The 2019-20 NBA season is heading towards a climax, and we have a great slate this Friday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA March 6 Best Bets
Portland Blazers (+2.5) at Phoenix Suns
The Suns still have Devin Booker, yet they don’t have much else. Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee) is done for the year, his replacement Cam Johnson is out sick tonight, and Deandre Ayton (ankle) is doubtful. That basically leaves Dario Saric and Aron Baynes as the complementary options next to Booker and Ricky Rubio. Oubre is an underrated defender and without him the Suns have a 113.1 defensive rating and -8.8 net rating during their current 4-game losing streak. Phoenix is 6-14 ATS as a home favorite and has failed to cover in 13 of its last 14 at home. This spread almost seems like an early mistake at +2.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, since other books have the Blazers slight favored. Hit that line before it moves.
While the Suns have nothing to play for except ping pong balls, the Blazers are in ninth place with the Grizzlies fading and the Spurs and Pelicans struggling to close the gap behind them. Portland finally learned how to play without Damian Lillard (groin) with C.J. McCollum carrying the team to a win in Orlando, then Lillard returned and the pasted Washington at home. There is simply no way the shorthanded Suns can guard either Lillard or McCollum, let alone both. And with Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza shooting efficiently on the wing, Portland should win a third straight.
Indiana Pacers (-4) at Chicago Bulls
If you had a chance to listen to the “TheLines Coast to Coast Podcast” you’ll know that we have a thriving betting strategy post all-star break based on parlaying multiple favorites on full slates when upsets are less likely. Tonight’s slate is tough with a lot of close matchups, but the Blazers, Pacers, and Thunder stand out as teams that will almost certainly earn road wins against listless opponents.
Like the Suns, the Bulls are hamstrung without some of their most essential pieces. Namely, they don’t have Zach LaVine (quad), who averages 35.4 points per 100 possessions on a team that ranks 26th in offensive rating. Even with LaVine, Chicago has dropped 11 of its last 13 contests since choking down the stretch in Indiana, giving the Pacers an eighth straight H2H victory.
The Bulls are 4-22 against teams with winning records and the Pacers are 25-11 against teams with losing records this season. The Pacers are 5-2 with the fourth-best defensive rating (104.4) in the league since the ASB and the Bulls are 2-5 with a -4.2 net rating in that span. Those numbers come despite Indy playing the Raptors, Blazers, Spurs, and Bucks, while the Bulls only managed to beat Washington and edge a shorthanded Mavs squad.
Boston Celtics (-2) vs Utah Jazz
While the Celtics are still expected to be without Jaylen Brown (ankle) and Gordon Hayward (knee), there is a good chance Kemba Walker (knee) is ready to go after sitting out Wednesday’s trip to Cleveland. Regardless, Boston can lean on the newest candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year, Jayson Tatum. The Celtics have covered in 7 straight games with Tatum active, and the lone exception was an absurd collapse at home to the Nets. That blip seems to have sparked the C’s and helped them get a win in Cleveland the next night with over half their starting lineup out.
Utah appears to have righted the ship against some bad teams, but the Jazz is still just 12-15 against teams with winning records. Over their last 12 games against teams in the playoff picture, they’re 4-8 with a -39 differential. Boston is 8-3 over its last 11 against playoff teams and has routinely kept things close or simply dominated with a top 10 rated offense and defense since February 1. The Celtics are 18-11-1 ATS at home and 17-8 ATS in non-conference games this season. If Marcus Smart can contain Donovan Mitchell, the Celtics should roll once again.
NBA March 4 Picks Against The Spread
Washington Wizards (-3) vs Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have been completely boom-or-bust on the road this season, so taking a 3-point spread versus a bet on the moneyline makes a lot more sense.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-7) at New York Knicks
Sticking with the same trend that saw Utah win by 8 in New York on Wednesday, the Thunder has the size to shut down the Knicks interior attack and New York has almost no 3-point shooting with which to counter.
Brooklyn Nets (-2.5) vs San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have only been playing close games lately and the Nets have been great in clutch time over the past few months, especially at home.
Los Angeles Lakers (PK) vs Milwaukee Bucks
It’s time for a statement game from LeBron in the MVP race and the Lakers in the race for the top overall seed. Should be a great fight at Staples Center.
Miami Heat (+1.5) at New Orleans Pelicans
Bam Adebayo contained Giannis on Monday and now he’ll try to contain Zion, adding to the Pelicans growing pains as they struggle to fight for a playoff spot.
Memphis Grizzlies (+7.5) at Dallas Mavericks
The Grizzlies continue to get overlooked with their two promising bigs out, yet all they’ve done lately is cover or win outright.
Orlando Magic (-2.5) at Minnesota Wolves
We’re not ready to trust the Wolves against a reputable defensive team, as much as Orlando has struggled on that end over the past couple months.