NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | March 21

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

After a winning night with our NBA picks Wednesday, we’re back with three more good ones for tonight. The Pelicans have become one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but face a tall task in Orlando against the Wagner brothers and the Magic. Plus, we will put our theories to the test for a couple of overs out West.

New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic Best Bet

Magic +2.5 (-110) at FanDuel

The Pelicans appear to be on the upswing in the West, winning seven of eight and are 6-1-1 in their last eight games against the spread, but look closer and you see New Orleans has been beating up on bad teams. The only quality win in this streak is over the Clippers. Zion Williamson is capable of amazing things though.

Orlando is 41-28 and has won four in a row. They’re only three games out of the second seed in the East, and everyone would like to avoid Boston as much as possible. The Magic are an astounding 46-23 against the spread this season. It’s like Michigan sportsbooks still don’t think Orlando is that good.

The truth is the Magic are very good. Paolo Banchero has blossomed into a star and the Wagner brothers (Mo and Franz) are those stereotypical foreign-born players who do everything right and find ways to nick you to death. Orlando has great balance. I’m still not 100 percent sold on the Pelicans, so I’ll take the Magic and the points at home.

fanduel sportsbook
Magic +2.5 (-110)

New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets Best Bet

Over 208.5 (-115) at BetMGM

Doing over/under bets in the NBA is fun, because there’s so much data you can access right away.

The Nuggets are only 26-42-1 over/under this season, but they’ve averaged 117 points in their last six games. They’ve also won six of their last seven. Yet, it almost seems like the Nuggets don’t care about scoring a lot of points, they just want to score 1 more than you do. Nikola Jokic either seems to score 35 or 15. There’s no in between.

New York is still not full strength and won’t have defensive stopper OG Anunoby or Julius Randle for this one. This is the Knicks fourth game of a West Coast swing. They’ve won four in a row, averaging 107 points in that time. You look at this number and think, can both teams get to 100 points, because if so, then we’re in good shape. The trends are there for the over.

betmgm sportsbook
Over 208.5 (-115)

Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Best Bet

Over 226.5 (-110) at DraftKings

As soon as I saw this total, I was immediately thinking of the over. The Hawks are still without Trae Young, although he may be back for the Play-In Tournament. Atlanta doesn’t play much defense with or without Young, allowing almost 122 points a game.

Phoenix isn’t a great defensive team either, but man, they can score when they want to. These two teams played back in February and combined for 249 points (that’s way over 226.5). Kevin Durant had 35 points in that one. Devin Booker had 24.

Atlanta has found some offense lately. Dejounte Murray has averaged 25.8 points in his last 10 games and Jalen Johnson has had three big games in a row.

There’s too much offensive talent on the floor for this one, and not a lot of defensive want-to. Stay with the over.

draftkings sportsbook
Over 226.5 (-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.