NBA picks for today
Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets
It would be kind to say that both the Nets and Kings need a little time for their defenses to warm up.
First quarters have kept the scorekeepers busy whenever these teams touch the floor, with Brooklyn’s four bubble games producing an average of 63.25 points in the opening frame while Sacramento’s first quarters have turned out an average of 73.75 points in the initial 12 minutes, including 88 combined first-quarter points versus the Pelicans Thursday.
The Kings contributed 49 of those points in the opening frame versus New Orleans and average 35.5 first-quarter points inside the bubble - tops among all seeding teams. Brooklyn has given up 31.3 points per first frame and while the Kings are even worse at 38.25 points against in the first quarter, the Nets could be missing even more bodies for Friday. Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris are questionable, with the pair combining for a good chunk of Brooklyn's buckets during the restart.
PREDICTION: Sacramento first-quarter -1 (-110)
Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been running in the bubble and we keep running with them. San Antonio has switched to a smaller four-guard set during the restart schedule and that’s upping its offensive output significantly, jumping from 113.2 points per game before the shutdown to 123.3 points per game in the bubble.
We’ve cashed in on the Over with the Spurs’ team total versus Denver on Wednesday and go back to the well with San Antonio taking on Utah. The Jazz have faced some ho-hum offensive attacks recently, keeping their points against average at 111.3, but have allowed those foes to shoot 48 percent from the field. Utah will also be without the services of two staters in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, both sitting out with injuries.
The Spurs’ new-look tempo has been efficient with the basketball and the bench continues to contribute in a big way (52.3 points per game), not allowing for scoring lulls when the starters leave the floor. These teams have produced higher scores in recent meetings, with San Antonio posting 113 and 127 points in its last two meetings with Utah.
PREDICTION: Spurs team total Over 116.5 (-110)
Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Philly fans got bad news with Ben Simmons’ season up in the air after the point-forward injured his knee cap. While the initial diagnosis is about as good as it can be and Simmons is listed as day-to-day, he won’t be playing in this matchup with the Magic.
That leaves Philadelphia in flux… I mean, even more in flux after the team struggled to iron out its rotation upon moving Simmons to power forward. Now, 76ers head coach Brent Brown will be forced to go big and look to Al Horford to jump into the starting lineup.
Philly was playing at an accelerated pace with Simmons at the No. 4 spot, boasting a pace rating of 103.5 in its seeding games – seventh fastest in the bubble. That’s a massive jump in tempo when compared to the Sixers' pre-shutdown pace of just 99.38.
With Horford lumbering up and down the court, we expect the 76ers to be running in sand against Orlando. The Magic have been limited to just 109 and 99 points in their past two games and will likely be without Aaron Gordon (14.4 ppg) for Friday’s contest due to a hamstring injury.
PREDICTION: Under 222 (-110)
NBA betting card for August 7
- Sacramento first-quarter -1 (-110)
- Spurs team total Over 116.5 (-110)
- Orlando vs. Philadelphia Under 222 (-110)