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NBA Best Bets of the Day (12/1)

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Welcome to Hoops with Noops! We get to start the weekend with a small, but high-quality slate of NBA games Friday. Wednesday and Thursday featured a lot of games, and Saturday will have 12 before most of the league gets a few days off for the NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals. Every team gets Sunday off, and there are two quarterfinals Monday and another two Tuesday.

 

This dynamic means most of those who play Friday will have to play again Saturday but also know they have a three- to five-day break upcoming. How will that effect a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics or a potential Western Conference Finals preview between the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns? What does that mean for those that played Thursday night and start their long break Saturday? Let’s dive into the games and see how these types of motivational angles might offer us a shot at finding some value.

NBA Best Bets for Friday

Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic

Current Line – Magic -11, 237.5
My Projection – Magic 121, Wizards 112 
Key InjuriesWendell Carter and Markelle Fultz are out. 

This is a rematch from Wednesday when the Magic beat the Wizards 139-120. It was a fast game with very little defense even from Orlando, who has the third-best defense in the NBA. It is no surprise that the Wizards were happy to run and forego defense for more points, but I think the Magic were just having a lot of fun. They are on an eight-game winning streak, including wins over the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics and are just one game behind the top seed in the Eastern Conference. I expect Friday’s game to have a different tenor. This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Magic, who head to Brooklyn Saturday night to avenge their NBA In-Season Tournament loss, which kept them from winning their group. Teams generally slow down the pace to preserve their players’ legs as much as possible. It can be tough to control pace against a team like the Wizards, but the Magic have the defensive talent to slow down Washington and keep them from getting out in transition or shooting too quickly in the half court. My projections have this game 4.5 points less than the current total in the betting markets. Orlando’s offense has been much better since Jalen Suggs has found his shot and they’ve been forced to play smaller without their center, Wendell Carter. That’s why a team that started the season with totals in the 215-220 range are now in the high 220s and even 230s. I agree with that move in general, but this is too big of an adjustment. The total in their previous game closed at 235.5. I don’t think it’s fair to make tonight two points higher unless you know the Magic are going to shoot 60% again and create a track meet before a game on the road the following day. I’m betting the under. 

Bet

Orlando Magic/Washington Wizards Under 237.5 (-108, DraftKings Sportsbook)

New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors

Current Line – Raptors -2, 217
My Projection – Raptors 109, Knicks 105 
Key Injuries – None 

This is a very bad schedule spot for the Knicks. They played Thursday in New York, their last of a four-game homestand, and have to play Friday in Toronto before a three-day break followed by a game in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Generally, Tom Thibodeau teams play hard every night and don’t look ahead to rest or key opponents, but this would be the spot for it if there ever could be one. Even if they are focused on winning, the high level of intensity they play with each night makes the second game of a back-to-back particularly hard for the Knicks. New York is 1-3 on the second night of a back-to-back this season with an average of 99 points per game which includes one win over the Hornets in which they scored 122. Toronto matches up very well against New York. The Raptors have size to match the Knicks big men and some of that size is athletic enough to defend New York’s guards. Toronto is rounding into form, especially on the defensive end of the floor at home. There is little reason for that to change tonight, so I like the Raptors chances tonight and am happy to fade the Knicks. I don’t mind laying the two points with the Raptors, but I think there’s a better bet on the board. I’m going with the Knicks team total under which is listed at either 107.5 -115 or 106.5 +100. I think both are good bets, but I’m choosing to sell the point and for the better odds. When the Knicks go under they go well under this total. Depending on how this lines moves, I may even look at some Knicks alternate team total unders. I’ll put those bets in the #nba-plays channel of the FTNBets Discord.

Bet

New York Knicks Team Total Under 106.5 (+100, BetMGM)

Not For Noops – Quick Thoughts on Games I’m Not Betting

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics -6, 224.5

Who wants to play “Will Joel Embiid play?” roulette? I certainly don’t. If Embiid is playing, this would be a great bet on the 76ers at +6, but Embiid is out, it would be a great bet on the Celtics. It seems the market is unsure and has set the spread basically halfway between an Embiid in line of -3.5/4 and Embiid out line of -8/8.5. As is custom in Philadelphia 76ers games, we can’t make a bet until we know what Joel Embiid is doing.

Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks -6, 227

Both teams are on the first night of a back-to-back, and the Dallas Mavericks will be without star Luka Doncic. It’s still a strong roster with the MVP hopeful thanks to presence of Kyrie Irving, who has done well playing next to and without Luka. The Grizzlies broke their losing streak against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, but it looks like they’re ready to start a new one. This is a hard line to make, but I come out pretty close to market and am happy to not bet on either team or the total with so much up in the air.

San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans -12.5, 237.5

No Victor Wembanyama, which means we’re back to last year’s San Antonio roster, and that is not a good thing. I would love to lay a big number with New Orleans, but they have to play in Chicago Saturday and are still working some new players back from injury. CJ McCollum returned last game, and Friday is set to be the season debut for Trey Murphy. It would make sense for New Orleans to try to build a big lead by half time and try to coast in the second half to keep players as fresh as possible for Saturday. I was looking at a bet on the Pelicans in the first half, but the spread is too big.

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns +2, 225.5

This potential Western Conference Finals preview should be a fun game to watch, but it’s a hard game to bet at this moment. Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Devin Booker are questionable, and we can’t make a move until we know who’s playing and who is not. It’s also the front end of a back-to-back for both squads. If everyone plays, I like the over, but we’ll wait and see what happens. Any bets I make on this game will end up in the FTNBets Discord.

 
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