NBA Free Picks - Thursday April 29
The NBA is giving us a far more meh slate of games opposite the first night of the NFL draft, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to be had, starting with the last team anyone expected to be turning it on this late in the year against one that is slumping at the wrong time:
The layers to this matchup are many.
First things first: Since the return to the Wolves lineup by D’Angelo Russell – the former Warrior who it seemed like the organization never really wanted to begin with – Minnesota is above .500 with a record of 7-6. They’ve won their last three straight, two of which came against the league-best Jazz, and have also logged recent wins against the Heat and Bulls.
All of it has been done with Russell coming off the bench. That probably wasn’t what the Wolves (or Russell) had in mind when they gave up a top-three protected pick to acquire him at last year’s trade deadline, which is where the second layer of intrigue comes in here. With every win, Minnesota becomes less and less likely to keep their pick, but too many wins will substantially decrease the chances that Golden State ends up with the fourth or fifth selection, after which there is a drop off.
And then of course there are the Warriors’ playoff chances, which continue to dwindle, as it now seems like they’ll have to win two straight games just to get in as the eighth seed. Their last effort – a 30-point drubbing at the hands of the Mavs – included giving up a 28-0 run. It was the latest sign that something is simply off with this year’s version of the once great dynasty.
As crazy as it sounds, the move here is to go with the hotter team at home, especially given Golden State’s 22nd ranked road net rating this season.
The Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves +5 - Click To Bet
This season has been a roller coaster ride for the Nets Big Three, who have only appeared together in a lineup for seven games total. Through it all though, Brooklyn has persevered, and they sit atop the East with less than three weeks to go.
Best of all, Kevin Durant seems to finally be healthy. Since he returned from the injury that sidelined him for most of the season, the Nets are 5-2 on the court and against the spread in games he’s played. The last two wins – against the Suns at home and Raptors on the road – have been impressive displays of firepower for the team that arguably has the highest offensive ceiling in the NBA.
Now they travel to Indiana, once thought of as a team just outside the inner circle of conference contenders that has since been relegated to play in status. They’re currently three games clear of the 11st spot in the East, but also just as far back from a coveted top six seed.
Worst of all for this matchup, the Pacers have the 24th ranked defense in the league since the All-Star break, and are giving up 114 points per 100 possessions in their last 10 games. The Nets are 28-2 when they score 120 or more. This spread isn’t high enough.
The Pick: Brooklyn Nets -9 - Click To Bet
Other Games & NBA Free Picks
Good luck figuring out the Mavs. One night after losing to the hapless Kings, they blow out the Warriors by 30 points. Inconsistency has been their MO all season long, and the Pistons have covered six of nine, including four straight at home. Probably a stay away, but go with Detroit if you must.
Death, taxes, and picking against the Rockets, who are a league worst (by far) 21-41 against the spread. The Bucks have the best net rating in the league over their last 10 games. Don’t overthink it.
The Thunder just ended a 14-game losing streak with a win in Boston against the Celtics, and the Pels are playing the second night of a back to back after a game in Mile High. The Thunder may be bad, but they fight till the end. Go with the home team getting points.
No Murray, no problem, as the Nuggets just keep rolling. Denver has won six of seven since Murray has gone down, including two convincing ones a home in their last two. Toronto is ready to go the way of the dinosaur this season. Take the Nuggets at home.