We have more Sweet Sixteen games in college basketball tonight, and that’s where a ton of attention will be on Friday. That means tonight’s NBA seven-game slate will go a little under the radar and there’s a lot of value to be found.
Our NBA analysts are targeting three matchups on tonight’s slate and betting a total, a prop and a spread.
Check out their in-depth analysis and the best best for Friday night.
NBA odds and picks
Utah Jazz vs. Charlotte Hornets
Austin Wang: The initial thought you have with these two teams is high score game and easy game, but I suggest otherwise.
Early in the season, when scoring was down league-wide, the Hornets were one of the few teams still producing high-scoring games due to their quick style and lack of defense. The books started to overstate their totals and it continued as the Hornets have the highest average closing totals in the league.
That total opened at 232 last night and was staked at 228.5 in a move I agree with.
The Jazz will once again be deprived of Bojan Bogdanovic, their second top scorer. He shoots 39.2% from behind the arc and is a key cog in their offense. This will be the eighth game he will miss in March.
As a result, the Jazz’s offense has taken a hit recently. According to Gimme the Dog’s SDQL, they are 17-10 under as road favorites and they are 9-3 under in their previous 12 games.
The Hornets are still scoring at a high rate, but not against the top teams in the league. They are 25-9 against teams over .500, according to SDQL at Gimme the Dog. They are 25-13 under against teams playing at a slower pace than the league average. The Jazz meet the above criteria and the Hornets seem to adapt to the style and pace of play of their opponents.
Montrezl Harrell’s minutes have dwindled in recent games and I expect maximum use of starting center Mason Plumlee to take on Rudy Gobert. Plumlee’s presence gives me more confidence in a low scoring game.
The two teams are vying for the playoff seeding. The Jazz aren’t too far behind the Warriors for the third seed, so they need to finish strong to secure home-court advantage for the first round. The Hornets are currently seeded ninth – they still have a chance to get favorable positioning for Play-In games.
With so much still at stake, I expect the defensive intensity to be high. So, my best bet on this game is the under at 228.5, and I would play it down to 227.
Golden State Warriors vs. Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Anderson: Kevon Looney’s minutes have been everywhere lately, as has his production. It’s pretty clear at this point that Looney is a key part of the Warriors rotation, but with Stephen Curry sidelined and the team resting and trying to get into rhythm with their youngsters, Looney’s minutes rebound.
In the last game, Looney played 29 minutes and collected 16 rebounds, his highest total in more than two months. But the night before he played less than 12 minutes, and he only played 17 minutes the previous game, compiling just seven boards in the two games combined.
When Looney is outside, he cleans the window. He averages 12.6 rebounds per 36 minutes on the season, and he knows his role. And he should be in demand for a good number of minutes tonight against Clint Capela and Okyeka Okongwu with the Atlanta Hawks pressing on the ledge and the glass.
Over the last 36 games, Looney is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s crossed that line in 26 of those games, hitting over 72% of the time. When the minutes are there, it’s a piece of cake for Looney. He’s such a good rebounder that even with fewer minutes, it’s still in play.
If you think Looney will play a lot, you can try an alternative if you want. He had more than eight rebounds in half of his last 36 games, and he had double-digit rebounds in 13 of them (36%). But he’s only hit double figures in four of the last 21 games, and the beauty of the bottom line is that he can get there by going wide or playing fewer minutes but bouncing hard and hitting it anyway. .
We project Looney to 8.4 rebounds tonight and rate this as our best prop on the entire roster. I will play any number over or down to -115.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Los Angeles Clippers
Rahim Palmer: The Philadelphia 76ers are 10-4 since trading James Harden for Ben Simmons with losses to the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. Their game against the Heat was the only game in which they didn’t have Harden.
The 76ers lead opposing teams by +13.5 points per 100 possessions with Harden and Joel Embiid on the field together behind an offensive rating of 122.3 and a defensive rating of 108.8. They will face a Clippers team that has struggled to score without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard this season. The Clippers have also seen their defense fall off a cliff recently as they allowed 121.6 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, 26th among NBA teams.
Although Ty Lue is keeping his Clippers competitive despite injuries to their best player, the Clippers are only 15-25 against teams above .500 and it feels like they are outmatched there against a 76ers team which is one of the best in the East. Conference.
The way to beat this 76ers team is to go out in transition and the Clippers are only 28th in transition points per 100 possessions (1.5). With the Clippers struggling to score in both half court and transition and tasked with slowing down both Embiid and Harden, it could be a long night for fans of the other LA team.
Look for the 76ers to complete the Hollywood sweep just two days after beating the Lakers. I’m going to put the 5 down with the 76ers.