It is set at 43.5 at DraftKings which is an extremely high number. He has averaged 37.5 against Toronto this season, and the market might be overvaluing his desire to win MVP with a number that big.

Utah Jazz at *Boston Celtics (-13.5, 234.5)

Boston wiped the floor with Milwaukee last night, and now it has to come back as 13.5-point favorites to host Utah. It’s not the best scheduling spot for the Celtics, but the Jazz have essentially punted on the season. Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen, Rudy Gay and Collin Sexton are all out and Kelly Olynyk is questionable. Utah will likely start Talen Horton-Tucker, Ochai Agbaji, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Simone Fontecchio and Walker Kessler, a group whose only real run was against San Antonio last time out. 

Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets (PK, 242.5)

This game carries some weight in the Eastern Conference play-in race, but the interesting angle here will be the total. This number opened up at 242.5 overnight and has since been bet down to 240.5 consensus. Atlanta has the profile of a team that regularly hits over in its contests, but that has not been the case lately, as the market has been too high on its totals. The Hawks are on a 5-2 run to the under over the last seven games, and it is due to an average closing total of 244 over that span. The pace, scoring and lack of defense Atlanta usually plays with has been baked into the market, and bettors who regularly try to play these games over have been burned. 

New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers (-5, 220.5)

Julius Randle is out for at least two weeks with a sprained ankle, so the Knicks roll into this game without their leading scorer and rebounder. The loss is a blow for New York’s chances in the postseason, but their depth can overcome his absence in a regular season game with little at stake. New York has limited opponents to 109.1 points per 100 possessions without Randle on the floor, and with Jarrett Allen considered doubtful to play the Knicks will not be at as big of a size disadvantage. The total has been bet up to 221.5 consensus, which seems contradictory but makes some sense. Allen and Randle are solid defenders who won’t be on the floor, and their absence could mean a quicker pace for both teams.

Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies (-6.5, 232.5)

Kawhi Leonard is questionable due to personal reasons, and his absence will be massive against Memphis who is rolling with a full roster, outside of the usual absences, in this game. This could be one of those sneaky seeding maneuvers the Clippers are known to attempt at the end of seasons. Los Angeles is sitting at fifth in the Western Conference, just a half-game behind Phoenix for the fourth seed. However, the Clippers might want to avoid a spot in that series, and instead shoot for the perceived weaker team in Sacramento. Regardless, Leonard’s status will shape this number and his potential absence is the reason this number is 6.5 consensus. 

Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves (-1, 232.5)

This game is massive in the Western Conference playoff race, but the injury report for Minnesota has made this a mess early this morning. Eight players have injury designations for the Timberwolves, and while both Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are probable there is obviously a chance in today’s NBA that one or both miss this game. There is also the quiet injury to Naz Reid, who reportedly broke his wrist and will miss time, but is listed as questionable. The market has been stuck on the opening numbers for good reason, and will sit there until there is clarity with Minnesota’s roster.