Our Staff’s Best Bets for Jazz vs. Hornets, 76ers vs. Clippers, More (March 25)

We’ve got more sweet sixteen games in college basketball tonight, which is where a ton of the attention will be Friday. That means tonight’s seven-game NBA slate will slip under the radar a bit and there’s plenty of value to find.

Our NBA analysts are targeting three matchups on tonight’s slate and are betting one total, one prop and one spread.

Check out their in-depth analysis and best best for Friday night.

NBA Odds & Picks

Utah Jazz vs. Charlotte Hornets

pick
Under 228.5
Books
BetMGM
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Austin Wang: The initial thought you have with these two teams is a high-scoring game and an easy over, but I am suggesting otherwise.

At the beginning of the season, when scoring was down across the league, the Hornets were one of the few teams that were still pumping out high scoring games due to their fast-paced style and lack of defense. The books began overpricing their totals and that has continued as the Hornets have the highest average closing totals in the league.

This total opened up at 232 last night and has been bet down to 228.5 in a move that I agree with.

Jazz will once again be without Bojan Bogdanovic, their second leading scorer. He shoots 39.2% from behind the arc and is a key cog in their offense. This will be the eighth game he has missed in the month of March.

As a result, the Jazz offense has taken a hit recently. According to the SDQL at Gimme the Dog, they are 17-10 to the under as favorites on the road and they are 9-3 to the under in their previous 12 games.

The Hornets still score at a high rate, but not against the league’s best teams. They are 25-9 to the under versus teams over .500, per the SDQL at Gimme the Dog. They are 25-13 to the under against teams that play at a pace slower than the league average. The Jazz fit the criteria above and the Hornets seem to adapt to their opponents’ style and tempo of play.

Montrezl Harrell’s minutes have ramped down the last few games and I expect maximum utilization from starting center Mason Plumlee to matchup against Rudy Gobert. Plumlee’s presence gives me more confidence on a lower scoring game.

Both teams are jockeying for playoff seeding. The Jazz are not too far behind the Warriors for the third seed, so they need to finish strong to secure homecourt advantage for the first round. The Hornets are in the ninth seed right now — they still have a chance to get some favorable positioning for the Play-In games.

With so much still at stake, I expect the defensive intensity to be high. Thus, my best bet on this game is the under at 228.5, and I would play it down to 227.


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Golden State Warriors vs. Atlanta Hawks

pick
Kevon Looney Over 6.5 Rebounds
Books
DraftKings
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA-TV

Brandon Anderson: Kevon Looney’s minutes have been all over the place lately, and so has his production. It’s pretty clear at this point that Looney is a key piece of the Warriors rotation, but with Stephen Curry sidelined and the team resting guys and trying to get into a rhythm with its youngsters, Looney’s minutes are bouncing around.

Last game, Looney played 29 minutes and racked up 16 rebounds, his highest total in over two months. But the night before, he played under 12 minutes, and he played only 17 minutes the game before that, compiling just seven boards in the two games combined.

When Looney is out there, he cleans the glass. He averages 12.6 rebounds per 36 minutes on the season, and he knows his role. And he should be called upon for a good number of minutes tonight against Clint Capela and Okyeka Okongwu with the Atlanta Hawks pressing the rim and the glass.

Over the last 36 games, Looney is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s gone over this line in 26 of those games, hitting this over 72% of the time. When the minutes are there, this is a piece of cake for Looney. He’s such a good rebounder that even with fewer minutes, this is still in play.

If you think Looney will play a lot, you can try an alternate over if you like. He’s had eight-plus rebounds in half of his last 36 games, and he’s had double digits in 13 of them (36%). But he’s only hit double digits in four of the last 21 games, and the beauty of the lower line is that he can hit that by going way over or by playing fewer minutes but rebounding hard and hitting it anyway.

We project Looney at 8.4 rebounds tonight and miss this our top prop on the entire slate. I’ll play at any plus number or down to -115.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

pick
76ers -4.5
Books
FanDuel
Tipoff
10:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA-TV

Raheem Palmer: The Philadelphia 76ers are 10-4 since trading James Harden for Ben Simmons with losses to the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. Their game against the Heat was the only game in which they didn’t have Harden.

The 76ers are outscoring opposing teams by +13.5 points per 100 possessions with Harden and Joel Embiid on the court together behind an Offensive Rating of 122.3 and a Defensive Rating of 108.8. They’ll take on a Clippers team that has struggled to score without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard this season. The Clippers have also seen their defense fall off a cliff recently as they are allowing 121.6 points per 100 possessions over the last two weeks, 26th among NBA teams.

Despite Ty Lue keeping his Clippers competitive despite injuries to their best player, the Clippers are just 15-25 against teams above .500 and it feels like they’re overmatched in this spot against a 76ers team that is one of the best in the Eastern Conference.

The way to beat this 76ers team is by getting out in transition and the Clippers are just 28th in transition points per 100 possessions (1.5). With the Clippers struggling to score in both the half court and transition and being tasked with slowing down both Embiid and Harden, this could be a long night for fans of the other team from LA.

Look for the 76ers to complete the Hollywood sweep just two days after beating the Lakers. I’ll Lay the 5 with the 76ers.


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