The NBA season is at that point where it’s still a bit too early to tell if certain teams have settled into the identity they’ll carry for the rest of the regular season. Important NBA betting games await on Friday night. Here’s our picks from the card:
Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers
Friday, 7:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Heat -10
The Heat lost back-to-back games last week to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. They needed a break from basketball… and they got it. They received four days off (Saturday through Tuesday) and were able to visit United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, a privilege extended to the champions of the NBA and the other major pro and sports college champions in America. Following their break and their visit to the White House, the Heat should be mentally and physically refreshed as they return to the court. Following a Wednesday game against the Washington Wizards, the Heat should have their rhythm back in time for this Friday contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, who were strong in November but have since cooled off. Philadelphia will, like other teams, give Miami everything it has, but the Heat should be able to beat the Sixers this time around. They failed to win in Philadelphia in the first week of the regular season.
Portland Trail Blazers @ San Antonio Spurs
Friday, 8:35 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Spurs -6
The Portland Trail Blazers are still holding strong as one of the top three teams in the Western Conference and one of the top five teams in the NBA to this point. However, with half of the season done and half of it remaining, it’s still something of an open question as to whether the Blazers will be able to keep up this pace and be a team that will win more than 55 games. The Blazers are not used to carrying this much of a bulls-eye. Portland was a good team a number of years ago, but it’s been a long time since any Trail Blazer squad has been an upper-tier contender in the NBA. The 2009 Blazers finished fourth in the Western Conference, and that’s the only time since the 2000 season in which Portland has been the higher-seeded team in a first-round playoff series. No team in the West is better right now than the San Antonio Spurs, especially since Oklahoma City is without Russell Westbrook. Take the Spurs on the betting lines for that reason.
Pick: San Antonio
Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Friday, 9:35 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Thunder -1.5
On paper, the Warriors might enjoy an advantage since Oklahoma City will be without Russell Westbrook. Moreover, Golden State recently finished a long road trip with only one loss, so the idea that Golden State is at a huge disadvantage here is not really true. However, while the Warriors might not really suffer all that much as a result of playing on the road, it’s also true that Oklahoma City should benefit a lot from playing at home – can you see how the difference works in those two statements? Oklahoma City is more likely to play with the tempo it wants at home. Moreover, home games also give role players a better chance of being able to contribute, since home games involve a familiar shooting environment and offer a level of crowd support which is conducive to more energy on the court. The Thunder will probably be able to elevate their level of play on defense, enough to nudge the Warriors in a very close game.
Pick: Oklahoma City