It’s Saturday and March Madness is in full swing, but the NBA is where my loyalty lies! We get big upsets like the Purdue shocker in the Association all the time, it’s not even a big deal, ha! I have been on fire this week picking sides but I had to yield to my buddy Josh on Wednesday so he could give you some of his picks and then yesterday I was on the DFS beat. But I couldn’t resist the temptation to write up my three favorite bets for today’s NBA games today.
I’m only picking sides and totals in this article three days a week, so consider subscribing to my sports betting substack here as I put out some DFS stuff and props on most evenings from Monday through Friday, too.
In this article, I’ll be providing my favorite picks against the spread, game totals, parlays, and teasers for NBA games that tip-off at 7:00 PM EST on Saturday, March 18th.
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Orlando Magic (+7) vs. LA Clippers (226.5 total)
If you haven’t noticed, I have been focusing a lot more on underdogs here late in the season and it’s been a somewhat successful strategy. The Magic are on the road in LA this afternoon, but they will get to face the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard which is a pretty big deal. The Clippers have a -5.8 net rating without Kawhi this season as opposed to their usual neutral net rating of zero on the season. Not a lot of players in this league are worth five points above replacement level, but Kawhi is arguably still one of the best two-way players in the league.
Orlando actually beat this Clippers team with Kawhi in their only other meeting this season. The Magic might not be collecting many wins this year, but they have been an improved team in the second half and they’ve been competitive against good teams lately. This feels like way too many points in my opinion, I simply don’t trust Westbrook and Paul George to carry this Clippers team to a blowout win. The Magic are pesky and will battle. I like their chances of keeping it close, though I won’t go as far as to say they’ll win. Give me the road team (Orlando 19-15 ATS on the road this season) and the points here.
The Pick: Magic +7 (-110)
Sacramento Kings (-2.5) @ Washington Wizards (235.5 total)
I just love this Kings team and I have enjoyed wagering on their games this year, too. I was kicking myself on Wednesday night for not recommending them as underdogs on the road in Chicago as the Bulls recent strong play had me questioning my call there. But De’Aaron Fox came through with a buzzer-beater to win that game and Sacto pulled out yet another tight game against a pretty solid team.
After a tough loss to the Bucks (probably the best team in basketball right now) in which Trey Lyles lost his head and nearly started a huge brawl at the end of the game, the Kings have won two in a row and are 8-2 in their last ten games. The Wizards are coming off a loss against the Cavs last night in a game where they trailed throughout and never really had a chance.
I have some respect for the Wizards because when they are healthy they are an above-average basketball team (they just haven’t been healthy all year), but they’re not in the same tier as the Kings by any means. Sacto has the second-best record ATS on the road this season behind the Knicks at 22-12 and I think they can cover this one in Washington tonight, too. I’m betting on the Kings to keep their momentum going here.
The Pick: Kings -2.5 (-110)
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Miami Heat (-4) @ Chicago Bulls (218 total)
Yes, I realize that the Bulls had to go to OT last night to finally secure a win against the Timberwolves and that might mean some tired legs tonight. But as much as I have knocked Chicago this season for underperforming, they’re actually playing their best basketball of the year right now. Over their last ten games, they own the third-best net rating in the league at +7.6. They are 6-4 in that stretch, but only one loss was by more than 6 points (two of those losses were by only three points)
Miami comes into Chicago on a mini hot streak, having won two straight. But this is still the same team that lost to Orlando in OT the game before that. And Chicago happens to have their number so far this year as the Bulls are 2-0 head-to-head against Miami.
Chicago is such a tough team to predict, but they usually play up to their competition and they’ve beaten plenty of good teams this year. It’s when they are favored over inferior teams when I get nervous. I’m backing them here with the points at home as this line has moved to a full four points in favor of Miami. And just for fun, I am going to sprinkle a half unit on their money line in case they pull off the mild upset.
The Pick: Bulls +4 (-110), Half unit on Bulls ML (+140)
No Money Line Parlay
UNDERDOG TEASER (buying 5 points)
NYK +7.5, ORL +12, CHI +9 = (+130 DK)
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