Only two NBA games graced the schedule on Thursday night, and we went 1-1 to bring our NBA Picks record to a solid 38-14 on the year. It’s worth noting that we made our Thursday night NBA predictions before news broke that Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili would both sit out the contest. Had we known that, we probably would have picked the undefeated Rockets at home.
This is a lesson in NBA betting, though. Always stay on top of injuries and player roles so you can appropriately assess matchups. We aim to do just that again as we take our steady NBA Picks record into a big slate of Friday night contests. Let’s run through each matchup and see which squads are the safest bets tonight:
Timberwolves @ Magic
Orlando got their first win of the year on Wednesday and should be pretty comfortable at home tonight against a shaky Minnesota defense. Magic is even worse at stopping opponents and they’re still a little shorthanded due to injuries, though, so the Wolves could get a nice road win. Expect a back and forth shootout, however.
Pick: T’Wolves 106, Magic 104
Hawks @ Hornets
Charlotte hasn’t been clicking on offense, but their defense remains among the league’s best. That should be a huge key with this one at home, while Atlanta’s defense should allow the Hornets to get something going offensively, as well.
Pick: Hornets 96, Hawks 91
Bulls @ 76ers
Philly got close to getting their first win of the year in their last game, but they’re not going to be much of a match for the Bulls. Even if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah both sit out again, Chicago should be the heavy favorites.
Pick: Bulls 107, 76ers 89
Knicks @ Nets
The battle of New York tips off on Friday night, as Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks try to work the Triangle offense in Brooklyn. The Knicks are dying at point guard and don’t have their offense down yet, so it’s tough to see them getting a win on the road against a solid Nets team.
Pick: Nets 104, Knicks 101
Bucks @ Pistons
Milwaukee has been pretty feisty so far, while Detroit got their first win of the year in their last game. This one has Brandon Knight returning to take on the team that traded him a year ago, so there could be some extra drama. The Pistons have a major size and talent advantage in the paint, though, so they should be able to hold down the fort at home.
Pick: Pistons 99, Bucks 96
Pacers @ Celtics
Indiana is hurting badly due to injuries, so a matchup with the defensively challenged Celtics comes at a great time. Something has to break in this one, and we’ll give Indy a shot at taking the road win.
Pick: Pacers 101, Celtics 100
Wizards @ Raptors
Both the Wiz and Raps are 4-1 and lead their respective divisions, making this easily one of the better matchups to tune into for the night. It’s probably an impossible one to predict, though, as both of these teams can put up points and are also able to defend when they put their mind to it. Washington probably has the edge even with this being in Toronto, though, as the Raptors are dealing with injuries to their bigs right now.
Pick: Wizards 104, Raptors 101
Grizzlies @ Thunder
OKC has been ravaged with injuries and they’ll be hosting the best defensive team in the league. The Grizzlies should suffocate the Thunder and get a nice road win to stay undefeated on the year.
Pick: Grizzlies 104, Thunder 86
Mavericks @ Jazz
We are in for a total shootout on Friday night, as both the Mavs and Jazz are terrible on defense and oddly both boast very potent offenses, as well. Dallas has the experience and more talent, so they should still get the edge, though.
Pick: Mavs 109, Jazz 105
Kings @ Suns
Phoenix tends to be tough at home, but Sacramento has been a nice surprise this year with a solid defense and a perfect 2-0 start away from home. The Suns also aren’t getting anything out of Goran Dragic right now, so unless he shows up in this one, the Kings might extend that road record to 3-0.
Pick: Kings 104, Suns 102
Cavaliers @ Nuggets
The final game of the night could be a pretty good indicator of just how bad things are for the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James and co. will try to turn their slow 1-3 start around in Denver, where a terrible Nuggets defense awaits. It’ll be shocking if the Cavs can’t get their offense going in this one.
Pick: Cavs 114, Nuggets 107