NBA Best Bets of the Day (4/11)


Welcome to Hoops with Noops! This is the final TNT Thursday of the NBA regular season. There are five games Thursday, 15 Friday and 15 Sunday to wrap up the 82-game marathon.


This is a scary time of the year to handicap basketball. Some teams are playing guys we haven’t seen all season let alone in their current roles. Other teams have locked up their positions in the rankings and might be resting guys or might still be trying to win anyway. We have bad teams without their draft picks giving them no reason to tank and good teams debating the merits of trying to improve their position versus ensuring their players are healthy for the Play-In Tournament.

There is a lot to unpack, and that’s exactly why I’m here. Let’s go through each game, parse through all the possibilities, and see if we can find value in the betting markets with all this uncertainty. 

NBA Best Bets for Thursday

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics

Current Line – Celtics -2, 217
My Projection – Celtics 110, Knicks 106 
Key InjuriesJulius Randle is out. Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday are questionable.

The Knicks have a chance to get up the 2 seed in the Easten Conference. They have three games left in their season and are 1.5 games behind the Bucks, who have just two games left. The Knicks have to win at least two, probably all three, of their final games, but they can do it. OG Anunoby is back on the court, and we’ve seen New York start to look like the great team we saw earlier in the season, but can they beat the Celtics for the first time this season? New York and Boston played in the In-Season Tournament, so this will be their fifth matchup this season. The Celtics won all four of the previous games them by an average of 11 points. Is this the ultimate revenge spot or just another game against a team that matches up well and is just better than them? I tend to believe the former, but it’s April and the Knicks are the only one of these teams with something to play for.

So, I think the Celtics are the better team, and I think they match up well against the Knicks, but I’m worried about their motivation. The Celtics have locked up the best record in the NBA and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s always good to win, but it’s always better to not take risks with your star players before a potential championship run. Joe Mazzulla has started to rest some of his players, but he is still pushing the ones playing every night to win at the start of games. That’s a good way to ensure the team doesn’t get rusty while allowing them rest later in games that don’t matter. I expect that trend to continue and I’m going to back Boston in the first half of this game. The Knicks have been good in the first quarter this season but are one of the worst first half teams in the league against the spread. The Celtics have Derrick White, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That’s more than enough to beat the Knicks for 24 minutes and things would be even easier if Jrue Holiday or Kristaps Porzingis could play. I’ll take Boston to win the first half.


Boston Celtics first-half ML (-125, DraftKings Sportsbook or BetMGM)

Not For Noops

Games I’m not betting and why I’m not betting them.

Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons +9.5, 220

The Bulls have to win one game to lock up the 9 seed in the Eastern Conference and homecourt advantage in their first Play-In Tournament game. They can do that easily Thursday or Friday night in Washington against the Wizards. I would expect Chicago to want to lock things in as soon as possible to give some of their players some rest. Combine that with the tanking Pistons more or less shutting down their best player, Cade Cunningham, and it makes perfect sense to make the Bulls almost double-digit favorites. Cunningham is listed as questionable but has had that designation for over a week and has not played in any games. If Cade is out, I could talk myself into Chicago at this spread, but I don’t feel great about it and I’m certainly not doing it until I Cunningham’s final status. Keep an eye on the #nba-plays channel of the FTN Bets Discord, because I’ll add any wagers I make there if/when I make them later.

Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz +10.5, 227

So, do you want to lay more than 10 points with a Rockets team that has nothing to play for on the road, or do you want to take less than 11 points with a Jazz team that is missing its six best players? Those are both terrible options. If I had to pick one, it would be laying the points with the Rockets. Ime Udoka is a good coach and knows the importance of pushing his young team to finish the season strong regardless of their seeding. The Rockets have no reason to tank because they don’t own their first-round pick in the upcoming draft and have a chance to finish with a winning, or simply not losing record, for the first time in five seasons. So, I guess I could see the Rockets crushing a team much less talented than them, but I’d rather not bet on it.

Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers +13.5, 222

The Warriors are half a game behind the Lakers for the 9 seed and one game behind the Kings for the 8 seed. That means they have a chance to host their first Play-In Tournament game or be in the position to only have to win once in that tournament to advance to the playoffs. They are big favorites here, could be favored over the Pelicans Friday night at home and will be big favorites against the Jazz at home to close out the season. Will they give their all here or instead grab a lead and hold onto it with their backups so their starters are fresh for Friday? Portland is much less talented, but they are playing young guys who are fighting for their spot on this roster or the chance to play for another team. A veteran team that only needs to win, not by margin, against a plucky group of youngsters is a tough situation to handicap. I lean to the Blazers, but I’m not wagering on them.

New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings -1, 215.5

This is the best game of the night, but unfortunately the sportsbooks have gotten the odds correct. If the Kings lose, they are in serious danger of dropping to the 9 seed in the Western Conference and having to win two games in the Play-In Tournament. If the Pelicans lose, they are in danger of dropping to the 7 seed and having to qualify through the Play-In Tournament. This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams because they faced off in the In-Season Tournament, which means we have plenty of data to price this game. That means we should see an accurate line and I think we are. I make the Kings one-point favorites with a total of 217. That’s a small edge to the over but given the intensity I expect, the end of the game could slow down to a crawl as teams take as much time as they can to hunt the very best shots. Enjoy watching this game, but I can’t suggest you bet the side or total.

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