Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Friday's Best Bets
It's an interesting mix of games on the NBA board tonight, as there are teams many talked about as legitimate title contenders at the beginning of the season in some potential slip up spots. Philadelphia and Boston are both laying chalk on the road to a far worse team, while teams like Houston and the LA Lakers are laying points at home against talented, scrappy teams that are a bit shorthanded at the moment. I'd venture a guess that not all four of those favorites will bring home the ATS money tonight, but there are two of those games I would like to focus on.
Philadelphia at Oklahoma City (8:05 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #1: Philadelphia (-3.5)
I can see why this game may get some “trap” responses as the initial glance at it suggests it is a little short and might not be the best spot to back the 76ers. Philly's only on a 2-4 SU run in their last six as it is, as questions about how good this team actually is this year are starting to dominate more and more conversation about this team. Scraping by Cleveland and losing to Orlando don't exactly do anything to strengthen the argument that Philly is actually as good as many believed preseason, but this team is much better then they've showed in recent weeks.
I am one of those that does believe Philly's got a great shot to get out of the Eastern Conference this year, they've just got to find out the best ways their team works during the regular season. Because of that – and injury issues with stars missing games – Philly's not going to be the most consistence bunch, at least in my eyes, until probably after the All-Star break when they really start to get comfortable in their 2019 skin. This team had significant roster turnover this year too, and that's always going to add in a few more bumps in the road. Losing in a 2nd half collapse vs Orlando last time out was just one of those bumps, and given who they've got tonight, I doubt there will be multiple bumps in a row for Philly to deal with this week.
So if this line is a trap, I'm trapped, because I do not believe OKC is really any good at all this year. Yes, the Thunder have had some good performances at home at times this year in losing to Milwaukee by a single bucket and owning a winning record at home so far this year, but I doubt it's long before that changes. Two of their four home wins have come against the injury-blasted Golden State Warriors, while the other two came against Orlando and New Orleans, two teams who aren't expected to do much either.
In my eyes, Philly is a team you'll make more money betting against then on this year because they will more often be priced like an elite team but not show that they are on a nightly basis. But after a dismal performance like the one they had vs the Magic, you can get spots like this where a bounce back is lightly, and the number is probably a full possession short.
Sacramento at L.A. Lakers (10:35 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #2: Sacramento Kings (+10.5)
The Lakers got caught laying a dud a few games ago when they lost by 9 as double digit home favorites to an injury-depleted Raptors team. With all the roster turnover they've had in recent months, there were always going to be growing pains days like that for this organization as well. But after two sound performances after that that saw LA win both SU and ATS, this is a game where at least the point spread victory for LA should come into question.
For one, LA closed as a -9 favorite vs the Warriors just a few days ago, and now they are hosting a Sacramento team that's much better then that, and laying a bigger number? Yes, I know that the Kings will be without Fox and Bagley tonight – both huge losses – but the rest of this roster is still multiple points better then whatever Golden State is throwing together as a starting five these days.
Furthermore, the Kings have been playing some decent basketball as of late, going 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. The losses of guys who are hurt as forced Sacramento to play a much more team oriented game and the ball movement offensively has been great to watch. Not having that guy or two to key on late in possessions or late in games is obviously a knock for the team missing that talent, but what it does on the other side of things is it doesn't allow the opposing defense to double guys or shade defenses a certain way, assuming the ball will end up in Player X or Player Y's hands. When everyone on the floor is capable of knocking down open looks, that's a very tough attack to slow down.
Talent on the Lakers side will likely win out in the end in terms of the outright result tonight, but Sacramento's still got enough talent out there to keep this one close if they play as a unit. I believe they will for the majority of this game given that's what they've done each time out on the floor as of late, and they'll keep this game within single digits.