These are your hot picks for Friday night in the NBA. We’re still picking up our jaw after a crazy NBA Trade Deadline Thursday. The Sixers, Pistons, Knicks and Celtics all made deals to reshape their roster. The Sixers host the Hawks with a new-look lineup Friday night, plus the Hawks are still woeful against the spread. Out in LA, the Lakers aim to shoot down the Pelicans.
NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | February 9
Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers Best Bet
The Sixers sent a clear sign to the NBA at the Trade Deadline Thursday basically saying they’re going to go small and shoot 3s while Joel Embiid is out.
Philly’s big man superstar is out for several weeks and the Sixers are struggling without him. They are 4-12 sans Embiid. Thursday they dealt away Jaden Springer, Patrick Beverley and Danuel House Jr. for a bunch of shooters and second round picks, including Buddy Hiedl from the Pacers. Philly has to be thinking if they don’t have a post presence, then start spreading out along the arc and make open 3s.
Atlanta was the talk going into the deadline, but didn’t trade Dejounte Murray, as expected. Atlanta has lost two in a row and is an NBA worst 15-36 against the spread. That’s almost unheard of.
Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Best Bet
Lately, I’ve had the simple strategy of finding the biggest total on the board for the NBA at Michigan Sportsbooks and then betting the under. It’s been working.
The Wizards are 23-27 over/under this season and eight of their last 10 games have gone under. They’re scoring 109 points in their last five games.
Boston is 16-point favorites to win this one. They lead the NBA in scoring in the first half, and score 120 a night.
Still, I believe this number is way too high. It’s the highest total posted for a match-up between these two teams in years. It’s the last game of a seven-game Boston homestand. Boston should crush Washington, who now only leads the Pistons by one game for worst record in the NBA. Even if its 130-100 for Boston it hits the under. Under all the way.
New Orleans Pelicans at LA Lakers Best Bet
These two teams have a quiet little rivalry ever since the Anthony Davis trade from New Orleans to LA. Pelican fans haven’t forgotten how AD forced his way out of New Orleans.
The Lakers have won three of their last four against the Pelicans and clobbered New Orleans in the semifinals of that NBA Cup thing. LA lost to Denver Thursday night, losing a late lead and is 5-5 in their last 10 against the spread.
New Orleans is coming off an impressive win over the Clippers and have won four in a row. Zion Williamson is questionable for this one (as always) but had 21 points in the win over the Clippers.
The Lakers are 2-6 on back-to-backs this season but always seem up for the Pelicans. Davis always plays well against his old team. The Lakers didn’t make any trades at the deadline - they don’t really have much to trade - so this is who they are.
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.