Best Value Upsets For Friday's NBA Picks

Dwight Howard

Jake Walker

Friday, March 3, 2017 3:06 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 3:06 PM GMT

This week's column focuses on two huge Eastern Conference matchups between playoff contenders and explains why the Raptors and the Hawks provide decent betting value. Read on to get the insider's NBA picks on tonight's action.

Raptors vs. Wizards 

These two teams met on Wednesday and the Wizards prevailed 105-96 in Toronto, snapping an eight-game losing streak against the Raptors. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Wizards with 27 points off the bench and Bradley Beal added 23. DeMar DeRozan finished with 24 points for the Raptors while Serge Ibaka scored 20 but the Wizards had a 26-1 run over the first 5:25 of the second quarter and the Raptors were not able to get back in the game after that.

This is a huge game for both teams because the third-place Wizards are now one game ahead of the Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings. The Raptors won the first meeting 113-103 on November 2 in Toronto behind DeMar DeRozan's 40 points on 14 of 23 shooting. The Wizards are playing better basketball and they're healthier but the Raptors are 21-14 ATS against Eastern Conference opponents, they desperately need this game, so they'll make adjustments on defense and at least stay in the game and cover. I'm taking the Raptors +5 with one of my NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Raptors +5 (-115)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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Cavaliers vs. Hawks

The Cavaliers come into this game off a tough 103-99 road loss against the Celtics on Wednesday and now they have dropped two of their last three contests. Cleveland is favored by 3.5 points on the NBA odds board for this visit to Atlanta. 

The Hawks on the other hand have won two straight, a convincing 114-98 road win against the Celtics last Wednesday and a 100-95 victory against the Mavericks on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers are just 11-16 ATS in road and the Hawks already beat them in Cleveland this season, 110-106 on November 8. Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 28 points and Kent Bazemore added 25 points for a Hawks team that led by as many as 18 points and erased an 11-game losing streak against the Cavs, which included two playoff sweeps. 

Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 29 points but the team shot just 11 of 42 from 3-point range. Defending Cleveland's three-point shots made a difference and it will be one of the keys to this game. Kevin Love scored 24 points in the first meeting and not having him for this game gives the Hawks an edge that Paul Millsap can help them exploit. 

Millsap leads Atlanta with 17.8 points per game and he finished with 21 points in the previous contest against the Cavs. I like the Hawks to cover +3.5 behind Millsap's play.

Free NBA Pick: Hawks +3.5 (-115)
Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb

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