NBA Predictions and Best Bets – April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021 8:02 am PDT

The big story in the world of sports betting yesterday was the return of baseball. Now that bettors are coming down from that high, they can start to prioritize which bets stand out across all sports.

Don’t get me wrong, the NBA has been insanely volatile lately, and getting a different league to bet on is refreshing. But there is money to be made here.

Take a quick look at Friday’s NBA schedule before I point out the best bets for April 2nd.

  • Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics
  • Dallas Mavericks vs. New York Knicks
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Atlanta Hawks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

This is a pretty hefty schedule, and it also should be tons of fun. The action gets started with a shootout between the Dubs and Raptors, while the defensively inept Kings close things out against the Lake Show.

Are you wondering how to bet on this slate? Join me for Friday’s NBA predictions and top betting picks, and hit up the best NBA mobile betting apps to place some bets when you’re ready.

Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions

  • Warriors to beat Raptors
  • Predicted total: 225-230

I don’t know what to make of the Raptors. My guess is not playing true games all year is taking its toll, whole trading away some key contributors can’t help.

Whatever the case, Toronto doesn’t look like a playoff team. They’re back in another rut with four straight losses, and they’re just 1-9 over their last 10 games.

I don’t see an end here, while the Dubs have a much better shot at making the playoffs. Fueled by Stephen Curry’s return, Golden State feels like the far easier team to trust here.

The best bet might just be the Over, though. Golden State can pour it on thick offensively and run at the second-fastest pace in the league.

Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics Predictions

  • Celtics to beat Rockets
  • Predicted total: 220-225

Another team that is an utter mess is Houston. They bungled the James Harden trade, but they did luck into some really nice young players, almost on accident.

One of them is KPJ, who has flashed elite ability.

Kevin Porter Jr. is a gem worth molding for the rest of the year, but that shouldn’t translate into a whole lot of winning. You saw that during Houston’s unthinkable 20-game skid, but they’re back at it, losing eight of their last 10.

Boston is the far easier team to get behind. They’re obviously flat out better, and they’re at home (13-9 at the TD Garden) and are fighting for their playoff lives.

I love the Celtics here, and considering Houston has been literally the worst team ATS all year (15-32), I have little trouble hopping on board with Boston to cover, either.

Dallas Mavericks vs. New York Knicks Predictions

  • Mavericks to beat Knicks
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This is an emotional spot for Kristaps Porzingis, who returns home to Madison Square Garden to face the team that drafted him.

This venue is notorious for legendary performances, too, so cue the epic Luka Doncic outing.

Regardless of those narratives, Dallas is the better team here. The Knicks slow things down, but when you look at efficiency, the Mavs are a top-20 unit, and New York is 23rd.

I’ll trust the better offensive team with more star power here, but New York’s slow play and stingy defense do prop up the Under.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers Predictions

  • Pacers to beat Hornets
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The only bet I really love here is the Over. I tentatively like Indy, just because they have better size, are at home, and didn’t play on Thursday.

Charlotte could come in a bit worn down, but the one thing we can hang out hat on is that both of these teams are top-15 in pace.

As Malcolm Brogdon can slow things down up front, Indiana is better defensively, and Myles Turner can at least swat some shots.

Charlotte is the better long-term team to go with if you’re betting on who makes the NBA playoffs, but for Friday, I like the Pacers and the Over.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Grizzlies to beat Timberwolves
  • Predicted total: 220-225

You can make money betting against the Timberwolves these days. Minnesota cannot stop anyone with their 27th ranked defense, and they’re just inconsistent overall.

They’re young, but betting on them rarely works out, as seen by their league-worst 12-36 record. Minnesota did win their last game, but that makes them an increasingly poor bet moving forward based on their performance on the year.

Enter Memphis, who are still competing for a playoff spot.

The Grizzlies are a much better, more balanced team, and they also happen to rank 7th in defensive efficiency. I trust them here, while Minnesota’s poor defense and pace (3rd) also make the Over stand out.

Atlanta Hawks vs. New Orleans Pelicans Predictions

  • Hawks to beat Pelicans
  • Predicted total: 230-235

I don’t want to mess with who wins this one. Both of these teams will be a bit bogged down after playing last night, but it’s just a close call.

I favor Atlanta just because they have a little more defensive ability on the perimeter, and Clint Capela can cause chaos inside as a shot-blocker.

That said, the only real bet here is the Over. New Orleans is the third-worst defense in the NBA, and both of these teams are capable of firing off on offense. The Hawks are a fine try, but the Over is very alluring here.

Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz Predictions

  • Jazz to beat Bulls
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The Jazz showed they were a tough group, as they still played in their last game despite a scary emergency landing.

Utah played that game without Donovan Mitchell, but he was out for personal reasons and could be back. It’s tough not to love Utah with or without him, though.

The Jazz own the league’s best record at 36-11, have ripped off seven straight wins, and are an amazing 20-2 at home.

And they’re about to lose to Chicago? I think not, as the Bulls are also severely banged up.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns Predictions

  • Suns to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 210-215

This should be one of the easier games to peg. The Suns have one of the stingiest defenses in the league, they’re at home (17-8), and they’re still pressing for the best record in the NBA.

There isn’t much reason to bet against them here, while OKC has banished veteran big man Al Horford from the rotation.

They’re also ailing with a slew of injuries to a young team that is bound to unravel before long.

Phoenix is the bet across the board, and I’m not anticipating a bunch of points in this one.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers Predictions

  • Bucks to beat Blazers
  • Predicted total: 220-225

This one should be a barn burner. Portland has been rock solid on the year, and they’re only now starting to get healthier.

C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic are back, and the Blazers acquired Norm Powell in an underrated trade. They’re on a nice four-game run and are 7-3 over their last 10 games, as well.

Portland’s defense makes them a tough sell here, especially since the Bucks are so dominant offensively. I do like the Blazers ATS, however, and this game should be very high-scoring.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings Predictions

  • Kings to beat Lakers
  • Predicted total: 230-235

The last game of the night is another one that should feature plenty of scoring. The Lakers remain a tough sell without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Sacramento just can’t stop anyone on defense.

L.A. has gone just 5-5 over their last 10, but due to the Kings’ awful defense, they’re in play in every capacity here.

I still prefer the Kings, though. They’re at home, L.A. is watered down, and the Kings are 7-3 over their last 10 games. Give me the Kings and the Over.

Best NBA Bets for Friday, April 2nd

Timberwolves (+7.5)-110
Blazers (+5)-110
Lakers vs. Kings Over 222-110

Numerous bets stand out on this slate, and if you’re game for a certain team or over/under, just go off what I jotted down above.

My advice still stands, but if I’m handing out my favorite NBA bets, I’m not going to tell you to hammer the Over on a 239 game total. I still like it, but it’s not an elite bet.

These three are. Minnesota isn’t winning games, and they stink defensively. They’re probably going to lose but by eight points? Nah.

Portland is also likely to fall to the Bucks, but they’re 14-9 at home, in really good form, and they’ve stepped up (11-8 ATS) when priced as the underdog.

This Lakers vs. Kings total is also way too low. Yes, the Lakers aren’t as reliable without their two best players, but this Sacramento defense really is that bad. I love the Over there, as well.

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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