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Free NBA Betting Picks and Best Bets (2/29/24)

Franz Wagner - NBA DFS Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball Rankings, Injury News

To close out February, we have an eight-game slate to dissect tonight. Almost 75 percent of the NBA season is complete, and time has completely flown since opening night on October 24. It'll be June before you know it, so cherish these games as we keep chugging along.

Tuesday night, I went 1-2 on my picks. The Mavericks didn't need the 1.5 points they were getting in the first quarter and won 24-23. Utah fell behind early against the Hawks, and that pick was chalked. The Warriors team total of 125.5 points was a bad beat. Golden State had 115 points with 5:23 left in the game and finished with 123. I loved the pick, and I would take it again if I knew they only needed 11 points with over five minutes left. Hopefully, the ball bounces our way tonight.

In this article, I'll be providing my favorite picks against the spread, game totals, parlays, and teasers for the NBA slate that tips off at 7:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 29. Follow me on X, @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: Spreads & ML

Atlanta Hawks (+1.5) at Brooklyn Nets (227 total)

I'm going back against the Hawks tonight, but I'm doing it early in the game. The Hawks have played two home games since Trae Young's injury and have split the two first quarters. Against the Magic on February 25, Orlando came away leading 22-19 after one. Atlanta jumped out to a quick 12-0 start and won the first quarter 26-18 on Tuesday night. Once the Jazz scored their first points to make it 12-2, they outscored the Hawks 18-14 for the rest of the opening quarter.

Brooklyn has played four games on the road since the All-Star break. They lost the first quarter 33-25 in Orlando on Tuesday night, but this team is different at home. On the road, the Nets are a league-worst 9-19 ATS in the first quarter. In the Barclays Center, they are a league-best 22-7-1. The Hawks are 11-15-1 ATS in the first quarter on the road, compared to being 16-15 at home.

In their last two games, the Hawks are only averaging 22.5 points while having 36.4/26.7/75.0 shooting splits. Brooklyn has been a top-three first-quarter defense at home. They are holding opponents to 44 percent on field-goal attempts and 34.4 percent from three. The Nets play with some of the slowest first-quarter pace in the league, which should slow a faster team like Atlanta down.

Brooklyn does not have a top offense, but they are in the top 15 in first-quarter scoring at home. I think they'll be able to find enough points tonight, and not falling behind quickly like Utah did on Tuesday night will be key. Brooklyn plays at home for the first time since the All-Star break.

The Pick: Nets First Quarter ML  (-118 FanDuel)

 

Oklahoma City Thunder (-11) at San Antonio Spurs (236.5 total)

I like the Spurs in the first half at home here. Going against the Thunder in any capacity is not fun, but I'm hoping to clip them with the halftime spread. San Antonio finally plays at home after playing the last nine games on the road. The Spurs' first-half home-court numbers don't look great, but they've managed a 14-12 first-half record ATS. Oklahoma City sits at 14-14 in the first half on the road, compared to an elite 20-10 at home.

The one thing the Spurs do well is move the ball. They rank in the top six in first-half assists. I find this aspect key because moving the ball is important, especially when you are the inferior team. The Spurs have eight players averaging at least 4.7 points in the first half at home this season. In January, Victor Wembanyama averaged 13.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in seven January games at Frost Bank Center.

Oklahoma City's points and percentages drop when they are not at home. San Antonio has a 112.4 defensive rating in the opening 24 minutes of games at home. That is good enough to rank 14th. On the road, that number drops to 118.2, and they rank 21st. As usual, home and away splits are very common, but for a young Spurs team, playing at home is very beneficial.

There is also the whole Wemby vs. Chet aspect. I'd like to believe the San Antonio crowd will get into it and try to give the Spurs an early boost. When they played back on January 24 in San Antonio, the Thunder won the first half, 63-52. Oklahoma City hit 24-of-42 (57.1%) FGA and went 11-of-22 from three. The Spurs only shot 42.2 percent on 45 FGA and were 3-of-15 from three. I'm banking on San Antonio having a better start tonight.

The Pick: Spurs First Half +7.5 (-125 PointsBet)

 

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NBA Betting Picks: Totals

Utah Jazz (+6) at Orlando Magic (226 total)

After watching the Jazz fail to score 100 points in Atlanta on Tuesday night, I'm going to take their team total under in this game. Utah is only 9-21 on the road this season, and they are averaging 111.8 points, which is in the bottom 12 of the league. They put up a decent amount of shots, but only hit 45.9 percent of their FGA and 34.7 percent from three. In the Delta Center, the Jazz are averaging 123.2 points (fourth) and shooting better percentages. Seeing home and away scoring discrepancies is normal, but this one feels extreme.

The team trying to stop them is the Orlando Magic. Orlando has been one of the best defensive teams all season. I was going to take the under in this game, but I don't like Utah on defense, and I can never get a gauge for Orlando offensively. In the Kia Center, the Magic are holding opponents to 107.8 points, which is the lowest among home teams.

Orlando does a great job at limiting shot attempts. They allow 83.7 field-goal attempts at home, which is the best among home teams. The Knicks and Grizzlies are tied in second at 85.1. Jamahl Mosley's team allows the fewest rebounds per game, which should limit second-chance points for the Jazz. Orlando plays at a slow pace, and I think they will control this game. That would go against the Jazz's seventh-ranked pace. The team total under is 17-13 in 30 Jazz road games.

The Pick: Jazz Team Total Under 110.5 (-115 DraftKings)

 



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