An eight-game NBA slate Friday night should yield some exciting games to kick off the weekend. That is, of course, if all eight games are played. With COVID-19 wreaking at least a little bit of havoc every night, it’s important to stress (yet again) that before lineups lock, double check your picks.
Tonight, we’re targeting a mix of risks and safe plays. There are some high individual prop totals on this slate, so it may be tempting to slam the Under on five guys and roll with your lineup that way.
But we’re doing a little bit of everything here. Check it out.
0.5 BLKS @ Boston — OVER (110 PTS)
In a past advice column, I wrote that blocks are fickle. They still are. But if you’re asking a supreme athlete like Aaron Gordon to only get ONE block for 110 points, I’m down with those odds.
Gordon played just 23.6 minutes per game in December but has increased to 30.8 minutes, giving him plenty of floor time (and subsequently, opportunities) to reject a shot or two.
Boston scores 47.6 points in the paint per game, good for 10th in the NBA, meaning Gordon should have plenty of opportunities to block shots underneath.
Nine times out of ten, I’m avoiding block props. But this one is a low-risk, high-reward move. Go Over.
33.5 PTS + ASTS @ Oklahoma City — OVER (100 PTS)
Have you seen Zach LaVine’s scoring numbers lately? In his last three games, he’s scored 32, 38 and 45 points, respectively. He also dropped 39 on Jan. 3. With a roster decimated by injuries and COVID, LaVine is the guy.
If your expectation is that LaVine will score at least 30 (it should be, at this point), then you’re only asking for a handful of assists, of which he’s averaged 4.6 per game this season — and 5.3 per game in January.
LaVine goes up against Oklahoma City on Friday night, a team in the latter half of the league in terms of defensive efficiency (108.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).
Don’t think too hard about this one. Go Over.
24.5 PTS @ Utah — UNDER (110 PTS)
Trae Young was lights out in December. He’s been much less so in January.
The Oklahoma product has been streaky this month, averaging 19.3 points per game with four games of 21 points or fewer. This after a December in which he was dropping 33 points per game with a low mark of 29 points.
The minutes and the opportunities have been there, but his shooting percentage has plummeted to 35.8 percent. And from three, where he’s typically excelled, he’s shooting just 26.5 percent.
Streaky shooters can break out of a slump at any moment, so in theory, yes, Friday could be the night. But while he’s streaky, play the Under and get 110 points for your squad.
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