Thursday’s NBA slate did not disappoint. Two of the five games went into overtime, with the Bucks coming out on top over the Nets and the Bulls defending their home court in a 135-130 win over the Clippers. There is plenty more action on Friday with 10 games on tap to kick off the weekend. Keep focus on the conference standings each day from now until the last day of the regular season to better understand the teams’ situations. Many teams are fighting for playoff positioning, while others have thrown in the towel. Let’s dive into the best NBA bets today, picks and NBA betting tips for Friday, April 1. Additional free bets and player updates can be found by following me on Twitter: @SweatBets.
Best NBA Bets Today: Game Tips & Betting Predictions
Raptors vs. Magic Best Bet
A surging Raptors squad travels down to Orlando on Friday to face off with the Magic for a quick one-game road trip. Toronto has been rolling over its opponents, winning their last four games by an average of 19.8 points. The Raptors should have plenty of motivation tonight, as they currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference but only 2.5 games back from the third-seeded Celtics. The Orlando Magic will be shorthanded as they look to the future with only a handful of games left. The Magic will look to snap its current four-game losing streak. These two teams have met twice this season, with the series tied 1-1. There were several Raptors starters missing in the game that Orlando won on March 4.
The Raptors offense has been clicking as of late, ranking third in offensive rating over the last 10 games. Not only has their offense been rolling, but they are also producing just as well on the defensive end of the floor, ranking third in defensive rating over their last 10 games. Outside of Yuta Watanabe being listed as questionable, this Raptors lineup is finally healthy, and it shows with Toronto winning seven of their last nine games. Toronto is averaging 109.1 points on 44.5% shooting and allowing 107.1 points to opponents. Pascal Siakam is turning up his production as of late. On Monday he dropped 40 points on 17-for-29 shooting against the top-ranked Boston defense. Siakam followed that performance up with a triple-double against a solid Timberwolves defense on Wednesday. Expect him and the other starters to feast on this young Magic defense in tonight’s showdown.
The Magic’s next few games have little to no meaning on the team’s future. Wendell Carter Jr. is currently listed as questionable, so keep an eye on his status throughout the day. Do not be surprised if Carter sits out of tonight’s matchup for precautionary reasons. Jalen Suggs has been ruled out for Friday’s game. Orlando is averaging 104.1 points on 43.4% shooting and allowing 111.9 points. One of the biggest struggles for the Magic has been their inability to get buckets on the offensive end of the floor. They rank 28th in field goal percentage and 29th in points per game this season. They consistently have players failing to create their own shots and even missing open ones.
Despite it being April Fool’s Day, the Magic will not be performing any tricks on this thriving Raptors squad in tonight’s matchup. Toronto is 9-2 first half against the spread in their last 11 games, while Orlando is just 3-7 first half against the spread. The Magic have struggled to get off to hot starts at home this season, sitting 13-23-1 with a margin of minus-5.84. Toronto has proven they can perform well on the road, winning six of their last seven roads games. The Raptors have dominated the Magic in recent history, and do not expect anything different in tonight’s matchup. Toronto has quietly been one of the hottest teams in the league lately and have plenty to play for. Lay the points with the Raptors in the first half of Friday’s matchup.
Best NBA Bet for Today’s Game: Toronto Raptors First Half -6.5
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Kings vs. Rockets Best Bet
While this may not be the prettiest game on the slate, there is value to be found in the total for tonight’s matchup between the Kings and Rockets. Sacramento will play its second consecutive game in Houston. These two teams faced off on Wednesday with the Kings coming out on top 121-118. This will be the fourth time this season these two teams have matched up, and the Kings lead the series 2-1. The Kings playoff chances are still mathematically alive, although it would take a lot of luck to move up to the 10th spot with only five games left on their schedule.
Sacramento had a disappointing stretch after the All-Star break, where the team decided to shake up the roster and ship off Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday. Since then the Kings have gone 8-13 and their playoff hopes have diminished. De’Aaron Fox (hand), Richaun Holmes (personal), Terence Davis (wrist) and Sabonis (knee) are all ruled out. Davion Mitchell has embraced his expanded role since the blockbuster trade and increased minutes with Fox sidelined, posting 20 or more points in five of his last six starts. The Kings are averaging 110.4 points on 45.9% shooting and allowing 115.8 points. The Kings found way to exploit the Rockets defense on Wednesday by feeding the ball down low to Damian Jones, who posted 24 points on 66.7% shooting. Look for Kings to replicate a similar game plan and take advantage of the Rockets depleted roster.
The Houston Rockets are bottom of the league with a 20-57 record on the season. Despite all of the challenges they have faced this year, one thing the team should be excited about is the recent play from their young duo of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. Porter posted his first career triple-double on Tuesday with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. He has had an excellent March, averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds. Green is going off as well, scoring 30 points in back-to-back games. The Rockets are officially in tank mode and will be without Christian Wood, Denis Schroder, Eric Gordon and Trevelin Queen, while Alperen Sengun is unlikely to play. Houston is averaging 109.2 points on 45.5% shooting and allowing 117.7 points.
There was no defense played on Wednesday when these two teams played, and it’s going to be no different in this game. Wednesday ended with a total of 239, which included an uncharacteristically low fourth quarter that was 32 points in total. Both teams shot near or under their season averages for both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage in this game and still managed to go over the game total. Anticipate a similar outcome in tonight’s matchup. Sacramento is 42-34-1 over/under on the season and 22-15-1 over/under on the road. Houston is 41-35-1 over/under on the season and 21-16-1 over/under at home. There should be plenty of shot attempts in a battle of two teams that rank top 10 in pace on the year. They finished with 189 combined shot attempts on Wednesday, which creates a plethora of opportunities for points. Back the over with confidence in tonight’s rematch.
Best NBA Bet for Today’s Game: Total Over 234.5
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