Our staff’s best bet for Hawks vs. Raptors, Pelicans vs. Kings and more (April 5)

After a quiet Monday without NBA games on the schedule, the professionals are back to a packed Tuesday list with 12 games. There is at least one must-win matchup on the board (Lakers vs. Suns) and two others that are important for playoff seeding (Bucks vs. Bulls and Grizzlies vs. Jazz).

But with so many games on the board, our experts were able to find three more games with valuable stakes. You can check out their analysis and choices for these matchups below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors

Pick
Hawks +4
Order
FanDuel
Tipoff
19:30 ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Kenny Ducey: It’s pretty funny that even in a game where both teams technically need to win, we still can not say with certainty that this game means a lot to the Hawks. With four games to settle between them and the Raptors for sixth playoff spot, it’s anything but a guarantee that Atlanta will end up in the playoffs.

Either way, based on their recent games, it looks like the Hawks are a team worth believing in at the moment, even if their push in the late season is ultimately in vain. With five straight wins against the spread, including a direct win as an underdog to Brooklyn, the Hawks are officially the hottest team in the NBA over the past week and a half. Their offense has finally exploded once again, ranking at the top of the league with an efficiency rating of 126.6, while their defense has been average (this is good considering what we have seen at times during the season).

While Toronto’s defense reigns over the same range, it’s mostly due to the fact that it has only allowed 33.9% shooting from three. The variance should kick in here, and that should be helped by the fact that the Hawks have shot a whopping 41.4% from deep over their five-game ATS winning streak. The margins here are slimmer than this line would say.


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Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick
Blazers ML (+160)
Order
DraftKings
Tipoff
20.00 ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Andersen: The Oklahoma City Thunder are favorites with 4.5 points tonight.

Any guesses when that last happened? A minute has passed. The Thunder have only been favored three times this entire season, and never so much. They were only favored twice throughout last season, but never by 4.5 points.

No, that’s the most the Thunder has benefited from since August 9, 2020, back in the bubble – back then Chris Paul was still wearing OKC orange and blue and the Thunder were still a playoff team. Yes, a minute has passed.

But should Oklahoma City really be such a big favorite? The Thunder have won exactly three of their last 16 games. Their starting lineup in the final match featured Theo Maledon, Aaron Wiggins, Vit Krejci, Alexei Pokusevski and Isaiah Roby, with Jaylen Hoard, Lindy Waters and Olivier Sarr playing major roles from the bench. There may only be one or two actual NBA players on that list in a few years.

One of the last three OKC victories came over these Blazers, who do not exactly have their own winning lineup these days, but it took 44% to shoot at 3s of Oklahoma City just to win a three-point victory in it game.

The Blazers are just as bad as the Thunder, but are we sure the Thunder should be favored here? Oklahoma City has a lot more incentive to lose. Right now, the Thunder are certainly among the bottom four draft picks and are guaranteed to pick 7th in the worst case, with just as good odds on the No. 1 pick as any team. But win a few more games this week, and this whole season of losses goes awry.

Portland has a full game buffer in both directions and far less at stake. The Blazers do not care if they win or lose tonight – but the Thunder should want to lose. With three away games left against the Jazz and both LA teams, a loss tonight basically captures OKC’s tank goal of the year.

It’s getting ugly. I probably do not want to see. But at +160, the Blazers have an implicit chance of winning at 38%, and that feels silly in what should at best be a coin flip scrimmage game. I want to take my chances and bet on OKC motivation.


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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings

Pick
Davion Mitchell over 2.5 revenue (-130)
Order
BetMGM
Tipoff
22:00 ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Anderson: Bonus bet! If you’ve been following it for the past few weeks, this should look familiar. But as the old saying goes: if it is not broken, do not repair it.

Allow me to catch up with you. Kings lose again. The Kings have been in Sacramento for 37 seasons. In eight of those years, they finished over .500 and reached the playoffs under Rick Adelman, but won only five playoff series during that stretch and eventually fired Adelman for not winning enough. And in the other 29 seasons in Sacramento, the Kings have ended up under .500 every single time. Oops.

This year’s Kings were no better. With 29-50, the season is long gone, even with the extended post-season, which is why De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have already been following from the sidelines for weeks. This means, once again, that King’s thoughts are late in the season, developing young prospects and looking to the future.

And that brings us back to Davion Mitchell. Over the last eight games, Mitchell moved into the starting lineup, experiencing massive minutes and use. He plays over 40 minutes a game and has an average of an impressive 19.0 points and 7.9 assists. The problem is that all the extra use and time on the ball has also consistently led to turnovers, a typical problem for a rookie point guard trying to do everything.

Mitchell has an average of 3.8 revenue per share. match over this stretch, including matches of 4, 4, 4, 5 and 7. He has gone over 2.5 turnovers in six of the eight matches and the Pelicans make a strong postseason push and play a hard defense so they should be able to force a few more mistakes tonight. I keep playing Mitchell’s turnover over until he proves otherwise.


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