Daily picks: Jazz will keep rolling against red hot Heat
The underdogs have had some success over the last two weeks, but tonight the winds might shift toward the favorites, particularly in the NBA.
Join us as we take a look at three compelling games on Friday night's jam-packed sports schedule, and offer our picks for each.
Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors
Sat, February 27 2021, 12:40 AM
As difficult as it can be to trust the Toronto Raptors sometimes, they face a Houston Rockets team that has dropped towards the bottom of the Western Conference standings courtesy of a nine-game losing streak.
The Raptors recently won four in a row, including back-to-back upsets over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were six and 7.5-point favorites in their two-game series.
As of Friday morning, the Raptors were 8.5-point favorites against Houston, and they'll have the added boost of having Kyle Lowry back in the lineup. The six-time All-Star returned Wednesday after missing time with a thumb injury, and had an immediate impact with 24 points.
The Rockets, who dealt James Harden earlier in the year, have struggled this season, and are expected to be without center Christian Wood on Friday due to an ankle injury.
The Rockets have covered the spread only once during this losing streak and have suffered back-to-back double-digit losses to the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers in their last two outings.
As difficult as it can be to trust the Raptors sometimes (can you tell we have trust issues about betting on Toronto?!?), the Rockets appear headed for another significant loss on Friday.
Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat
Sat, February 27 2021, 1:10 AM
The Jazz continue to roll as the top team in the NBA, with a 26-6 record and wins in nine of their last 10 games.
They also happen to be the best team in the NBA against the spread this season, covering in more than 70% of their games. At home, on the road, it hasn’t really mattered.
The Heat, on the other hand, have a 15-17 record overall, sit 10th in the Eastern Conference, and have just the 20th best offensive rating in the NBA.
That said, the Heat have rattled off four straight wins coming into this contest, and own the third best defensive rating in the NBA, so there may be a chance for Miami to make things interesting. Jimmy Butler is also coming off one of his best games of the season, when he scored 27 points against Toronto and nearly achieved a triple-double.
Keep an eye on the injury reports closer to game time. Bam Adebayo is listed as questionable for Friday’s game with a left knee issue, while Tyler Herro is also questionable with a right hip bruise.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Minnesota Wild
Sat, February 27 2021, 1:00 AM
No one should have expected the Los Angeles Kings to contend for a playoff spot in this shortened NHL season. But as they approach the midway point, the Kings are third in the re-configured West Division, and only two points back of the Vegas Golden Knights for first.
The Kings have won six in a row coming into tonight’s contest against the Minnesota Wild. After COVID-19 protocols disrupted their season early on, the Wild have emerged in the West Division playoff discussion thanks to four straight wins.
At five-on-five overall, the Wild should hold an edge in expected goals-for against their opponents from Hollywood, and they have been strong against the penalty kill with the fifth best success rate in the NHL.
The Wild and Kings are nearly neck-and-neck in the NHL in goals-for, and both teams rank in the top 10 in goals-against. In previous years, the Kings-versus-Wild matchup on a Friday likely wouldn’t garner much attention. But these teams are among the hottest in the NHL right now.
If the Kings can keep this game tied going into the third period, there is an opportunity to pull off the upset as moneyline underdogs. It's not not often you can catch a team on a six-game winning streak at +145 to win.