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Free NBA Betting Picks and Best Bets (4/16/24)

Stephen Curry - NBA DFS Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball

Happy (almost) NBA playoffs! The top six seeds have been determined in each conference but we still have to figure out who the seventh and eighth seeds will be. Tonight we start with the Western Conference, while the Eastern Conference games will be on Wednesday night. In the early game, LeBron James and the Lakers will match up against the Pelicans in New Orleans, who they just blew out on Sunday. The nightcap features Stephen Curry and the Warriors going to Sacramento to take on the Kings.

On Sunday, I was able to get a sweep to end the regular season. The Bucks went under their team total, the Lakers had a strong opening quarter in New Orleans, and there were plenty of points to go around in the Suns vs. Timberwolves game. I ended the regular season with a 105-98-2 record. It's not outstanding by any means but to be over 50 percent with 200+ picks isn't too bad. I hope to carry that Sunday sweep momentum into the postseason.

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 7:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 16. Follow me on X, @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: ML & Spreads

Los Angeles Lakers (+1) at New Orleans Pelicans (224.5 total)

The Lakers came to play in New Orleans on Sunday and put forth an impressive effort. One of my picks on the finale of the regular season was for the Lakers to cover the 1.5 points they were receiving in the opening quarter. LA jumped out to a 17-7 lead and led 30-24 after 12 minutes of play. The second quarter saw them hold an 11-point advantage and carry a 70-53 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Pelicans outscored the Lakers 55-54 and lost the game by 16 points.

In this game, I'm looking for New Orleans to have a better start than they did on Sunday. As mentioned earlier, LA jumped out to a 17-7 lead after Anthony Davis hit a layup with seven minutes left in the quarter. Shaking off that poor start, New Orleans outscored the Lakers 17-13 in the final seven minutes. I did like that the Pelicans fought back.

Despite not covering, New Orleans still finished the regular season with a 21-17-2 record ATS in the first quarter at home. They were 47-32-3 overall, the third-best record in the NBA. Brandon Ingram was also playing for the first time in 12 games, and predictably, there was some rust reintegrating him back into the lineup.

I look back to last month when the Pelicans had it rolling in the opening quarter of games. In March, New Orleans finished with the third-highest offensive rating, best defensive rating, and top net rating. They were 12-2 straight up in the first quarter that month.

Willie Green's squad averaged 30.9 points while hitting 56.2% of their FGAs and 44.1% from three. Those percentages are hard to replicate but I know they have it in them. They held opponents to 23.9 points, 40.9% on FGAs, and 29.1% from three. The Pelicans also did an excellent job limiting rebounds and assists.

Brandon Ingram led the Pels in first-quarter scoring this season, averaging 6.5 points per game. He only played 23 minutes on Sunday, but I still like that he played before this game. I expect New Orleans to come out a little more focused and I also don't like that Anthony Davis tweaked his back, so I'm fading LA to start this play-in game.

 

The Pick: Pelicans First Quarter ML (-110 FanDuel)

 

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NBA Betting Picks: ML & Spreads

Golden State Warriors (-2) at Sacramento Kings (223.5 total)

Maybe I'm naive but I can't give up on Stephen Curry just yet. He's not going down without a fight and that's where my pick is going in this game. No matter who Golden State was playing in the play-in, I was going to take them, but it makes it easier that it's against a Kings team I don't like.

These two teams faced off in the first round of last year's playoffs. The lasting image of that series was Stephen Curry dropping 50 points on the road in Game 7 to send the Kings packing. Both teams have had some turnover, but the top of the rosters pretty much looks the same. The Warriors subtracted Jordan Poole and Donte DiVincenzo and replaced them with Chris Paul, Brandin Podziemski, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Those three aren't world-beaters but they've been nice complementary pieces.

Sacramento returned its top players, Domantas Sabonis, De'Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray, and Harrison Barnes. The Kings suffered two huge losses late in the season when they lost Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter. Monk is the favorite to win the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award and the Kings really lack depth without those two.

They split their season series 2-2, with three games being decided by one point. Fox averaged 32.3 points against the Warriors, while Curry averaged 31 points against the Kings. Those two are likely to even each other out. I worry a little bit about Sabonis's size against the Warriors but they've been able to limit him to 17.3 points in their four games. He only averaged 16.4 points in the seven-game series in the 2023 playoffs.

Malik Monk got injured in the Kings' game against the Dallas Mavericks on March 29. Sacramento would go on to lose that game and finish the season 1-6 against teams with winning records. The Kings' one win was against a Clippers team playing without Kawhi Leonard. I feel the writing has been on the wall for the last few weeks and I'm going to choose not to ignore it.

In those six losses, the Kings averaged 107.8 points, hit 44.4% of their FGAs, and made 38.6% of their shots from deep. Those just aren't encouraging statistics and I want no part of the Kings.

The Warriors played really well on the road this season. They went 25-16 straight up, 26-14 ATS, and 15-6 ATS as a road favorite. Sacramento was only 18-23 ATS at home this season. Golden State put up 118 points per game (second only to Indiana), shot 48.3% on FGAs, and 38.4% from three. They tied with the Mavericks for the second-most road three-pointers this season.

On the road, the Warriors were sixth in offensive and defensive rating and had the fourth-best net rating. The top guys on this team have played in plenty of big road games over the course of their careers. Being that this may also be the end of this Warriors core if they lose, I don't see it ending tonight.

The Pick: Warriors -2 (-110 Caesars)

 

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



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