NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | April 9

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

We’re talking major playoff implications as we enter the final week of the NBA regular season. Tonight the Bucks have one last chance to make a stand against the best team in the NBA, but if they can’t beat the Celtics, the Magic are in prime position to step up. Out west, is the Warriors/Lakers game a Play-In Tournament preview?

Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Best Bet

Celtics -2 (-108) at FanDuel

It’s the two teams at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but while the Celtics have the 1 seed clinched - and have for a while - the Bucks are in a fight to hold on to the second spot.

Milwaukee has lost four in a row. They are 47-31 and, as wild as it seems, could lose out on homecourt advantage in the first round if this losing streak continues. Giannis Antetokounmpo is dealing with a hamstring injury, but had 28 points Sunday against the Knicks. My view from far away is Giannis and Damian Lillard just don’t mesh and it shows.

Boston has been resting players in the fourth quarter, but still won five in a row, including a 35-point win over Western Conference power Oklahoma City. Boston has beat the Bucks in two out of three meetings this season.

Milwaukee just hasn’t clicked this season. I’ll take Boston to cover on the road.

fanduel sportsbook
Celtics -2 (-108)

Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets Best Bet

Magic -2.5 (-110) at BetMGM

The most underrated team in the NBA is the Magic. By the end of the night they could be sitting in the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and they are 50-28 against the spread this season. 50 and 28!

They get a gift tonight taking on a Rockets team that was eliminated from the playoff hunt in a heartbreaking OT loss to Dallas. Houston lost star Alperen Sengun, then went on a long win streak to get close to the Warriors for a spot in the Play-In Tournament, but it’s all crumbled now. They’ve lost their last three games by 11, 15 and 23 points.

Orlando is coming off a win over the Bulls. Magic star Franz Wagner is questionable and he’s a huge loss, but Paolo Banchero has blossomed into a great player. How come the Pistons never find anyone like him in the draft?

Orlando has everything to play for and the Rockets don’t. That makes this an easy cover.


betmgm sportsbook
Magic -2.5 (-110)

Golden State Warriors at LA Lakers Best Bet

Warriors +2.5 (-108) at DraftKings

This time next week we might be looking at a one-and-done Play-In Tournament game between the Warriors and Lakers….that sound good or what?

Golden State is currently 10th in the West, the Lakers are ninth. Both teams still have a shot to pass Sacramento for the eighth spot.

LA is 37-42 against the spread but LeBron has the flu and Anthony Davis got hit in the eye. Both are questionable for tonight. Golden State is healthy. Klay Thompson has played much better since returning to the starting line-up. He had 32 against the Jazz Sunday.

Golden State beat the Lakers by seven three weeks ago and by 18 in February. They played an epic OT game back in January. No one wants to see either of these teams in a seven-game series in the playoffs, but only one might get through. Tonight, the Warriors have enough.

draftkings sportsbook
Warriors +2.5 (-108)

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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.