It's a big 10-game Friday night slate in the NBA tonight. There should be some very good games, but injuries will play a role in trying to handicap tonight's card. There are only two games that have potential playoff teams playing against each other. Four of the games have road favorites.
I have a pair of best bets for the evening that are explained below. Outside of those, I like the Heat to beat the Clippers if Jimmy Butler plays.
Boston Celtics vs Orlando Magic: Magic -1.5
The Magic have been a solid and steady team this season. I thought they would struggle with D.J. Augustin out, but they have played well. They had wins over the Hornets, Lakers and Kings on their recent six-game road trip. The core group of Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic have all had success but the X-factor has been the emergence of Markelle Fultz, who has really turned his career around in Orlando.
The Celtics have been up and down as of late, but recent victories over the surging Grizzlies and the Lakers have steadied the ship. However, Boston comes into tonight's game with injury concerns. Jayson Tatum and Enes Kanter have already been ruled out, while Jaylen Brown will be a game-time decision.
Orlando is 13-9 straight up at home this season, while the Celtics are 11-9 on the road. Boston is a big public favorite tonight as more than 60% of the bets back the Celtics. I think this is a good spot to fade the public and ride with the Magic at home.
Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Rockets -5.5
The Timberwolves are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak—it seems like they have been on a seven-game losing streak all season. They have played with Karl-Anthony Towns back in the lineup, but it hasn't turned into wins yet.
The Rockets only have one win in their last five games. They have not looked in sync as of late, but I think it's just the natural ebbs and flows of the season.
Both teams come into tonight's game at full strength. Normally I would not bet a big public favorite on the road, but the truth of the matter is that the Timberwolves stink. Minnesota is 6-15 straight up at home. They are also the worst team in the league when it comes to covering the spread at home. The Wolves are a frightening 5-15-1 ATS at the Target Center. Keep in mind that they were likely the underdog in most, if not all of those games. Take the Rockets.
Season Record: 59-51