While most people focus on trying to beat the spread on a busy Friday night, why not try something different by attacking weak spots in the totals? Check out our top two NBA O/U picks inside.
Nuggets v. Heat
Both teams have been playing much better basketball of late. The Heat are as healthy as they've been (aside from the absence of Chris Bosh, who's out for the season) and have looked rejuvenated with Goran Dragic on board and Dwyane Wade playing some of his best ball in years. The Nuggets meanwhile have been much more competitive since firing Brian Shaw.
Tonight Miami will be the host and is subsequently a clear-cut favorite on the NBA odds board. The Heat are favored by 6.5 to 7 points at most books, but it's the total that we're most interested in. The O/U is listed at 208 right now.
That may be a surprising number to some, considering the Heat are averaging just 94.9 points per game this season, the 26th-worst mark in the NBA. However, Miami has been playing at a much higher tempo recently now that Dragic is on board, and it seems to be a style that suits them, especially since Wade has been killing it. Wade has stated that he hasn't felt this good in quite some time, and that's great news for all those involved with the Heat. They'll need him to carry the scoring load.
As for the Nuggets, they just dropped 108 points on the Rockets last night and have looked a lot more cohesive under the guidance of new coach Melvin Hunt. Despite losing two in a row, they're still 4-2 over their last six, and they've been scoring the basketball at a very good clip. Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson have all been taking turns, and all are capable of taking over a game.
As a result, we like the chances of the OVER hitting tonight, despite the high number on the board. With your NBA picks, don't be scared off by the posted O/U, as we think Denver and Miami will be finding a ton of success offensively.
O/U NBA Pick: OVER 208 at BetOnline
Bucks vs. Nets
The Bucks are still in the sixth seed in the East, but they could be in some serious trouble. They've lost four in a row and are a dreadful 2-8 over their previous 10 games overall. They've got a number of teams right on their heels in the playoff race and can't really afford to keep dropping games at this rate.
A win this evening in Brooklyn could go a long way, and the good news for Milwaukee is the Nets haven't been playing well either. They're just 2-6 over their previous eight games overall. Brooklyn just got absolutely crushed by Cleveland on Wednesday, so it remains to be seen what kind of spirit they'll come out with tonight.
Truth be told, we haven't been impressed at all with either team, especially when it comes to the offensive end of things. Neither of these offenses have been producing the goods. Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd preaches defense, as does Brooklyn's Lionel Hollins.
So, taking these factors into consideration, we're going the other way with our second pick and recommending the UNDER in a matchup between two teams that play at a slow tempo. We're expecting both teams to grind out points, rather than getting involved in an up-and-down shootout.
Current NBA odds show a total of 191, with the Nets favored by 2.5 points at home. These two teams rank 22nd and 23rd when looking at average points scored per game, and the Bucks have been very good defensively for the most part, another reason to consider the UNDER with your NBA picks.
O/U NBA Pick: UNDER 191 at 5Dimes