Basketball bets on Friday
Betting picks & lines comparison
By Dan Favale
Detroit Pistons (+7) vs. Golden State Warriors (-7)
It’s a wonder that this line doesn’t favor the Golden State Warriors more.
Sure, the Warriors played Thursday night against the Brooklyn Nets, a game in which they needed to overcome a 16-point lead and couldn’t offer too much rest to their key guys. That mixed with traveling late at night could mean they’re a tad sluggish to open things up against the Detroit Pistons. There’s always a chance head coach Steve Kerr rests some combination of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson as well.
But the Pistons have not been good since point guard Reggie Jackson’s return from injury. The offense has somehow gotten worse, and they’ll be trying out a new starting five tonight that includes Jon Leuer instead of either Marcus Morris or Tobias Harris.
Draymond Green is also rejoining the Warriors following the birth of his first child. He had to travel back to the Bay Area while already in Brooklyn, and turning around to fly back to Detroit isn’t ideal, but you know he’ll want to put on a show for the folks in Detroit. He was born, attended high school and went to college in Michigan.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-7)
Charlotte Hornets (-4) vs. Chicago Bulls (+4)
After a hot start to the season, the Chicago Bulls have settled in as the team most of us expected them to be. They aren’t unable to space the floor, the offense can be blah, and the defense isn’t anywhere near good enough to carry them toward victories by itself.
That figures to be a problem against the Charlotte Hornets. Their offense is going through its own motions as well, but they are deadly when Kemba Walker is on the floor.
Besides, unlike the Bulls, the Hornets have a defense that can truly win games on its own. Charlotte’s fortress should have a genuine field day facing Chicago’s plunging offensive machine. Don’t be surprise if this turns into a double-digit shellacking.
The Pick: Charlotte Hornets (-4)
Orlando Magic (-5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (+5)
Neither the Orlando Magic nor the Los Angeles Lakers are especially good. People entertained the idea that the Lakers might be a fringe-playoff squad after a plucky opening to the season, but they have since fallen back down to Earth. The defense is bad, and the offense can be maddeningly inconsistent.
But the Magic are worse off—a true roller-coaster ride in every sense of the phrase.
Sometimes Orlando plays lockdown defense, other times it gets torched. Sometimes the offense detonates for 100-plus points, other times it drowns beneath its riptide of clunky frontcourt rotations.
Indeed, the Magic have pulled off some impressive victories, and the Lakers will be playing without Larry Nance Jr., their best two-way asset. But a five-point spread here feels a bit generous for an Orlando team that hasn’t resembled anything close to a reliable betting play.
The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers (+5)
Milwaukee Bucks (-3) vs. Washington Wizards (+3)
Picking the Milwaukee Bucks feels like a risk for some reason, even though it shouldn’t.
For starters, the Bucks just wrapped up a home-and-home against the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw them exhibit plenty of fight. They didn’t win either night, but they pushed the Eastern Conference’s best team.
Beating the Washington Wizards should be child’s play after that two-game slate. Though the Wizards have improved of late, they still aren’t good. Their defense is trash, especially when it comes to the second unit, and they don’t have the positional versatility and length to combat the Bucks’ ridiculous-looking lineups.
With the Bucks playing at home as well, it’s only right we pick them
The Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-3)
Portland Trail Blazers (+2) vs. San Antonio Spurs (-2)
I know what you’re thinking: Why are the San Antonio Spurs only favored by two points over the super-crappy Portland Trail Blazers?
Because they’re working off a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, which means there’s a strong possibility head coach Gregg Popovich awards a rest day to his most important players.
And yet, even if Popovich benches his entire starting five, the Blazers won’t be locks to win, or to keep things close. Their defense is that bad, and the offense struggles mightily whenever Evan Turner’s on the floor. This is a game that should belong to the Spurs no matter who they play.
The Pick: San Antonio Spurs (-2)
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