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NBA sportsbook betting lines on Friday
Who to back in the NBA
By Dan Favale
Count yours truly among the many who are hesitant to ride teams on long-term winning streaks. The Miami Heat have secured 12 straight victories, in what is clearly the most inexplicably random stretch of any team this season.
Tonight they face the NBA-worst Brooklyn Nets, which feels like a trap game. The Nets play hard and have lost a ton of games down the stretch. If you don't take them seriously, winning won't be easy.
But the Heat aren't in a position to enter coast mode. They remain outside the Eastern Conference's playoff picture and are trying to sneak back in. More than a trap game, this feels like a chance for them to prove they don't plan on taking their foot off the gas anytime soon.
The Pick: Miami Heat (-6.5)
This is an interestingly timed matchup. The San Antonio Spurs have fallen off a bit on the road, while the Detroit Pistons are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
But the Spurs haven't covered a spread in a few outings. It feels disingenuous to bet against them still.
You should monitor the news to make sure head coach Gregg Popovich doesn't plan on resting any of his troops. Failing that, though, the Spurs should be able to gum up the Pistons' predictable, and bad, offense in their sleep.
The Pick: San Antonio Spurs (-4.5)
At some point we need to ask ourselves whether the Washington Wizards are in a different class than the rest of the playoff teams below the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That point is now.
We know the Boston Celtics belong in their own category below Cleveland, and the Wizards are now set to join them. They are shallow—often hopelessly so—but they're on one helluva tear of late. They have been nigh unbeatable at home, too. We'd be talking about an 18-game home winning streak if not for a ridiculous LeBron James three-pointer this past Monday night.
Which is the other thing: The Wizards went toe-to-toe with the reigning NBA champs and almost won. They hit big shots down the stretch. They proved they can handle The Moment.
While the Indiana Pacers are playing some of their best basketball of the season, we shouldn't want anything to do with betting against the current version of these Wizards at home.
The Pick: Washington Wizards (-6)
It's sometimes hard to bet on the Atlanta Hawks. Their offense is woefully inconsistent, and they don't always do a good enough job spacing the floor.
But the Kings are trash. It's just a fact. Their defense isn't good, and the offense isn't going to catch Atlanta's top-rate defense off-guard.
If Dwight Howard is able to limit DeMarcus Cousins, who will no doubt be on a mission after serving a one-game suspension, in any way you can expect the Hawks to win in a blowout.
The Pick: Atlanta Hawks (-2)
Some don't think the Memphis Grizzlies are a good matchup for the Golden State Warriors, and they're not terribly wrong.
The Grizzlies slow down the pace and can force mistakes in the half court. The Warriors will be especially vulnerable to their physical style with Zaza Pachulia and David West watching from the sidelines. Throw in more three-point shooting from the offense, largely thanks to new head coach David Fizdale, and the Grizzlies are better equipped to withstand to fend off the Warriors.
Still, the Warriors are the Warriors. And teams that blend floor spacing with athleticism don't pose good matchups for the Grizzlies, either.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-8)
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