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Free NBA Betting Picks and Best Bets (4/14/24)

The 2023-24 NBA season started on October 23, back in 2023. After 174 days and almost six months, the NBA regular season ends today. I have really enjoyed doing these betting articles and am looking forward to continuing them in the playoffs. This regular season, I wrote 71 articles and gave out 202 picks. I'm slightly above 50 percent on the season and have seen my fair share of hot and cold streaks. Every team plays today, as we have a 15-game slate to close out the season. Let's get into it.

Friday night, I was happy to walk away with a 2-1 record on my three picks. The Cavs jumped out to a nice lead, then lost it, then closed the game strong to win at home. Miami showed up to play and easily covered their 7.5-point first-half spread. With those two in the bag, it was up to the Suns to win the first quarter by two or more to complete the sweep. Phoenix jumped out to an 11-6 lead, and I thought they would pull through. Sacramento came back and it prevented us from having a perfect night. I got three more picks today and let's close the season strong.

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 1:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 14. Follow me on X, @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: Totals

Milwaukee Bucks (+4.5) at Orlando Magic (214.5 total)

I’m taking the Bucks team total under in this game. I do like Orlando, and as a Knicks fan, I’m rooting for the Bucks to lose. I'm a little skeptical of this line and don't want to take points on either side.

What I'm hoping for is that the Magic defense shows up to play. Orlando could totally lose this game and crater in a big moment but I'm trusting what has built this team this season. This is the biggest Magic game in quite some time and the best team they've had since they went 52-30 in the 2010-11 season. A win today avoids falling to the play-in tournament.

Milwaukee is without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard and comes into this game off of a 125-107 loss in Oklahoma City on Friday night. I would take the full game under in this game but I just don't know what to expect from Milwaukee on the defensive side of the ball. Orlando has been a top-five defensive team all season and I have enjoyed watching them command that side of the ball. Entering the final day of the regular season, the Magic are third in defensive rating. The Magic's 111 defensive rating is only behind the Celtics (110.5) and Timberwolves (108.1). If Orlando's offense could've ranked around average, they would've easily been a 50-win team.

This is not about the Magic's offense, though, because we need their defense to stop the Bucks. At home, Orlando had a 108 defensive rating, compared to 113.9 on the road. They have held opponents to 105.5 points, which is third behind the Knicks and Timberwolves. The key to this pick is how the Magic limit FGAs. Among home teams, they allow the fewest FGAs and second-fewest three-point attempts.

If Orlando plays up to that average, Milwaukee will have to play efficiently to go over its total. Without Giannis and Lillard and the motivation from a full-strength Magic squad, I don't like them to get it done today.

The Pick: Bucks Team Total Under 105.5 (-120 ESPN BET)

 

Phoenix Suns (+2.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves (216.5 total)

The pick here will be a little off-brand for me but I like the over. I know Minnesota has been excellent on defense and I'm taking the risk here. Both teams can score and the total feels low enough that it's worth a try.

Phoenix hasn't been scoring well recently but they are still averaging 116 points this season. The Suns actually average more points on the road (116.5) than at home (115.8). They shoot slightly better on FGAs and a little worse on threes. Phoenix is seventh in offensive rating among road teams this season. They shoot it well from virtually every distance on the court and are not reliant on one particular spot. On the road this season, Devin Booker (29.0) and Kevin Durant (26.5) are both averaging over 26 points per game. The Suns also have Bradley Beal (18.2), Grayson Allen (12.6), Eric Gordon (10.6), and Jusuf Nurkic (9.9) helping out their top two guys.

On defense, Phoenix ranks 13th in defensive rating. I think the Suns will struggle with the size of Minnesota on the defensive side of the ball.

The Timberwolves are outside of the top 15 in points per game but still average over 113 per game. Minnesota is in the top 10 in field goal percentage and in the top five in three-point percentage. They welcomed back Karl-Anthony Towns on Friday night, who was playing his first game in over a month. Towns only had 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting in 27 minutes, but having some rust is normal. The Timberwolves All-Star is averaging 22 points per game this season. He does have a favorable matchup against a Suns team that doesn't defend power forwards well. Back on November 15, Towns scored 25 points in a 133-115 loss to Phoenix. I also expect Anthony Edwards to rebound after a 14-point outing in the Friday night victory against the Hawks.

Both teams need this game for seeding purposes and I think they can get across this total.

The Pick: Over 216.5 (-115 ESPN BET)

 

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NBA Betting Picks: ML & Spreads

Los Angeles Lakers (+3.5) at New Orleans Pelicans (230.5 total)

This is another huge game with playoff-seeding implications. I like the Lakers to cover the first quarter on the road here. Los Angeles hasn't been great ATS in opening quarters this season but they are 6-1 in their last seven. In their one loss, Anthony Davis did not play against the Warriors. Against Memphis on Friday night, they held a 34-26 advantage after 12 minutes of play. I'm a little concerned that LeBron James and Anthony Davis played 40+ minutes, but it is also playoff time and minutes increase with the importance of these games.

In April, Davis is leading the Lakers with 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in the first quarter. On Friday, he had 13 to open against Memphis. The Lakers have lost the first quarter in their last two matchups against New Orleans but the last time they played was on February 9.

Los Angeles is second in offensive rating and 11th in defensive rating in this seven-game sample. They have the third-highest net rating and have outscored opponents 211–157, not counting the Warriors game. The 34.3 points they've averaged are the most in the NBA. For the season, LA is averaging 29.6 points, which still ranks in the top 12. Over this stretch, the Lakers have hit 51.2 percent of their FGAs and 41.5 percent from three. They could be better on the defensive side of the ball, but scoring 30 or more will likely win them the opening quarter more times than not.

The Pelicans only put up 17 points to open the game against the Warriors on Friday night. Using this same sample, New Orleans is 25th in offensive rating and 18th in defensive rating. They have a -7.0 net rating and haven't looked too sharp. Brandon Ingram could return and play his first game since March 21. He might have some rust and the Pelicans will have to reintegrate him back into the offense. That makes me like the Lakers to cover early even more and I'll ride the hot hand.

The Pick: Lakers First Quarter +1.5  (-125 Sports Illustrated Sportsbook)

 

*Picks and odds are subject to change throughout the day. Monitor your books for the best lines. 



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