We’re off to a good start in the NBA as our Thursday night prop cashed with Warriors center Kevon Looney going over his points plus assists total. Friday night’s slate has 10 games, and I’ve targeted two matchups that I project are undervalued by the bookmakers.
I’ll preview both games, and hopefully, we can stay hot heading into the weekend.
Utah Jazz vs. Sacramento Kings
Moneyline: Jazz -235 | Kings +194
Spread: Jazz -6
NBA Championship Odds: Jazz +1400 | Kings +24000
The Jazz picked off right where they left off last season with a dominant 107-86 victory over the Thunder. They’ll now head to Sacramento to take on the Kings as a 6-point favorite. Utah’s lineup remains virtually the same from a team that led the league with 52 wins last season. That continuity is a big reason why their projected win total jumped 11 games to 53.5 this year.
Much of what we saw last season with the Jazz was on full display in their season opener. Utah creates separation from its opponents by constantly hoisting up 3-pointers. They attempted 47 triples Wednesday against the Kings and made 14 of those shots. In contrast, Sacramento made only seven of its 35 attempts.
Last season, the Kings were tied for 26th, allowing their opponents to shoot 38% from beyond the arc. That speaks to the quality of looks they’re giving other teams, and that’s problematic against a Jazz squad that’s not shy to shoot from distance.
It’s not often that you get a handicap that’s this straightforward, so there’s no reason to overthink things.
The Jazz come in on a 4-0 run against the spread and straight-up against the Kings. Four of those wins have come by double digits. Utah currently is a six-point favorite for this game, but I’d feel even better if I grab the hook down to -5.5.
The Bet: Jazz -5.5 (-118)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Chicago Bulls
Moneyline: Packers +100 | Hornets -11
Spread: Hornets -1.5
NBA Championship Odds: Pacers +10000 | Hornets +13000.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Chicago fans are hopeful this is the year it returns to the postseason after a four-year absence. After all, it was aggressive in the offseason and added a bunch of players, including Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso.
However, it will take a little bit of time for those players to gel with their new teammates as the season gets underway. We saw a bit of that uncertainty in the Bulls’ season opener against the Pistons as they failed to reach 100 points in the ballgame. Chicago managed under 102 possessions in the game and committed 17 turnovers. Four of the turnovers were committed by Ball, their new point guard. As a result, we can expect some growing pains from him as he runs this new offense.
The Bulls will take on a Pelicans team with the newly acquired point guard, Devonte’ Graham, who came over from the Hornets. Graham started 44 games with Charlotte last season, and it finished in the bottom half of the league with just under 102 possessions per game. That’s right around the same pace that the Pelicans played at in their season opener. Thus, we have two teams with new point guards facing off Friday night.
If any team will have the blueprint on slowing down or frustrating Ball, it’s his former Pelicans club. NBA lines can move quickly as this total opened at 224 but has now been bet down to 221. It won’t cost much to grab the hook so let’s play this one under the total of 221.5.
The Bet: Under 221.5 (-118)
All NBA game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid