NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Raptors vs. Timberwolves, Jazz vs. Clippers (Friday, Feb. 19)

Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz.

Well hello, Friday. We’re closing out the work week with a fun slate of games that is highlighted by a huge matchup in the Western conference between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Jazz have been on a historically hot streak over the past 21 games and with just 3.5 games separating them from the third-place Clippers, Friday’s game could prove to be important down the stretch for both teams.

With that as the backdrop, our analysts have give three bets for Friday’s games, including why two are are on opposite sides of that West matchup.

You can find their analysis and picks below.

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NBA Odds & Picks

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Raptors vs. Timberwolves Moneyline 9 p.m. ET
Jazz vs. Clippers Spread 10 p.m. ET
Jazz vs. Clippers Spread 10 p.m. ET

Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick Raptors -136 (FanDuel)
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Kenny Ducey: Despite picking up just one win in the past two weeks, the Timberwolves have been quietly great against the spread of late. Minnesota has covered the spread in seven of its past 11 games, including a win over the  Raptors earlier this week.

Since that game, however, the Timberwolves have failed to win and cover twice in a row, while the Raptors have picked up two straight wins over the slumping Bucks as they march back towards .500.

The Raptors will likely be without Kyle Lowry for this one, who’s dealing with a thumb injury, but that has worked out for them well in the past. They’re a perfect 4-0 ATS in games played without their starting point guard, and it’s most likely because it opens up more opportunities for players who fit the mold of their offense.

OG Anunoby, a 40.7% 3-point shooter, is seeing a 3.2% boost in Usage Rate, while Norman Powell, who is shooting better than 43% from deep this season, has seen an uptick as well. Toronto ranks fourth in 3-point attempts this sesason, so naturally things are better when the ball is in the hands of its best shooters.

The Raptors’ 9-8 ATS record on the road is encouraging, though its 1-3 record on the second night of back-to-backs is not. The three losses, though, came against the Pacers, Hawks and Celtics, who tout palatable offenses and the Wolves’ -6.9 Net Rating ranks second-worst in the NBA.

The Raptors should be able to keep the momentum going by relying on Pascal Siakam once more against a team that is third-worst in points in the paint allowed this year. I’m backing them in revenge spot.


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Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Pick Clippers +5 (PointsBet)
Tipoff 10 p.m. ET

Raheem Palmer: The Utah Jazz have outperformed their market expectations unlike any team we’ve seen in recent memory. They’re on a Warriors-esque run this season: They’re 24-5 straight up, 22-7ATS, 21-1 in their last 22 games and they’ve won nine straight. They’re taking opposing teams into the deep waters and drowning them with an average margin of victory of 15.25 points over this stretch.

The Jazz leads the league in Net Rating (12.6) and SRS (10.27) while ranking third in Defensive Rating (120.2) and fourth in Defensive Rating (107.6). They’re also making a league leading 16.6 3-pointers per game and shooting 42.3% of those shots, also first among NBA teams.

Most people would say you’d be a damn fool to step in front of this freight train. I’m not most people.

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? If there’s any place to find out it’s here against a Clippers team that will likely get Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in the lineup Friday. The Clippers are +17.1 points per 100 possessions with Leonard on the floor and +12.2 with Paul George on the floor.

This is major for a Clippers team that played the Jazz tough just two nights ago, holding a 51-46 lead at halftime and controlling the game until the Jazz eventually wore them down. Even without their two stars, the Clippers did a solid job at defending and preventing catch-and-shoot 3s — the bread and butter for this Jazz team.

While Gobert is an issue in this matchup as the Jazz were +22 in the 14 minutes him and Ivica Zubac shared the court, the Clippers have the athleticism on the wings to give the Jazz problems.

These two teams played at full strength on Jan. 1 with the Jazz getting the 106-100 win, however they were able to build a nine-point first half lead with the Clippers shooting just 31.8% from the field and 6-of-16 from being the arc. While the Clippers outscored the Jazz 35-22 in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to three with two minutes to go, they could never quite get over the hump in a game where they were 3.5-point road favorites.

It’s amazing how the perception of these teams have changed over the course of the past month. We’ve seen a 7.5-point line move from that time through now and if Leonard and George play I’m not sure it’s warranted.

This is where I step in and play the Clippers as my projections make this game a PK and they should have a solid chance at winning this game outright.


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Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Pick Jazz -4.5 (DraftKings)
Tipoff 10 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: The Utah Jazz are really good. Maybe you’ve heard. Few teams in NBA history have played this level of basketball for this long.

Beating the Clippers twice on this road trip would be even more impressive and that’s what I’m expecting to happen tonight, in part because that’s exactly what’s been happening in every other Jazz game for a month.

I’m done focusing on matchups and angles with the way the Jazz are playing. If you give me a low line like this, I’m just taking them until the magic runs out. I would take Utah -4 against any basketball team on the planet right now.

All the better when I look at the injury report and see the entire Clippers roster on there.  George hasn’t played in seven games. Leonard hasn’t played in three. Nic Batum has probably been the third best Clippers player this season, and he’s missed the last two.

Those three are all questionable tonight, and if even one of the stars is out, this line should shift in Utah’s favor. The Jazz might also get Mike Conley back finally, so there are three potential All Star injuries that could swing Utah’s way in this one.

The way the Jazz have been playing, it’s entirely conceivable that the Clippers could look at their banged up roster, decide they prefer another couple days of rest, and just punt this one. And sure, those backup Clips and Lou Williams have been balling, but don’t tell me you wouldn’t kill to take Jazz -4.5 against a bunch of Clippers backups. That’s practically a free roll at that point.

Keep it easy tonight and keep riding the Jazz until the music stops.

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