On a night when the potential for blowouts is high, there's still value to be found. It’s a deep dish menu on Friday, and we’ll attack a rare “bad team favorite” moneyline, and an against-the-spread pick on a road underdog, among other picks.
Friday’s NBA Schedule and Odds
(odds via DraftKings)
- Washington Wizards (-150) vs. Charlotte Hornets (+130)
- Miami Heat (+275) vs. Boston Celtics (-330)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+285) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (-345)
- Orlando Magic (+390) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (-490)
- Toronto Raptors (+100) vs. Brooklyn Nets (-120)
- Denver Nuggets (-135) vs. Atlanta Hawks (+115)
- New Orleans Pelicans (-275) vs. San Antonio Spurs (+230)
- Philadelphia 76ers (+180) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (-210)
- Houston Rockets (+510) vs. Phoenix Suns (-700)
- Indiana Pacers (+150) vs. Utah Jazz (-175)
- Chicago Bulls (+235) vs. Golden State Warriors (-280)
Friday’s NBA Best Bets
- Moneyline: Raptors ML (+108 via FanDuel)
- Spread: Rockets +12 (-110 via FanDuel)
- Total: Nuggets-Hawks Over 232.5 (-110 via Caesars)
- Upset: Heat ML (+270 via Caesars)
- Prop bet: Joel Embiid Over 2.5 steals + blocks (+120 via DraftKings)
Friday’s NBA Top Picks
Moneyline: Raptors ML (+108) ★★★
It's rare when our favorite moneyline pick of the day is an underdog. With 61% of the public moneyline bets currently on the Nets, the line has moved in favor of the road Raptors, and for good reason.
The Raptors have begun the season series 0-2 against the Nets. But they shot an abysmal 24.1% from distance in one of those games. In another matchup, the Nets attempted 11 more free throws on their home court.
Expect some positive regression from a team that's been among the best at defending mid-range shots. The Nets heavily rely on their inside jump shooting, ranking fourth in the NBA in field goals attempted and first in mid-range field-goal percentage.
Spread: Rockets +12 (-110)★★★
A staggering 88% of the public ATS bets have been on the Suns at home in this mismatch. Yet most books have frozen the line, evidently feeling confident the Rockets won’t get chased out of the building early, and that makes sense.
The Suns are a solid 13-8 ATS overall this season and are currently enjoying a six-game winning streak. But they're just 7-7-0 ATS following a win and 2-2-0 ATS while at least a 10-point favorite, and 2-2-0 ATS when facing a team for the second time this season. Additionally, the total is set at 230, the second-highest on the slate. The Rockets are 6-4-1 ATS in games when the line is at 230-plus points.
The Rockets suffered a 15-point loss the first time these teams met in the same building. But that was with a different Suns lineup, back when they started Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, and Bismack Biyombo instead of Cameron Payne, Torrey Craig, and Deandre Ayton. The Suns are allowing 108.4 points per game, but that's gone up to 112.4 without Paul and Johnson (16th in the NBA over that span).
Expect the Rockets to keep it more competitive on Friday, taking a second crack at this team on the road.
Total: Nuggets-Hawks Over 232.5 (-110)★★
With 85% of the public bets coming in on the Under in this contest, the line has been creeping up two to three points at every book. What gives? The Nuggets are still without Michael Porter Jr., and John Collins and De'Andre Hunter will sit out for the Hawks. That should be a hit to the Hawks' defense, which will need to contend with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. He's averaging 21 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game against the Hawks with a 2-0 record despite getting just 30.5 minutes.
The Hawks are 7-4-0 to the Over in 2022-23 following a win, and they're 8-7-0 when Atlanta gets exactly one day off. Meanwhile, Denver has been indifferent to defense when on the road. The Nuggets are 7-2-0 to the Over while the visitors when the total is at least 227.
Back offense in this matchup between a high-paced, guard-heavy Hawks team at home and a banged-up, top-heavy Nuggets team playing at ground level.
Upset: Heat ML (+270)★★★
Currently, 92% of the public bets and 78% of the public money are paying the steep price for the Celtics at home on the moneyline. Despite Boston being the NBA's best team, the Celtics just aren't worth the juice. Let’s fade the casuals.
While the Heat have listed multiple starters and nearly the entire bench as questionable, head coach Erik Spoelstra is known to just be secretive about availabilities. There’s reason to believe Miami welcomes back its best player Jimmy Butler, which is why you see the line starting to move in favor of Miami.
The Heat and Celtics exchanged plenty of threes on Wednesday. The Heat battled toe-to-toe with the NBA’s elite on the road despite being shorthanded, and it took Miami's foul-filled fourth quarter for Boston to run away with the game.
With Butler back, Spoelstra should be able to run a zone defense that the Celtics have been struggling against in previous matchups, including on Wednesday.
The Heat haven't lost three straight games against the same opponent in a season during the Butler era. If they field a fully healthy roster on Friday without needing to travel the previous night, the club could pull off the biggest upset of the evening.
Prop bet: Embiid Over 2.5 steals + blocks (+120) ★★★★
The strategy is simple here. The total is set at 217 for this game, which is tied for the lowest on Friday's slate. So target defense. Buy in on the 76ers' defensive anchor, as they're coming off a spirit-demolishing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers when the starters received rest due to an early blowout. Embiid has cleared this line in each of his last six games, and six of the eight contests without James Harden in the lineup.
Meanwhile, Desmond Bane recently suffered an injury, and Jaren Jackson Jr. returned to the lineup for the Grizzlies. Over the last seven games since then, the Grizz have allowed centers to record the 14-most steals per game and second-most blocks. That makes this a great matchup for Embiid in a game projected to be close and all about defense.
This prop shouldn't be listed at plus-money odds given those trends, so let's take advantage.
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NBA best bets made on 12/2/2022 at 11:58 a.m. ET.