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Free NBA Betting Picks and Best Bets (3/5/24)

Paolo Banchero - NBA DFS Lineup Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball

After a smaller six-game slate on Monday, we have a larger nine-game slate tonight. The marquee games will feature the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the red-hot Boston Celtics in the early window. In the late window, the defending champion Denver Nuggets will play host to the Phoenix Suns.

The playoff seeding in each conference is pretty wild at the moment. In the East, the Celtics have distanced themselves from the pact. The Bucks and Cavs are in their own little group, with a slew of teams behind. Jalen Brunson and the Knicks are in the fourth seed, but the difference between the fourth and eighth seeds is only a few games. In the West, the Thunder, Timberwolves, Nuggets, and Clippers have established themselves as the top four seeds. The Los Angeles Lakers sit in tenth but are 2.5 games back of the Sacramento Kings in sixth. All of this is to say that things are extremely tight right now, and the push towards the playoffs is fun to follow on a nightly basis.

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 Tuesday, March 5. Follow me on X, @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: Totals

New Orleans Pelicans (-8.5) at Toronto Raptors (228.5 total)

The Raptors season took a big hit on Friday when they lost Scottie Barnes indefinitely with a hand injury. Barnes was their do-it-all player, and without him, others will have to step up. Toronto managed to get a five-point victory against the Hornets at home on Sunday. I think the difference between the Hornets and Pelicans is pretty stark, and I believe that will show tonight.

New Orleans is one of the best teams ATS this season, with a 33-27-1 record. On the road, they are a very respectable 16-14-1. Toronto is 13-18 ATS at home and didn't cover the 7.5-point spread in their Sunday victory. I'm looking more towards the Pelicans defense than offense in this game. New Orleans is pretty similar in terms of opponent points per game at home and on the road. They rank in the top ten in both. The Pelicans are sixth in defensive rating this season and 12th in offensive rating. This group has been very good, and I've enjoyed watching them throughout the season.

I don't love that the Raptors only put up 111 points on Sunday and now face a Pelicans team looking to improve their playoff standing. The spread is a little too big for me, so I'm going to focus on the Raptors team total. New Orleans is holding opponents to 111.7 points per game on 46.2 percent field goal shooting. The Pelicans are particularly good at limiting points in the paint. RJ Barrett leads the team with 12.8 PITP per game, but Scottie Barnes (10.1) and Jakob Poeltl (9.6) follow behind. Both Barnes and Poeltl are out tonight. Toronto is a bottom-ten three-point shooting team, and the Pelicans are tied with Boston for the lowest opponent three-point percentage. Controlling the glass is also important, and the Pelicans are in the top ten in that category.

Toronto is also 21-10 this season on their team total under at home. On the road, they are 19-11 to their over. New Orleans comes into this game after holding the high-flying Indiana Pacers to 102 points on Friday.

The Pick: Raptors Team Total Under 110.5  (-115 ESPN BET)

 

Orlando Magic (-8.5) at Charlotte Hornets (208.5 total)

I'm not a big fan of the spreads tonight, so I'm going with another team total here. Like the Pelicans, Orlando has been great on defense this season, ranking fifth in defensive rating. They are elite at limiting second-chance opportunities and also rank in the top 12 in opponent points in the paint.

The Hornets averaged 103.7 points in 12 February games and put up 106 in a losing effort on Sunday. In their last 15 games, they are shooting 45.7 percent on FGA's and 36 percent from three. Charlotte is in the bottom five in free-throw attempts per game, which is never good when needing points. I favor Orlando to dictate the pace of this game, and they play at the fifth slowest pace in the NBA.

Orlando has won 11 of their last 14 games, and they are holding opponents to 105.4 points per game. During that stretch, they were in the top ten in the fewest three-point attempts allowed per game. The Hornets aren't awful beyond the arc, but I trust this Magic squad that's been doing it all season. One of the keys to this pick was how well Orlando's been limiting shot attempts. Charlotte is not an efficient team and could struggle with limited shot attempts. Only the New York Knicks have allowed fewer FGA's in this 14-game sample size. The Hornets are 33-28 hitting their under this season and 17-13 at home.

The Pick: Hornets Team Total Under 100.5  (-120 ESPN BET)

 

 

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NBA Betting Picks: ML & Spreads

San Antonio Spurs (+7.5) at Houston Rockets (229 total)

San Antonio comes into this game riding a two-game win streak. The Spurs got their best win of the season last Thursday when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder. They followed that up by beating the Pacers on Sunday. Not surprisingly, both of those wins were at home. San Antonio is 14–14 ATS at home, compared to 16–17 ATS on the road.

In February, the Spurs played nine games on the road, going 1–8 in that span. They averaged 109.7 points on a 45.8 field goal percentage. An inefficient team, San Antonio relies on putting up a lot of attempts. Houston is in the top ten among home teams for limiting shot attempts. They are also holding opponents to the second-lowest three-point percentage at home this season. San Antonio has had a nice two-game run, but I can't ignore the road stats.

Houston is not a great offensive team, but I was at least encouraged that they weren't in the bottom ten in home scoring. The Rockets are also league average in threes made per game and shoot a very solid 37.1 percent. Houston also does a great job getting to the foul line. Victor Wembanyama is a game-time decision for this game with a shoulder injury. I'll back a Rockets team that is 19-10-1 ATS at home this season.

The Pick: Rockets -7.5 (-108 FanDuel)

 



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