Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

NBA Bubble Bets - Friday

Free Picks | Betting Odds

Editor's Note: NBA Money (+4503) and Totals (+4680) leader Antony Dinero went 7-1 on Thursday and is 5-0 on his last five member picks. He's +1120 since the restart. Don't miss out on more winners from him this basketball season on Click to win!

Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors

  • Time/TV/Venue: 1:40 p.m, Altitude, HP Field House
  • Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Nuggets 46-26/3-4 (33-35-4, 4-3); Raptors 52-19/6-1 (40-30-1, 5-2)
  • Line:  Nuggets -2/222

Line Analysis: The Raptors rode their bench mob to a rally over the 76ers and have a chance at the East’s top record in seeding games if they come up with another win. A three-game losing streak wouldn’t be too concerning since the Nuggets have been working without multiple starters, but it would match their longest stretch without a win all season entering a complicated series against Utah. Denver’s backups have seen enough playing time in the bubble that they should be sharp.

Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Gary Harris and Will Barton aren’t going to suit up for a dress rehearsal, so Denver doesn’t have much to play for beyond getting through 48 minutes without incident. We’ll see a lot of Bol Bol and Noah Vonleh will remind everyone he’s on this team. Keep an ear out for whether Jamal Murray is playing since the Toronto native could swing the game with a strong half if he wants to warm up his hamstring more. It would be unnecessarily risky.

The Raptors will turn to Chris Boucher and Dewan Hernandez as their big men with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka expected to get the day off. Terence Davis should have a big day alongside shooter Matt Thomas with the typical starting backcourt likely to rest.

Handicapping Notes: It’s hard to use this stat given that we’re likely to see so many regulars sit out, but the Nuggets have been victimized by the most suspect defense since the restart, while Toronto has been the NBA’s stingiest squad. Denver is giving up over 122 points per 100 possessions.

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

  • Time/TV/Venue: 4:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, AdventHealth Arena
  • Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS):  Heat 44-28/3-4 (36-34-2, 3-4); Pacers 44-28/5-2 (39-30-3, 5-2)
  • Line: Heat -1.5/219.5

Line Analysis: The next installment of T.J. Warren vs. Jimmy Butler will have to wait until the playoffs begin next week. Both will sit and the team’s reserves will get to know one another well before most of them sit and cheer as spectators when the real action gets underway. The deep bench will be involved in deciding this one since most everyone is getting the day off from coaches Erik Spoelstra and Nate McMillan.

Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Butler, Adebayo, Goran Dragic and seldomly used Gabe Vincent and KZ Okpala are out for Miami. Vets Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala and Derrick Jones Jr. are listed as questionable, so any run they get should be limited. Tyler Herro figures to get whatever he wants as the primary playmaker for as long as he’s out there, while fellow rookie Kendrick Nunn will look to play his way out of a slump as he tries to carve out a spot in Spoelstra’s rotation going forward after leaving the bubble. Chris Silva and Meyers Leonard are due to play huge minutes up front with veteran Udonis Haslem and two-way player Kyle Alexander available for minutes. Solomon Hill also figures to close on the wing.

The Pacers may throw Malcolm Brogdon out there since he’s trying to continue ramping up his post-coronavirus conditioning and has missed multiple games due to a neck issue. It will be interesting to see what Victor Oladipo opts to do given how much time he’s missed. Count on Edmund Sumner, Goga Bitadze and JaKarr Sampson to factor heavily in this one.

Handicapping Notes: The Heat don’t need to tank this one to ensure that the Pacers don’t slip behind Philadelphia, so there should be no strategic folding from Miami. Indiana has lost three matchups against the Heat this season and may want to get on the board for the mental boost it could provide even with the opposition nowhere near full strength. The winner here gets a meaningless No. 4 seed and opens as the “home” team when the playoffs open.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Time/TV/Venue: 6:40 p.m. ET, ESPN, HP Field House
  • Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS):  Thunder 44-27/4-3 (44-27, 4-3); Clippers 48-23/4-3 (40-31, 5-2)
  • Line: Clippers -6/225.5

Line Analysis: OKC played so well in the bubble that it made this game inconsequential. Had the Thunder struggled in Orlando, the Clippers might have had a decision to make as to whether to start their regulars in order to guarantee a first-round matchup presuming they preferred facing OKC to squaring off in Dallas. That decision has been made for them, so the Clips get to use this as a friendly tune-up between teams that now can’t possibly meet again until the conference finals.

Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Montrezl Harrell won’t return for a seeding game’s worth of seasoning despite being out of quarantine, so he’ll just have to get loose during the next few days of practice. Same goes for point guard Patrick Beverley and shooter Landry Shamet, who have been nursing injuries. Their absences means this fourth quarter will feature a lot of Terance Mann and Rodney McGruder as catalysts. Center Joakim Noah should get extended time as well.

Chris Paul played both legs of a back-to-back but has ramped up to where he wanted to be and will now rest in this regular-season finale. Sixth man Dennis Schroder is still isolating after returning from paternity leave while starting guard Luguentz Dort will be out with a knee sprain. Hamidou Diallo should see big minutes at the point once Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is through. Centers Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel have each missed a few games but returned against Miami on Wednesday. Neither should play much, so Darius Bazley and Mike Muscala should continue receiving loads of touches.

Handicapping Notes: The Thunder rode Muscala’s timely 3-point shooting down the stretch to stun Miami in a game they had no business winning. The 3-ball will play a huge role in this one too since we’ll likely to see a lot of small ball once Ivica Zubac, Adams and Noel sit. JaMychal Green and Patrick Patterson have been terrific spotting up beyond the arc or playing pick-and-pop with Lou Williams and Reggie Jackson, so expect the team that’s most successful from beyond the arc to gain separation in this meaningless affair.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets

  • Time/TV/Venue: 9:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, AdventHealth Arena
  • Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): 76ers 42-30/4-3 (29-39-4, 2-5); Rockets 44-27/4-3 (33-38, 4-3)
  • Line: Rockets -4.5/230

Line Analysis: The 76ers know they’ll be missing Ben Simmons this postseason, so they’re looking to figure things out. They’ll probably pass on doing so against the Rockets despite the national television audience.

Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Now that Russell Westbrook has been ruled out for the start of the postseason, the Rockets will need Eric Gordon to play a large role in order for them not to fall behind the Thunder. He looked spry in his return and should see a heavy workload. James Harden may play a half, while Danuel House looks like he’ll see minutes after missing time with a toe injury. Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers have picked it up and will be vital to staying afloat, so Mike D’Antoni has to balance keeping them in rhythm with limiting minutes so as to not expose his shorthanded team to injuries.

The Sixers want to get that Shake Milton/Josh Richardson backcourt more reps and will rely heavily on Alec Burks, so we could see Brett Brown push tempo and run with the Rockets. Raul Neto has been playing at a high level and we might get smallball out of necessity if Joel Embiid and Al Horford are given the night off. Mike Scott has been effective since being pressed into duty.

Handicapping Notes: The ‘under’ is 5-2 in Rockets games in the bubble as they’ve only scored 120 or more points in three of the seven matchups so far despite ranking second in the league behind the Bucks in points per game (118.1). Meanwhile, the high side is 5-2 in 76ers games, connecting in each of the last three contests. Philadelphia has averaged 119.7 points over its last three but has surrendered 126 in that same span. Houston won at home 118-108 on Jan. 3 in a game that stayed ‘under’ 227.5 by just 1.5 points.

NBA Daily
Free Pick

Expect the final game of the season between Houston and Philly to wind up high-scoring. Even with Harden likely to sit down the stretch, Mike D’Antoni is looking to test how his other guards handle executing at the team’s brisk, up-tempo pace. The Sixers won’t have a true shot blocker out there to protect the paint with Embiid expected to join Horford in missing this contest. They’ll get up and down the floor to compensate. Ride OVER 230.

NBA Betting Results

Reseeding Action

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U

2020 NBA Reseeding - Betting Results
Span Favorites-Dogs (SU) Favorites-Dogs (ATS) Over-Under (O/U)
Yesterday 5-2 4-3 3-4
Overall 35-19-2 31-22-3 29-27

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