NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | April 2

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

Our Tuesday night NBA picks are focused on the Western Conference playoff chase. Golden State is trying to hold off Houston for the last spot in the Play-In Tournament. The Warriors host the surging Mavericks, while the Rockets are in Minnesota to take on the Wolves who are still in the mix for the top seed in the West.

OKC Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers Best Bet

Thunder -5.5 (-108) at FanDuel

The return of Sixers big man Joel Embiid is close, but it’s probably not happening tonight.

With Embiid in the line-up, the Sixers have gone 26-8. Without him, they are 14-27 and have nearly slid all the way out of playoff contention. Right now, they’re in eighth place, but can you see a situation where the top seeded Celtics get Embiid and the Sixers in the first round? That would be incredible - maybe not for Boston fans.

Philly is just not the same team without Embiid. They’ve lost five of seven, but they had the Thunder’s number winning eight of the last nine meetings.

OKC leads the West by a game over the Nuggets. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot. Shai Alexander-Gilgeous is questionable with a bruise, but he played 35 minutes on Easter against the Knicks. He’s going to want this one.

The Thunder owe the Sixers, who just aren’t a very good team without Embiid.

fanduel sportsbook
Thunder -5.5 (-108)

Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves Best Bet

TWolves -7.5 (-115) at BetMGM

Houston lost star center Alperen Sengen to a knee injury, was way back in the playoff chase and looked dead. Then they won 11 in a row to make it interesting. Houston is just two games behind Golden State for the last spot in the Play-In Tournament, but needs every win they can get. Jabari Smith Jr. and Fred VanVleet have picked up the scoring load.

However. Looking at the Rockets win streak, it came against the bottom teams in the NBA. They beat Washington twice and Portland twice. Yes, they did beat OKC and Cleveland, but the Wolves are a different story.

Minnesota is 51-23 and still has a shot at the top seed in the West. They’re 39-35 against the spread, which makes me worry, but I think Houston has flung its fling and is about to drop.

betmgm sportsbook
TWolves -7.5 (-115)

Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors Best Bet

Over 233 (-110) at DraftKings

Before I get into it, yes, there are plenty of reasons to take the under. Dallas has won seven in a row, but averaged 116 during that time. Defensively, they’ve played better, but they still give up 120 a night.

Golden State has won four in a row - remember, the Rockets have been pushing them - but only averaged 111 during that streak. They are 37-37 over/under this season. Count me in the Draymond Green should go camp. He’s more of a problem than a plus. Klay Thompson is probable with a knee injury.

The numbers that I look at say take the under, but this is the NBA. This is a rematch of the 2022 Western Conference finals which were a shootout. When they met at Golden State in December it was 132-122. I can just see Luka Doncic popping off for about 40 points and Steph Curry hitting for 30. These are two teams that love to score, so I’m going with my heart and the over.

draftkings sportsbook
Over 233 (-110)

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Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.