NBA Predictions and Top Picks – February 19, 2021

| February 18, 2021 2:28 pm PDT

I never can get over the weird way the NBA does their scheduling. They give you all of the games on Wednesday, almost no games on Thursday, and then another crazy slate on Friday.

It’s wild, but it sure is good for bettors.

Volume isn’t a bad thing, so long as you don’t stretch yourself too thin. Let’s find out what should be priority, but first, take a quick look at who is playing on Friday.

  • Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Orlando Magic
  • Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
  • Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Detroit Pistons vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers

There are a lot of games on Friday’s NBA schedule, but there’s also a lot of good games.

I wouldn’t say it gets started with the early contests, as Denver should feast on the Cavs, and the Magic seem to make every game less watchable.

However, the Bulls and 76ers could give way to a pretty exciting clash, while the Pelicans, Bucks, and Mavs games could be explosive affairs.

The night is capped by a showdown between the Jazz and Clippers, and that one only intensifies if the Clips can get Kawhi Leonard back on the court.

Not sure how to bet on the NBA for these games? Join me as I break the slate down with my NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions

  • Nuggets to beat Cavaliers
  • Predicted total: 210-215

Nikola Jokic is dealing with a sprained thumb, but you wouldn’t know it. The guy is straight-up feasting these days.

Just look at what he did against the Celtics two games ago.

Cleveland has benched Andre Drummond as they prepare to trade him, and the Cavs weren’t going to contain Jokic even with him.

The Joker will have his way, and there’s little reason to think Denver loses this one.

Golden State Warriors vs. Orlando Magic Predictions

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

The Dubs have been an easy team to fall in love with, and Stephen Curry reminded us all as to why when he led a furious comeback against Miami on Wednesday night.

Golden State still has defensive issues, but they’re a bit too explosive for the Magic.

Nikola Vucevic could lay waste to the Dubs’ weak interior defense, but he’s about all Orlando has these days. I think Golden State’s defensive problems keep the door open for the Over to hit, but the best bet is a Warriors win.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics Predictions

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

The Celtics are struggling right now. They’re just 4-6 over their last 10 games, and they just allowed this same Hawks team to drop 122 points on them in their last game.

Atlanta hasn’t been much better, but look what Trae Young did against them.

It’s clear that Boston misses Marcus Smart’s gritty defense, so it’s anyone’s guess as to how they respond.

Boston is still 7-5 at the TD Garden, and their talent demands they be better than this. The best play is the Over or the Hawks (+4.5), but I do think the Celtics can bounce back and get a win at home.

Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers Predictions

  • 76ers to beat Bulls
  • Predicted total: 225-230

The 76ers are one of the teams bettors need to track going into Friday, as they have seen both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid take breaks in the last week.

Philly also continues to be without a quality role player in Shake Milton.

The Sixers are still 19-10 (12-2 at home), though, and they should be able to dispatch the Bulls.

That said, Chicago can be really pesky.

The Bulls are heating up with two straight wins, and most may not realize that they’re the second-best team in the league (16-11) against the spread this year.

Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans Predictions

  • Suns to beat Pelicans
  • Predicted total: 220-225

A clash of styles drops down in New Orleans on Friday night, where the up-tempo Pelicans host the slower Suns.

These teams are headed in very different directions, with the defensive-minded Suns going 8-2 over their last 10 games and New Orleans going just 5-5 during that span.

New Orleans has been a very good matchup for the opposition lately. Just take a look at the points they’re giving up over their last five games.

Opponent Points Allowed Result
Blazers 126 Loss
Grizzlies 113 Won
Pistons 123 Loss
Mavericks 143 Loss
Bulls 129 Loss

Earlier in the year, New Orleans was operating at a slower pace, and it helped their defensive numbers, but that’s out the window now.

The Pels have been a bit looser lately, but they now rank 28th in defensive efficiency.

The Suns are on the road, but the matchup is sublime. Oh, and Pels center Steven Adams may not be on hand for this one.

Everything’s coming up Phoenix on Friday.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Predictions

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

Luka Doncic faces his former assistant coach when Dallas heads to Houston on Friday. It’s a nice little matchup between Doncic and John Wall, too.

These teams split the first two meetings, but one was when James Harden was still in town. The other was a Dallas loss where Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play.

I’d say the previous data is a bit of a wash, so I’ll side with Dallas, who simply looks like the better team right now. Houston, meanwhile, has lost seven in a row.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks Predictions

  • Bucks to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 225-230

OKC will hope lightning strikes twice when they visit the Bucks on Friday, as some will remember they upset Milwaukee a few games ago.

The Thunder continue to be an impressively tough out, as they’ve played a lot of good teams very well this year. They’re still just 11-17, of course, and the Bucks are 9-3 on their home court.

OKC isn’t a bad ATS bet, as they’re 15-12 against the spread as the underdog this year, but I doubt Milwaukee loses to them again.

Detroit Pistons vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Grizzlies to beat Pistons
  • Predicted total: 215-220

The Pistons are finally trying to trade away Blake Griffin, which takes away another scorer and playmaker but clears the path for their future.

It also puts a lot of pressure on Jerami Grant, who went off for a career-high 43 points in Detroit’s last contest.

The Pistons still lost, which is about all you need to say.

Memphis isn’t some world-beater, but they have more talent and are at home. They feel like the easy pick here, but this 8-point spread at BetOnline feels awfully bloated.

Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions

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

Toronto is one of the few teams that hit the floor on Thursday, so you’ll want to keep tabs on any guys that could be rested.

Kyle Lowry is obviously the main one, as he’s been banged up with an ankle issue. That could make this a trap game, especially with Karl-Anthony Towns finally getting it going in Minnesota’s last game.

Not much else about the Timberwolves excites you, but they’re at home, and Toronto could be both winded and at less than 100%.

Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers Predictions

  • Jazz to beat Clippers
  • Predicted total: 215-220

Speaking of teams that may not be at 100%, the Clippers prepare to host the Jazz, and it’s unclear which guys they’ll have on the floor.

Obviously, they morph into a pretty interesting value bet if Kawhi Leonard and others are back in the saddle, but until then, it’s tough to get excited.

Utah also happens to own the best record in the NBA.

The Jazz have ripped off an insane nine wins in a row, and they’re 24-5 at the moment. They’ve been a bit more human on the road, but the difference is negligible.

The wild part is they’ve been doing this with Mike Conley sidelined. He’ll be another name to monitor here, but I don’t see much reason to bet against Utah right now.

Best NBA Bets for Friday, February 19th

  • Warriors vs. Magic Over 220.5 (-110)
  • Hawks (+4.5) -110
  • Pistons (+8) -110
  • Suns (-1.5) -110

Roughly half of the games have odds for tonight’s slate, so there is already a lot to like. The NBA bets above are my favorites, and you can always roll with my NBA predictions to bet on any other games.

I love the Over for the Warriors game, though. The Warriors play at the second-fastest pace in the NBA, and they don’t have anyone to stop Vuc. I see plenty of points to be had here.

Boston should get a home win over the Hawks, but they didn’t the last time they tried. I expect a close game, one way or another.

Detroit probably loses at Memphis but by eight points? The Pistons lack reliable talent, but they’re still 15-12-1 ATS on the year. They’ll put up a fight.

Phoenix is a steal here. They’re on the road, and Zion Williamson has been beasting out, but the edge lies with the more cohesive team that actually plays defense.

Hopefully, these NBA picks help you on Friday. If you’re ready to bet now, use the best mobile betting NBA apps to do so.

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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