Friday’s best bets, including Kings vs Lakers

Happy Friday! Tonight’s schedule includes just two nationally televised games with Nuggets vs. Celtics (7 p.m. ET) on NBA TV and Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies (10 p.m. ET), a playoff rematch, on ESPN.

The action doesn’t stop there, however, with six more impressive matches on the schedule and our team diving into three more clashes for their best bets on tonight’s schedule. Check out our expert picks and predictions for Friday night below.

NBA odds and picks

Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics

Take
ML Nuggets (+170)
Book
bet365
Trick
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA Television

Chris Baker: Nuggets v Celtics could be the game of the night and I think the Nuggets have a game advantage with Nikola Jokic v Al Horford down there.

We have seen what Jokic does to teams when they are unable to keep him 1 on 1 as he forces teams to double team and help the defense he then forces them to scramble and rotate with his elite passing ability.

That should be the case tonight, with Al Horford and Luke Kornet being the only centers to get legitimate minutes. This Celtics defense has been vulnerable this year without Robert Williams III at rock bottom and Jokic should be able to expose it.

The second major thing that brings me to the Nuggets here is Malcolm Brogdon’s absence through injury. Brogdon’s injury leaves them with only one real playmaker in Marcus Smart and will force the Celtics to give minutes to Payton Pritchard. The Celtics are completely lacking in depth right now and could be in big trouble if Horford or Smart pick up a few quick fouls.

I have a lot more faith in the depth of the Nuggets bench right now, especially with the way Bones Hyland — 18.0 PPG from 60% deep the past three games — has been playing lately. I believe in this Nuggets team and expect them to come out urgently tonight. I will bite here on Denver up to +150.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Take
Less than 220
Book
FanDuel
Trick
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: Since the start of last season (when Kyle Lowry left), under bets in Raptors games when Pascal Siakam is absent are 9-7, with an average line of 214, according to GimmeTheDog.com. So we have a total of six points above average in this place without Siakam. The Thunder’s schedule-adjusted offensive rating ranks 26th.

Under is 4-2 at home for OKC. The Thunder have the worst half-court offense in the league, while the Raptors rank 22nd. Transition will be a problem for both teams, but points will always be a problem. I’m doing this 214, giving us a healthy margin over the number.

I would bet this one up to 218.


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Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Take
Desmond Bane Over 3.5 3 points
Book
DraftKings
Trick
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Munaf Manji: The Grizzlies take on the Timberwolves tonight in a clash of two of the worst teams defending 3 points. Wolves allow their opponents to knock down an average of 15.1 seconds per game, which is the worst in the league. Wolves allow opponents to average 40 attempts per game, which ranks them 29th in the league.

So far this season, Desmond Bane is shooting 46.7% from beyond the arc and attempting 8.6 per game. He’s faced the Spurs, Nets, Kings and Rockets this season who are among the worst teams in 3-point defense.

In those four games, Bane shot 22 of 39 from deep and made at least four 3s in each of those contests. Additionally, Bane has made four 3s or more in three of his last five games. Against the worst 3-point shooting defense in the league, I think Bane will have plenty of eyes from beyond the arc.


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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

Take
1Q ML Cavaliers (+110)
Book
DraftKings
Trick
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Jim Tourvey: I like the Cavs in general on Friday, but the first quarter is where I’m going to target them the hardest.

Cleveland was the second-best basketball team to date by Basketball Reference’s simple rating system, which weighs opponent and net rating, alongside their record. For comparison, the Warriors rank 25th in SRS. Now, part of that is obviously down to the Warriors resting key players here and there, and they appear to be at full strength for Friday night, but right now – with the Warriors still looking to what this be a transitional season – the Cavs are simply a better team.

This game actually gained momentum towards Golden State early in the market, but that may be wrong. We consider the Warriors an elite defense, but they’re giving up the sixth-most 3s per game this season, and opponents are hitting those shots at a better-than-average clip. The Cavs are shooting 40.1% from deep this season, trailing only the Nuggets in efficiency.

The Cavs have also managed to reach the line with great consistency this season, averaging the seventh-most free throws per game so far. The Warriors, even when their defense has been better, have never been shy about getting opponents to the line, and this season no basketball team is getting opponents to the line more often than Golden State. Freebies and 3s are a great recipe for success on Cleveland’s offensive side.

On the other side of the ball, the Warriors will likely try to run Cleveland and take advantage of their own ability to go small. And that fuels this bet. I could see that strategy paying off late in the game if Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley can’t keep up with the Warriors running around the perimeter for a full 48 minutes, but in the first quarter I don’t see that being that big of an edge.

I don’t expect Kerr to play those small-ball lineups a ton right off the bat, because he’ll probably start Kevon Looney again, and only transition to those smaller lineups as the game progresses.

Finally, the first was the best quarter for the Cavs all season (+5.6 Net Rating), while it was a bugaboo for the Warriors (-6.0 Net Rating). Add to that the fact that the Cavs should almost certainly win the tip, giving them the extra possession in the first, and getting more money on the Cavs to win the first quarter is a great play on Friday.


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Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers

Take
Domantas Sabonis Over 5.5 assists
Book
FanDuel
Trick
10:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Joe Dellera: Before moving on to the selection, happy Veterans Day to all those who served!

The Kings face the Lakers tonight in a game where LA won’t have LeBron James. While the Kings should be able to take care of business, the player I’m targeting tonight is Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis has always been a capable passer and is currently averaging 6.1 assists per game out of 9.8 potential assists per game. This has increased over his last five games and his potentials have increased to 12.8 per game.

A big reason for this is De’Aaron Fox. Sabonis and Fox have a great rapport on the pitch and the highest frequency Sabonis player passing and receiving passes is Fox. In his last 20 games with Fox, Sabonis has exceeded 5.5 assists in 13 of them (65%).

Applying that to this specific game, the Lakers are allowing 26.5 assists per game, eighth in the league. Given the Lakers and Kings are playing fast and are first and 11th respectively in pace, that should lend itself to more passing and scoring opportunities for Sabonis.


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