Smart Money NBA Picks For Friday 4/23/2021 Action
I’m back on track, folks. Last week, I got back in the winning column with a 4-2 performance, thanks in large part to Jimmy Butler and Julius Randle’s big nights. This week, we’ve got another great slate of NBA games, so I’ll try and keep the ball rolling with another winning performance. Let’s get into the picks.
Smart Money NBA Betting Picks for Tonight’s Action
I haven’t had much success betting on the Heat against the spread this year, but I like this pick against a banged-up Hawks team. Without Trae Young, the Hawks’ offense certainly has options but loses a degree of potency, which should allow Miami to keep them at bay.
The Heat have to have a run at some point, right? They’ve now won three in a row. And if they’re able to make it four, they’ll tie the Hawks in the standings and successfully move out of the play-in tournament. I have to imagine that the playoff seeding implications here will be an added incentive for them to take care of business.
Atlanta has been no slouch lately, either, with players like Bogdan Bogdanović and Clint Capela putting up career numbers. I think they can give Miami a tough game without their best player. But 5.5 is too small of a number. Take Miami to cover this one.
The Warriors have been competitive lately thanks to Stephen Curry’s insane scoring run. But this line is too narrow for them. If Curry’s struggles against Washington carry over into this game, there’s no shot this one is even close.
The Nuggets have fared quite well without Jamal Murray so far, winning four in a row. And while there hasn’t been anyone capable of stopping Curry lately, Facundo Campazzo at least works hard and plays physical, so Curry shouldn’t have a walk in the park.
It’s also one of my rules of thumb to bet against a team that has just returned from a long road trip on the opposite coast (which the Warriors have). For some reason, that first game seems to be a doozy no matter who they’re playing against. Take Denver to cover here.
This line for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets matchup is high-risk, high-reward, given that Kevin Durant’s playing status is up in the air at this exact moment. If he’s out, you’ll see this line jump in the Celtics’ favor.
I have no inside information on Durant, but I like this line as a bargain if he’s out and as a flyer if he plays. The Boston Celtics have been playing excellent basketball lately, and I see no reason why their offensive rhythm can’t carry over into this game against the Brooklyn Nets' porous defense. Throw in the fact that they may be extra jazzed up to play against their former teammate in Kyrie Irving, and I like taking them with the points here.
When in doubt, bet against the tanking team. That’s what I love about gambling around this time in the season – half the teams are trying to lose on purpose, and half of them are trying like hell to make the playoffs. Here, we have that exact mix, and I’m jumping on it.
Even from a matchup perspective, if Luguentz Dort misses this game (he’s currently listed as questionable), the Thunder have absolutely no one to check Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. You could feasibly expect either one of them to go off for 35+ points.
The Thunder care about nothing more than their draft status at this point in the season, and the Wizards are fighting to keep their spot in the play-in tournament. Take this spread based on incentives alone.
Top Player Props for Tonight’s NBA Action
As usual, I like to take one player prop for a player on a team I’m betting on. Here, I like Westbrook for a few reasons: he’s been playing excellent
basketball lately, he’s always one to rack up stats even in blowouts, and the Thunder are a poor rebounding team, so Westbrook should be able to get loose for plenty of those.
Good luck to Théo Maledon in stopping him. This month, Westbrook is averaging 47 combined points, rebounds, and assists. All he needs is a slightly above-average performance against his former team (one that is currently tanking), and he’ll hit the over here.
Morant is currently averaging 7.3 assists on the season and going against Portland tonight in a huge battle for playoff seeding, my thinking is that he’ll notch eight or more thanks to Portland’s mediocre defense.
Morant also might have Jaren Jackson Jr. tonight (his status is up in the air after making his season debut Wednesday), which would also make this bet look better given that the two of them have great chemistry in the pick and roll. But more so than anything, I’m betting that Ja will be extra fired up to beat the team that knocked him out of playoff contention last season and will deliver a big performance against a so-so defensive team.
Mike’s Year to Date Record: 28-44