Friday free NBA betting tips
Best hard court wagers on Friday
By Dan Favale
The gap between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers is the largest it’s been over the last three years. Cleveland is also working off a last-second loss to the Boston Celtics and won’t want to suffer further disappointment as the boys in green continue their march up the Eastern Conference standings.
Incorporating newcomers Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut will take time, and that will likely prevent the Cavaliers from securing a few decided victories. But this three-point spread is small enough for us to invest in it—especially when it looks like LeBron James won’t be receiving a rest day.
The Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (-3)
The Miami Heat’s recent hot streak isn’t so much a transient tear as it may be the new normal. They have been too fiery for too long to write off their general performance as a fleeting development.
Pit them against an Orlando Magic team that has yet to figure out how it’s going to play on offense or defense, and they seem ripe for a big-time victory. Were this spread seven points or higher, we might consider going in a different direction, if only because the Magic are randomly competent. But four points is more than tiny enough for us to try riding the Heat’s most recent wave.
The Pick: Miami Heat (-4)
After the drubbing the Washington Wizards handed the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night, we should expect the former to come out with much more spunk.
Which ultimately won’t matter.
While the Wizards remain shallow, even after the addition of Bojan Bogdanovic and Brandon Jennings, they have been unstoppable at home in recent months. Combine this with Kyle Lowry’s continued stay on the sidelines, and you get the potential for another blowout.
To be sure, it’s unlikely the Wizards build another 24-point lead as they did in Toronto. But a double-digit victory is far from out of the question.
The Pick: Washington Wizards (-5)
Joel Embiid will not play for the rest of this season due to swelling in his knee, which automatically means the Philadelphia 76ers will be underdogs in every game they play.
Some of those spreads will be worth a flyer in the Sixers’ favor. This isn’t one of them.
Make no mistake, the New York Knicks are a cruddy basketball team. They did, after all, almost lose to the Embiid-less Sixers roughly one week ago. But they held a monstrous lead in that game and are coming off what was, by their standards, an impressive victory over the Magic on Wednesday night.
Beyond that, it’s been forever—okay, a little more than two months—since they won consecutive games. This is the perfect situation for them to break that unfortunate streak.
The Pick: New York Knicks (-1.5)
Anticipation always mounts when the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Celtics, even when the two teams are traveling in far different directions. The lore from a rivalry past still lingers, and the atmosphere in Staples Center should be accordingly electric.
But the Celtics are on a roll over their last 20 games or so, while the Lakers, after trading Lou Williams, are fast-tracking themselves toward the bottom. With no key injuries to report for the Celtics, it’s reasonable to expect a blowout victory in their favor.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-7.5)