Here's how we break down Friday's betting action in the Association.
Grizzlies -3 at Magic (7:05 pm ET)
Memphis is 1-2 this exhibition season, after beating Milwaukee Tuesday 102-99.
Orlando is 1-3 this preseason, after losing to Houston Wednesday 108-104. But the Magic covered that night as six-point dogs.
The Grizzlies are going to contend for the Western Conference title again this season, so for them the exhibition season is just a time to get tuned up. F Zach Randolph has played a total of 41 minutes so far, and Tayshaun Prince hasn't even seen the court yet, as he deals with an illness.
The Magic, meanwhile, will probably struggle again this season, as they try to build for the future. So they're giving their young guys a good look this exhibition season.
As of Friday morning most NBA betting outlets were listing Memphis at -2.5 over Orlando. That ain't much, but its something. We'll take the home-dog Magic.
Bulls -4 vs. Pacers (8:05 pm ET)
Chicago is 4-0 this preseason, after beating Detroit Wednesday 96-81.
Indiana is 0-4 this preseason, after losing to Dallas Wednesday 92-85.
The Bulls are basking in the glow of the return of Derrick Rose, who after missing all of last season has played 20 minutes three times so far this exhibition season. But he also sat out a game last Saturday because his left knee, the one he had surgery on, was aching. Rose came back to play Wednesday, but we're wondering if this is going to be a regular thing with Rose; play a couple games, sit one out, etc.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven't done much right so far this preseason, and saw Danny Granger leave Wednesday's game with a strained calf. Indiana will be alright over the long run this season, and is using this exhibition season as a quality veteran team should; as a tune-up.
Chicago might seem an obvious choice here, but in thinking the Pacers might not want to go winless in this exhibition season we're going to go counter-intuitive and take Indiana and the points for our free NBA pick.
Clippers -6 vs. Blazers (10:35 pm ET)
The Blazers are 2-2 this preseason, after beating Utah Wednesday 99-92.
The Clippers are 3-1, after beating Phoenix Tuesday 102-96.
Portland finished terribly last season, losing its last 13 games. Over the off-season the Blazers were busy, bringing in Robin Lopez, Mo Williams and Thomas Robinson, among others. So we expect better things from Portland this season.
At the moment, however, the Blazers are playing without F LaMarcus Aldridge, who's dealing with a sore knee.
On the other side of this match-up Los Angeles is just getting geared up for another playoff run, but under a new head coach, Doc Rivers. The Clippers would seem to have the talent in place, after winning 56 game last year, and they should be improved on defense under Doc.
Normally, we would think a team like LA would ease through the exhibition season, resting its vets, giving the younger guys a look. But with the new head coach and new systems, that might not be the case with the Clippers. Chris Paul played 31 minutes Tuesday night. So, while six points might be a lot for a preseason game, we'll give those points and go with LA against the betting odds.
NBA Picks: Clippers