Friday night’s presentation of NBA action will feature multiple playoff teams squaring off. Even though there will be plenty of college basketball to bet on, catch a few good NBA picks here!
Game 1: San Antonio Spurs (42-30) @ Houston Rockets (45-27)
In a primetime Texas showdown, the Spurs will visit James Harden and the Rockets in Houston. The Spurs won the first game against Houston, but the Rockets have stormed back by winning the last two to lead the season series 2-1. Both teams are now precariously close to one another in the standings, making tonight’s game particularly important in case tiebreaker scenarios arise.
The Spurs managed to extend their win streak to 9 against Golden State, but dropped their last game 110-105 at home to the Miami Heat. San Antonio has been playing their best ball of the season, but they’re facing a Houston team that has lost only 6 times since the New Year. Then again the Spurs have only lost 8 times since December.
- 13-22 record in road games, the worst of any 16 playoff teams.
- Averaging just 100.7 points in their three games played against Houston this season, down from overall average of 111.8.
- 9-1 in their last 10 games played, including 4 victories over Western Conference playoff teams.
- Currently share a record of 42-30 with OKC, Utah, and LAC, making up the 5th-8th seeds in the Western Conference.
- Didn’t cover the pointspread last game, but covered the 6 games in a row prior to it, and have covered 8 times out of their last 10 games, making them an excellent cover bet.
The Rockets are just a win ahead of Portland for the 3rd seed in the West, a position they couldn’t have dreamed of in November. Through dominant play from James Harden, the Rockets are clicking on all cylinders – for the most part. They dropped a game to Golden State a week ago, and lost in overtime to lowly Memphis on Wednesday despite Harden scoring 57. If the Rockets want to keep their seeding and have any shot to play in June, the Beard is going to need some help.
- 26-10 at home this season.
- Shooting just 41% in the three games against San Antonio this season, down from their overall average of 45%.
- 12-2 in their last 14 games, but were only 1-1 against Western Conference playoff teams in that period.
- Kenneth Faried is probable to play tonight.
- Have not covered the pointspread in the last 2 games, but have covered 6 times out of the last 10 games.
Pick: Houston Rockets -6.0
It’s really hard to pick Houston here, as I feel they’ve been largely untested against Western Conference playoff teams as of late, whereas the Spurs have recently defeated four. Houston is the better team, but San Antonio outplays their roster by having an excellent coach. Tonight needs to be a statement game for Harden, and have no doubt he’ll deliver. Expect Houston to win tonight.
Game 2: Miami Heat (35-36) @ Milwaukee Bucks (53-19)
If the regular season ended tomorrow, tonight’s game between the Heat and the Bucks would be a sneak preview of the first round. With the Bucks sitting in 1st and Miami sitting in 8th, the current standings have them facing off. The regular season isn’t over yet though, which is why the two teams are playing tonight. The Bucks will be shorthanded tonight playing host to a surging Miami team hungry to make it to the postseason.
At the beginning of the month, the Heat were 27-34 and sitting just behind Orlando for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Orlando has played fairly well lately, making it no easy task for the heat to outpace them and steal the 8th spot. They’re here though, and now they’re in a prime spot to snatch a game from the Conference leader, Milwaukee.
- 18-16 road record this season, the only playoff team to have a better record in road games than home games.
- 8-2 in games played in March, with wins against 2 Eastern and 2 Western Conference teams.
- Only a game behind Brooklyn for the 7th spot, and 1.5 games ahead of Orlando to keep the 8th.
- Slew of injuries for the Heat; Bam Adebayo is questionable, Rodney McGruder is doubtful, and Justise Winslow is also
- Excellent cover team lately, covering the pointspread in their last 3 games and 7 of their last 10 games played overall.
The Bucks have clearly been the best team of the regular season, but their last stretch of play has been the worst we’ve seen from them all year. Milwaukee also can’t seem to keep healthy, with several players missing tonight’s game with various ailments. With Toronto just 2 games behind them for the 1st seed, Milwaukee needs to decide whether keeping the 1st seed is worth more than resting key players.
- One of the best home teams in the league at 28-6.
- Only 5-5 in their last 10 games, losing to 3 playoff teams in that stretch.
- After tonight, the Bucks still play 6 games against playoff teams.
- Several injuries for Milwaukee: Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic have already been ruled out for essentially the remainder of the regular season, Pau Gasol is out, Donte DiVincenzo is out, George Hill is probable, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is also probable.
- Didn’t cover the pointspread last game, but have been a fantastic cover team all season and have covered 6 of their last 10 games.
Pick: Miami Heat +10.0
Milwaukee has dominated the last two games against Miami this season, but they’ve run into the injury bug and are nowhere near full strength. If Giannis doesn’t play, this game is certainly an easy pick for Miami, but there is really no reason for him to play with Milwaukee locking up a playoff spot and many teammates already resting. The Heat are playing some decent basketball lately, and it should be enough to topple a Bucks team looking like a deer in the headlights. For all those reasons, expect Miami to win.