NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | March 26

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

The stars are out for a terrific Tuesday in the NBA and we’re riding a hot streak off of last week’s best bets. Tonight, Golden State needs a win to stay up in the playoff chase over Jimmy Butler at the Heat, while we -might- get a match up of superstars with LeBron James and the Lakers in Milwaukee to play Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. It depends on the injury report.

Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat Best Bet

Heat +1.5 (-110) at FanDuel

These are two teams suddenly desperate for a win.

A couple of weeks ago, Golden State looked like a lock for the Play-In Tournament, but now Houston has won nine in a row, and is just a half-game back for the final spot behind the Warriors. Golden State is 36-32-2 against the spread this season, and has lost three of its last four. Defense has been the issue. Golden State has allowed 118 points a game over their last five games.

Miami is seventh in the East, and has won four of their last six. They beat the Cavs twice and the Pistons twice. But they lost to the Sixers? The Heat are limping to the finish line. All season they’ve had guys hurt. Tonight, they have no Tyler Herro, no Caleb Martin, no Duncan Robinson, which means no depth at all.

Miami beat the Warriors by 12 just after Christmas. Even banged up, I like the Heat at home and am happy to take the point.

fanduel sportsbook
Heat +1.5 (-110)

Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Best Bet

Lakers +8.5 (-110) at BetMGM

LeBron James is questionable for this one with a sore ankle, but he’s basically on the Lakers injury report every night. He played Sunday in the Lakers 150-145 win over Indiana, so how hurt can he really be?

Ironically, James did sit out the Lakers win over the Bucks three weeks ago. D’Angelo Russell scored with 5.9 seconds left to win that one for LA. The Lakers know that it’s time to turn it up a bit coming down to the end of the regular season.

Milwaukee is 29-7 at home this season and has won four of their last five. Giannis is also on the injury report, but he’s listed as probable. Damian Lillard continues to carry the Bucks offense. He’s averaged 25.5 in his last 10 and should get plenty of open looks tonight.

I’m thinking LeBron plays, but even so the Lakers should be confident without him, so I will take the points against an inconsistent Bucks squad.

betmgm sportsbook
Lakers +8.5 (-110)

Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans Best Bet

Under 223.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Yes, I know, I never like to take the under in the NBA, but I’m feeling good about it here.

New Orleans is now tied for fourth in the West with the Clippers at 44-27, but they lost playmaker Brandon Ingram to an injury last week against the Magic. He’s probably out the rest of the regular season. The Pels have hit the under in three of their last four games.

OKC clobbered New Orleans 107-83 back in January (way under) and have won four of their last five. In their last five games, they’ve averaged 115.8 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still cranking out 30-point games.

Even if OKC hits that 115 they’ve been averaging, I can’t see the Pelicans cracking a big number without Ingram, so I will grit my teeth and play the under.

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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.