The Friday night ESPN NBA doubleheader is jam-packed tonight with a pair of games for the public’s viewing pleasure. These two matchups include the Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers. Both of these games include some of the biggest stars in the NBA, so you know the fans will be tuned in tonight. Let’s dive into our top NBA picks against the spread for the two games.
Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans (-2/ML: -128)
8:00 p.m. EST
Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
The fantastic double-header gets kicked off with a matchup between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans. While the Heat are comfortably entrenched in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture, the Pelicans need this game badly. The first of our NBA picks is for the Pelicans to get the win and cover the two-point spread.
NBA Betting Line: Heat at Pelicans
This is an aptly-placed spread, considering the Heat haven’t done well on the road at all. After losing three straight, and four of the last five, the oddsmakers are basically saying the Pelicans are due for one on Friday night. As for the total, that also plays in the Pelicans’ favor. This will be the highest total of the season for a Heat game – the previous three of those have them at a 1-2 record.
Heat Betting Form
The Heat have won four straight games but all of those have come at home, where they are 27-4. Unfortunately, tonight’s game will be played on the road, where they are 13-18. If the road record wasn’t bad enough, Miami is 1-6 SU/ATS in its last seven away from home.
A lot has been made of the Heat’s performance on Wednesday night, where they connected on a franchise-best 22 shots from beyond the arc. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are clearly blazing the trails for this team, but Duncan Robinson was the star in that last game. Robinson went 9-for-12 from 3-point range and is now three shy of setting Wayne Ellington’s franchise-best mark.
With all of that being said, we’re too bullish to take the Heat on the road. And, for a few other reasons (which you’ll see next), the Pelicans are the better play here.
Pelicans Betting Form
Things were looking so promising for the Pelicans coming out of the break, winning six of those nine games. However, they have now lost three straight and four of the last five. It sounds like tonight could be the makings of a massive turnaround.
Zion Williamson is turning out to be exactly who we all thought he would be – the Rookie of the Year runner up, but only because he missed most of the season. Williamson’s play has elevated this New Orleans team to a nice standing before the last few games. Although, it’s important to note that the Pelicans have lost to the Lakers twice and the Mavericks in three of those last four losses.
Brandon Ingram is playing some excellent ball, scoring at least 24 points in four of the last five games. Not to mention, Lonzo Ball is starting to look like the second coming of Mark Price. The son of LaVar has now knocked down seven 3-pointers in each of his last two games, going 14-for-21 over that span.
NBA Pick Pick Against The Spread: Pelicans -2 (-110)
We’re going with the home team in this one, given that the Pelicans have a nice statistical advantage. For whatever reason, the Heat just can’t seem to get it done away from home. Let’s take New Orleans, with a dash of some home cooking, to get it done in a fast-paced, up-tempo game. Zion and the boys are due for one, so let’s make it happen.
Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers (-1/ML: -114)
10:30 p.m. EST
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
In what will likely be an NBA Finals preview, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks that hit the road to face the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams squared off back in mid-December, with the Bucks winning by seven points. This time, however, we see a different outcome going down in Tinseltown this time around. The second, and last, of our NBA betting picks is for the Lakers to even up the season series.
NBA Betting Line: Bucks at Lakers
In the first meeting between these teams, the Bucks were favored by 3.5 points. This time around, though, we’re seeing the Lakers favored by a slight margin. This is no laughing matter, as Milwaukee hasn’t been great as an underdog – or even slightly even favored. In fact, the Bucks are 2-4 SU/ATS in their six-lowest spreads of the season. That is quite telling, considering how well the Lakers are playing at the current moment. The Lakers are a team on a mission, and we’re going to see them prove that tonight.
Bucks Betting Form
Whenever we think about the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo naturally comes first. The future two-time MVP is back at it again, averaging 29.5 PPG, 13.7 RPG and 5.7 APG. Without The Greek, there’s no way that Milwaukee is going to run like a well-oiled machine. This is why the Lakers are going to throw multiple bodies at him.
If LA is going to throw that type of defense of Giannis, that means the counterparts will need to do their roles. Sure, Khris Middleton is one hell of a jump-shooter, but the Lakers have perimeter defenders to deal with him and the rest of the Bucks’ shooting squad.
In reality, Giannis can get this done by himself. However, the Lakers just won’t make it that easy on him. Expect Milwaukee to find itself in a tough situation tonight.
Lakers Betting Form
Oh man, the Lakers are pissed. Even though LA has won nine of the last 10 games, this is one that the purple and gold want to win by 30. Sure, it was only a seven-point game back in December, but the Bucks really put it on the boys in that one.
LeBron James wants to say that he’s not interested in winning the MVP award. Oh, that’s cute. This is a perfect opportunity for LBJ to make sure that the rest of the world knows he’s numero uno. It doesn’t hurt having Anthony Davis as the Robin to your Batman.
All in all, that dynamic duo is cute and all. However, the most important part of this ordeal is that the Lakers want some sweet revenge.
NBA Pick Against The Spread: Lakers -1 (-110)
As we just said – sweet revenge! The Lakers were embarrassed in that first meeting, so LBJ and AD are the perfect duo to make this thing work. Milwaukee typically plays much better at home, and this road trip isn’t doing the team any favors. At the end of the day, the Bucks are like 10 games ahead of the Celtics and Raptors. The Lakers need this game more, and they’re going to get it.