NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | March 15

By: James Salmon
14/03/2024
NBA Tips, Predictions & News
NBA Tips & Best Bets
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Friday isn’t a huge day on the NBA front, but there will be a lot of interest across the six matchups scheduled for the day. The Suns take on the Celtics in the first game of the day before the Sixers face the Bucks, while later on in the day the Mavericks head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. A couple of those games will kick off our best bets for the day with a player prop and a line bet, while later on we’ll look for the Knicks to continue an incredible run of defensive form against the Blazers. Check out all the detail about those selections below. 

Phoenix Suns @ Boston Celtics

Kevin Durant over 27.5 points  | $1.90 with PlayUp 

The Suns have a big few weeks ahead of them as they jostle for a playoff spot in the congested Western Conference standings, and if they’re to make any sort of noise in the postseason they can’t afford for too much to go wrong from here on in. No doubt well aware of that fact, Kevin Durant has grabbed his team by the scruff of its proverbial jumper over the last week or so, leading them to three wins during what has been a tough four-game stretch. In a period which has included games against the Celtics, Nuggets and Cavaliers, he has scored at least 35 points every game, averaging 38 per game. He’s been very efficient in that time, shooting over 50% from the field in all but one of those games, but he has also been taking a hell of a lot of shots, which is a great sign when it comes to the likelihood of him continuing to put up big numbers. The line set by betting agencies of 27.5 is below his season average of 28.5 to start with, though perhaps the fact that the Suns are playing one of the better defensive teams in the league in the Celtics, but with the form he is in it should be a lot higher. Durant has taken 26 shots or more in three of his last four games, and while admittedly Devin Booker was not playing in a couple of those, his return didn’t slow down Durant in the Suns’ latest outing in which he still took 26 shots for 35 points. Durant is incredibly consistent and rarely does he fall significantly below his average of mid-high 20s, but at the moment he is exceeding that number by a large margin every night. Even against what is probably the best team in the league, if recent form is anything to go by he looks set for another big night at the office.

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Kevin Durant over 27.5 points @ Boston @ $1.90
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Los Angeles Clippers @ Chicago Bulls

Clippers -6.5 | $1.90 with BlueBet

Plenty of teams in the NBA play a hell of a lot better at home than what they do on the road, but the Chicago Bulls are not one of them. They have a middling record of 16-16 in Chicago compared to 16-18 on the road, but since the All-Star break their performance at the United Center have been particularly poor. They’ve played five matches there since the break for one victory, that coming in overtime against the Cavaliers. That game aside, they’ve been beaten by double figures every time – once by the Pistons, of all teams, while the other three have been by 16 points at the hands of the Bucks, 17 points to the Celtics, and a woeful 35 points against the Mavericks just a few nights ago. They bounced back from that effort in their most recent game on the road, an overtime win over the Pacers, but that was the first leg of a travelling back to back of which this game will be the second, meaning that their run of poor form in Chicago is a good chance of continuing. The Clippers are one of the championship favourites for good reason, but they have had troubles of their own since the All-Star break, going 5-6 in 11 games since. That form has seen them drop a little behind the top three in the Western Conference, but they are still good enough to get back into contention for those spots and this current indifferent form will no doubt be overcome at some point. Given the way the Bulls have been playing at home of late, this looks like a great opportunity for the Clippers to recapture their best form. 

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Clippers -6.5 @ Bulls @ $1.90
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New York Knicks @ Portland Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers under 99.5 total match points  | $1.89 with GetSetBet 

The New York Knicks are in an incredible run of defensive form. Everyone heard about their ‘90s like matchup with the Sixers the other day which they won 79-73, but those scores – at least for the opposition – have been the norm for a few games now. That was the second time in a row that they kept an opponent below 80 points after the Magic scored just 74 against them in the game prior, and the Knicks made it three in a row when they again kept the Sixers to 79 points a couple of days later. The line of 99.5 for the Trail Blazers set by betting sites in Friday’s game isn’t a high one – at least, it wouldn’t be normally – but given the way that the Knicks are playing it looks like a stretch too far, particularly for the Trail Blazers. The Knicks’ defensive rating during this three-game span is just 88.2, which isn’t sustainable but it also doesn’t need to be sustained to keep the Blazers under 100. They’ve also been playing extremely slowly in that time at a pace of just 87, and with thee Blazers also a relatively slow team there is good reason to think that there will be a lot less possessions than the average game in this one. Oh, and there is also the minor fact that the Blazers’ offence is really bad. For the season they have the third worst offensive rating in the league, and though it’s been slightly better since the All-Star break it’s still well and truly in the bottom half of the league. The Knicks are in an extraordinary run of defensive form at the moment, and against a really subpar offence they should be able to continue it.

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Trail Blazers under 99.5 total match points vs Knicks @ $1.89
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James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.