Most of the attention and betting action this weekend will involve the Super Bowl, but other sports are being played. The NBA’s lead-in to the weekend includes a six-game slate on Friday, February 9 that we will use for our NBA parlay. And since this article was written before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, some teams may look different than the ones handicapped for the parlay. One team that made a flurry of trades at last year’s deadline that helped turn their season around was the Los Angeles Lakers, who ended up in the Western Conference Final. And the Lakers will be in action on Saturday bringing the curtain down on the slate in a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Trades can have a positive impact on teams with the opposite being true in the case of injuries. The Philadelphia 76ers are experiencing that with MVP Joel Embiid sidelined with a knee issue. Embiid was hurt late in a loss to the Warriors on January 30, and including that game the Sixers are just 1-3 after Monday’s 118-102 loss to Dallas. The skid started before that, however, with the club just 1-6 in its previous seven contests. They haven’t been good to backers either going 2-5 against the NBA betting line in that span. Should we back the Atlanta Hawks as a NBA pick against the spread at Caesars sportsbook in their tilt with Philly? Not so fast since the Hawks have the worst road cover rate in the NBA at just 30.4 percent.
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NBA Schedule for Friday, February 9
Atlanta at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
Washington at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET
Houston at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET
Charlotte at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. ET
Denver at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET
New Orleans at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
There’s a fine line between success and failure on the court and that’s also true when making NBA betting picks. I have yet to hit a winning NBA parlay but can take solace in knowing that I was this close last week. I backed the UNDER in the Orlando-Minnesota clash with the total settling at 213. The Magic eked out a 108-106 victory, so for you math majors that’s 214 points, or one over the line. My winning pick was just as narrow, though, with the Pistons losing by 11 as an 11.5-point NBA line pick underdog.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. The Milwaukee Bucks are second-guessing their decision to fire Adrian Griffin. Since making the change last month the Bucks are 2-5, and with Doc Rivers on the bench they won just one of their first five games. The Bucks may be better in the future but the present sucks. There have been some injury issues with Brook Lopez and Damian Lillard missing recent games. There’s a good chance the roster is intact on Friday, though, when the Charlotte Hornets visit. When the clubs met in November seven Bucks scored in double figures and they shot 55 percent from the field in a 130-99 victory. The Bucks are also 8-2 in their last 10 home games against the Hornets. The Bucks will break out of their mini-slump making them my NBA odds pick.
The Sixers will have to navigate the next month or so without Embiid leaving them vulnerable. And the Hawks are fighting to stay among the top 10 in the East making this an important matchup for them. I have all the data that shows Atlanta being the least profitable team in the NBA yet they’ve still covered the NBA point spread 14 times, including once earlier this season against Philly. This is a great opportunity for the Hawks and without Embiid’s defensive presence expect Trae Young to attack helping his club get another rare victory as a NBA pick against the spread.
Could the Lakers trade LeBron James? Sounds ludicrous but I think they’d actually be better off without him. LA just completed a six-game road trip winning the last three games while going 4-2. The game with New Orleans is their second since returning home and now that they’re settled in LA will take advantage with a cover victory. When the teams met in LA in December it was a rout for the home team with James scoring 30 points in less than three quarters in a 133-89 triumph. This one will be closer but the Lakers covering is my NBA best bet.
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