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The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Friday’s NBA Slate

The NBA keeps rolling right along, and we have another 10 games on tap for Friday. The action gets underway with the Warriors vs. the Raptors at 7 p.m. ET and wraps up with a trio of contests starting at 10 p.m. ET.

One of the most interesting matchups features the Pelicans and the Hawks. Both teams will be playing without their best players, which makes it an interesting game to handicap. That said, it could also create some betting value. Which shorthanded squad has the edge?

Let’s dive in.


Let’s start by breaking down the injuries. The Pelicans are going to be without four of their best players in this matchup. It starts with Zion Williamson – who has blossomed into a full-fledged superstar this season – but they’ll also be without Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Ball, Ingram, and Williamson own the top-three marks on the team in terms of Net Rating differential, so their absences will obviously be felt.

On the other side, the Hawks are going to be without Trae Young, Danilo Gallinari, and John Collins. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish also remain out of the lineup due to long-term injuries. That’s a lot of bodies on the sidelines.

Young is obviously the biggest name here, and he’s been the Hawks’ most important player this season. They’ve increased their offensive efficiency by +13.3 points per 100 possessions with Young on the floor, which puts him in the 99th percentile for qualified players per Cleaning the Glass. Overall, the Hawks have increased their Net Rating by +11.6 points per 100 possessions with Young on the court, which is easily the top mark on the team.

After that? Collins (+7.1 points per 100 possessions), Gallinari (+5.7), and Hunter (+5.1) rank second, fourth, and fifth in that department, respectively.

The line on this game is currently listed at Pelicans -1.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook, and I think that line is actually undervaluing the Pelicans. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a certified bucket-getter, and there simply aren’t that many of those left given all the injuries.


There has already been some significant line movement on today’s slate.

The Raptors have seen one of the largest line moves in their favor. They were initially listed at -2 vs. the Warriors on FanDuel Sportsbook, but they’re up to -4.5. Part of that stems from Steph Curry being out of the lineup, which means he will miss his sixth straight game.

That said, the Raptors are dealing with a big absence of their own. Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for the Raptors, and they’re still playing without a host of reserve players.

The Raptors actually got up to -5.0 on FanDuel Sportsbook before getting bet back down to -4.5. That suggests that the pros aren’t seeing a ton of line value with the Raps at the current number.


Bucks vs. Blazers

Hawks vs. Pelicans


Find out who our betting model likes in each of tonight’s 10 NBA contests.

The post The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Friday’s NBA Slate first appeared on SportsGrid.

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