NBA Predictions and Best Bets – April 16, 2021

| April 16, 2021 4:15 am PDT

Betting on the NBA has become increasingly dicey lately, so my biggest piece of advice is to wait until you have enough information to make the best bet possible.

That, or take an early stab at insane value when it presents itself.

I push out these free NBA picks early just so bettors have a nice reference for the day of betting ahead, but keep in mind how much can change over the course of one day.

With that said, let’s take a quick look at the games on Friday’s NBA betting slate.

  • Indiana Pacers vs. Utah Jazz
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
  • New Orleans Pelicans vs. Washington Wizards
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Memphis Grizzlies vs. Chicago Bulls
  • Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets
  • Miami Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs
  • New York Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks

At first glance, it’s a pretty good schedule, as the Clippers vs. 76ers is a pretty great battle on paper. That’s a fine way to tip things off, while the Pels and Wiz could provide quite the shootout, and Luka Doncic caps the night off against the Knicks.

This slate isn’t rife with tantalizing matchups, but I think there should be some clear paths to value for sports bettors.

If you came here for some quick NBA picks, trust in today’s NBA predictions. I’ll break down some good underdog plays and the best NBA bets throughout the rest of the post, as well.

NBA Predictions for Friday, April 16th

  • Jazz to beat Pacers
  • Thunder to beat Pistons
  • 76ers to beat Clippers
  • Pelicans to beat Wizards
  • Nets to beat Hornets
  • Raptors to beat Magic
  • Grizzlies to beat Bulls
  • Nuggets to beat Rockets
  • Heat to beat Timberwolves
  • Blazers to beat Spurs
  • Mavericks to beat Knicks

This slate looks pretty easy in a sense, as most of these games are total mismatches. I don’t make a habit of betting against the Jazz at home (25-3 there), while Philly is also tough to beat on their home court.

I’d prioritize the game total for the Wizards game and likely steer clear of some of these messy spots, too. However, if you just want quick expert NBA picks to run with at the best NBA betting apps, you can refer to the predictions above.

I factor injuries, ATS data, splits, and matchups into my NBA predictions and picks, but if you want my favorite plays of the night, read on for my top NBA upset picks and best bets.

NBA Upsets to Target on Friday

  • Thunder (+7.5) -110
  • Pelicans (+1) -110

You can obviously just refer to Friday’s NBA predictions for my favorite upsets, but anytime I vouch for a pick, it’s good to be able to defend it.

Starting with OKC, I don’t really get why bettors are supposed to be scared of the Pistons here.

Yeah, Detroit is at home, and they’re starting to get healthy, but that’s where the excitement stops. The Pistons are still competing for the worst record in the NBA, they’re 9-16 at home, and they’re riding a three-game skid.

OKC isn’t exactly safe. They’re reeling behind eight straight losses, after all. But I definitely like them against the spread here, and when you get a bad team versus a bad team, the pricing gap should be a lot closer.

The price will be nice there, but be sure to shop around for the best moneyline you can get your hands on.

New Orleans may not last long as an underdog. They’re just a +1 dog at as I write this, and it’s possible that changes in their favor.

Bettors can still potentially get value with the Pelicans, though, as Zion Williamson is playing out of his mind right now.

It’s helped New Orleans win three of their last four games.

Both of these teams play fast and don’t defend, but the most unstoppable force in this game is easily Zion. I think he wrecks again here, and that should equate to a big road win for the Pels, who still have faint playoff hopes.

Best NBA Bets for Friday, April 16th

  • Pacers (+10.5) -110
  • Hornets (+12.5) -110
  • Hornets vs. Nets Over 227 (-110)
  • Nuggets (-7.5) -110
  • Blazers to Win (-110)
  • Mavericks (-4.5) -110

There is a lot to like on Friday. The point spreads are simply too thick in a lot of spots. Perhaps that could play into Indiana and Charlotte also becoming viable NBA upset picks, but I’d rather just take advantage of these thick spreads.

Indiana is still fighting for a playoff spot, so while a road trip to Utah isn’t fun, I think they could at least keep it close. Utah isn’t 100% at the moment, either, so there is potentially a lot of value baked into this bet.

The Nets are still without James Harden, too. Charlotte is even more banged up, but they’re another team playing for the playoffs, and Brooklyn isn’t known for their defense.

Brooklyn also just lost some size and depth with the abrupt retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge.

I expect that line to move, so I’d hop on the Hornets at +12.5 pretty quickly.

Denver at -7.5 feels too light against a really bad Rockets team that is dead last (18-37) against the spread this year. New York can slow games down and defend, but I’m not into them at +4.5 against a better Mavs team on the road, either.

Portland also stands out as a nice bet in a true pick’em. They’ve lost two in a row and need to stop the bleeding. Now that they’re back to 100%, I think they’re a terrific buy-low team on this slate.

As you can see, I like a lot of bets for tonight. Pick and choose which ones you like the most, and be sure to find the best prices available online. Good luck!

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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