Today's Top Picks: Three NBA best bets, including backing the Lakers to cover as huge favorites

It's great to have the NBA back in full swing. It provides so many more options on the gambling menu and keeps me from having to do deep dives on Ivy League basketball teams.

That's precisely what I would have been doing for tonight's picks had the NBA still been on break. The college basketball slate for tonight isn't the most exciting, and I'm somewhat surprised the television networks don't have it worked out to where the major conferences play more Friday night games. I suppose the ratings don't do all that well.

Anyway, who cares? We have NBA games to bet, so let's get to betting. All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.

1. Mavericks at Magic: Mavericks -4

There's a chance that Aaron Gordon looks at everybody in a Mavericks uniform on Friday night and pictures Dwyane Wade's face on them for motivation. Gordon would then use that anger to inspire an epic performance, leading the Magic to victory. More likely is that the Mavs win and cover. Dallas has been a covering machine on the road this season, going 17-6-2 ATS overall and a remarkable 9-3-1 ATS when favored on the road. Now compare that to an Orlando team that is only 10-17-1 ATS at home this season and 2-8-1 ATS when an underdog at home. It seems rather apparent which direction to go here.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure saw multiple huge cashes again early in the 2019-20 NBA season and got 2020 off to a blistering start with his optimal lineup returning at least 7x on DraftKings on three of the first five days of the year. See tonight's picks only at SportsLine.   

2. Nuggets at Thunder: Under 215

It's a bit surprising that we're here in late February, coming off the break, and these two division rivals will be meeting for only the second time this season on Friday night. The first meeting took place in Denver with the Nuggets winning 110-102, which went well over the 204 total that game had. So what has changed from that first meeting to warrant the total climbing 11 points? I'm not sure, so I'll be taking the under here. If it helps to ease your mind, the under has gone 7-2 in Denver's division games this season, as well as 8-3 when it's a road underdog.

WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury, who fought to a disputed split draw in 2018, fight again on Saturday, and you'll want to see what veteran analyst Peter Kahn is picking after he nailed a 22-to-1 longshot in a Wilder fight last year. Get his Wilder-Fury best bets over at SportsLine. 

3. Grizzlies at Lakers: Lakers -11

I am not a fan of taking double-digit home favorites in the NBA, but things are set up in the Lakers favor here. It's their first game back since the All-Star break, so they're well-rested. Memphis is not. The Grizzlies just played in Sacramento on Thursday night, losing 129-125. Now they're flying down to LA to take on a Lakers team that's been chilling. The last time Memphis played the Lakers at Staples Center was way back in October, and the Lakers won that game by 29 points. I wouldn't go expecting a margin that large tonight, but I do think a healthy, rested Lakers team will handle a Grizzlies team on the second half of a back-to-back. Plus, the Lakers have performed well against the West in general, going 20-13-1 ATS in conference games this year.

Football expert R.J. White was mere minutes away from starting the XFL season 8-0 on his ATS picks, but even at 7-1 he's been cashing for SportsLine members on the new league. See all four of his Week 3 picks only at SportsLine.    

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories