NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, March 17th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

March 17, 2023 09:57 AM


Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

Stay up to date on injury news with our injury report page as well.

*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 58-65 | Units: -9.92 | ROI: -8.26%

Once again questionable tags on key players in almost every game have me without a morning best bet. There are two games which I will be monitoring though: New Orleans/Houston and Dallas/Los Angeles.

In the meeting between the Pelicans and Rockets I will be waiting to see if the market will get to 4.5 on the Pelicans. As far as the meeting between the Mavericks and Lakers, the status of Kyrie Irving is keeping me from betting the road team.

NBA Games & Odds

Philadelphia 76ers (-9.5, 227) at Charlotte Hornets

Philadelphia improved to 12-3 SU/10-5 ATS in its last 15 games with its win over Cleveland on Wednesday night. Since reinserting Tyrese Maxey into the starting lineup at the beginning of March they are 7-1 SU/5-3 ATS and, more importantly, 6-2 to the Over. As great as that trend has been though, this might be the game to continue riding it. Charlotte is the worst non-garbage time offense in the NBA (109.6) and perfectly capable of being stymied throughout this game. The 76ers still have some very good defensive lineups at its disposal, and that was evident on Wednesday when it went on an 18-1 run in the third quarter that almost kept the game from going Over. When playing that trend I want a team that can match the scoring pace and the Hornets are not one of those teams.

Golden State Warriors (-1, 247.5) at Atlanta Hawks

Is it really as simple as fading Golden State on the road? The Warriors are 0-9 SU and ATS in their last nine away games, and on the season they are now 7-27 SU/9-25 ATS on the road. It seems that could continue tonight due to some personnel absences. Draymond Green will not play due to suspension after receiving his 16th technical foul on Wednesday night, and Stephen Curry has popped up as questionable with thumb soreness on his left hand. Curry’s potential absence explains this line flipping to Hawks -3.5 consensus, but let’s not act like Atlanta is the most consistent team in the league. The Hawks are 7-9 SU/6-10 ATS in their last 16 games, and they are the fifth worst defense in the NBA over that span (119.5). The team is also 3-5 SU and ATS since Quin Snyder made his debut as coach. It’s a meeting of two teams that I do not want to bet with your money.

Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers (-5, 220)

Cleveland still won’t have Jarrett Allen on the floor tonight, and that is a blow against a team like Washington which has plenty of size and versatility up front. In the three games since Allen injured his eye the Cavaliers have allowed 115.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and opponents have grabbed 32.7% of their missed shot attempts. Those are certainly areas which Washington can take advantage of. They do not dominate the offensive glass, but against thin frontcourts they can, as evidenced by their 117.2 points per 100 putback plays which is seventh best in the NBA.

New Orleans Pelicans (-6, 230.5) at Houston Rockets

The betting market is coming in on the home team early, and it might be more about fading the Pelicans than it is about backing the Rockets. New Orleans is 4-9 SU/5-8 ATS in its last 13 games, and as usual its offense has been abysmal. Over those 13 games the Pelicans have averaged 110.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and even with Brandon Ingram returning the other night they only managed 1.074 per possession. Houston is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games, but if the market continues to move on the Rockets we might have a buy-low spot for the Pelicans. My buy price is 4.5 or better for New Orleans.

Memphis Grizzlies (-8, 231.5) at San Antonio Spurs

Memphis is very similar to Golden State, in that there is little to trust in when it comes to the team playing on the road. The Grizzlies were in Miami on Wednesday and were absolutely blasted by the Heat to fall to 13-22 SU/12-21-2 ATS away from home. In their last 14 road games they are 2-12 SU/3-11 ATS. The market does not seem to mind, as this number is now 8.5 consensus, but as we have preached in this column, blindly fading these bottom dwelling teams is not the profitable trend bettors believe it to be.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls (-2.5, 224.5)

Rudy Gobert, Austin Rivers and Naz Reid are questionable to play for Minnesota, and Alex Caruso is questionable for Chicago. Gobert and Reid played through questionable tags on Wednesday so there is a high probability that those two play tonight, but there is always a risk in assuming in the NBA. Meanwhile, Caruso did not play against Sacramento when he was questionable to play. This game is all about finding clarity on the injury report before diving in, making it an easy one to dismiss. 

Boston Celtics (-5, 230.5) at Portland Trail Blazers

Robert Williams will not return from injury tonight and Jayson Tatum is questionable to play. Tatum’s status is why this number is as cheap as it is, and it is also why this game is not one to bet now. Should Tatum play this would be a great buy-low opportunity on the Celtics. The Trail Blazers have been abhorrent on defense throughout the entire season, and there is no signs of improvement. Portland has allowed 124.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time in its last 21 games. That is the worst defensive rating in the NBA over that span by 1.6 points. Also keep in mind that Jerami Grant is questionable and Damian Lillard is probable tonight. The last time Lillard had such a designation he did not play.

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5, 223.5)

Kyrie Irving, who has missed the last three games for Dallas, is questionable to play once again. Tim Hardaway Jr. is questionable as well, and Luka Doncic is still out with his quad injury. If Irving and Hardaway Jr. can play tonight this will be an intriguing spot to both buy low on Dallas and sell high on Los Angeles. Since inserting Jarred Vanderbilt into the starting lineup the Lakers have allowed 108.9 points per 100 possessions, which is the best defensive rating in the league over that stretch. However, they have not faced many top offenses during this run. This would be a fascinating test for a team which the market has steadily upgraded the last few weeks. Should Irving and Hardaway be announced as active this would be a game worth betting both Over the total and the underdog before a real line move.

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