NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | April 16

Bryan Zarpentine pic
Bryan Zarpentine
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

The last day of the NBA regular season didn’t disappoint, and now it’s time for the play-in tournament. The Western Conference is up on Tuesday and the USA Legal Betting team is ready for it. Even with just two games on the schedule, we have three bets we feel good about. Of course, now that the playoffs are here, you’ll want to check out sportsbook promos to find odds boosts and bonus deals. In the meantime, here are the three picks we’re targeting for Tuesday’s games.

Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Best Bet:

Lakes ML | -110 at FanDuel

These teams met on Sunday in a game the Lakers dominated, so why would we doubt them on Tuesday? They led by 17 points at halftime and cruised to an easy win in a game that could have allowed the Pelicans to avoid the play-in tournament altogether. New Orleans had a disappointing 16-13 record straight-up as a home favorite his season. That was one of the worst records in the NBA and by far the worst of any team in the playoffs. That makes it hard to trust them in a big spot.

Don’t forget that the Pelicans are still a young team while Los Angeles has a huge edge in experience. Beyond LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers went from the play-in tournament to the Western Conference Finals last year. A similar run this season can’t be ruled out, and it starts with winning on Tuesday. It’s hard to envision LeBron and company following up Sunday’s performance with an absolute dud, so we’ll lean toward the Lakers in a tossup.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Lakers ML | -110 at FanDuel

Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Best Bet:

Over 224.5 | -110 at BetMGM

On top of the Lakers getting a win, we expect a high-scoring game on Tuesday. Hometown fans in New Orleans using Louisiana sportsbooks may want to hedge their bets by taking the over rather than the Pelicans. New Orleans didn’t look strong defensively on Sunday, which allowed the over/under of 231.5 to go over the point total.

In their last eight games, the Lakers have scored at least 116 points. That streak doesn’t look likely to end with the way the Pelicans defended on Sunday. New Orleans also got Brandon Ingram back from injury on Sunday. His presence should help New Orleans put up a high number and push the total well over 224.5 points, even if it’s not enough to give the Pelicans a win.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Over 224.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Golden State Warriors vs Sacramento Kings Best Bet:

Kings +2.5 | -112 at BetRivers

Three of the four games between these teams this season were decided by a single point. Even if the Warriors won three of those four games, there is still value in leaning toward the Kings with most betting websites seeeing them as favorites, including BetRivers which gives them 2.5 points. It’s also worth mentioning that three of those four games were played in October or November, so they’re not quite as relevant as you might think. Nevertheless, the Kings as a home underdog have more value in what figures to be a close game that could come down to the wire.

Of course, these teams met in the First Round of the playoffs last year with Golden State winning the series in seven games. That was Sacramento’s first playoff series since 2006, and after that experience, the Kings might be ready to take the next step against the aging Warriors. Down the stretch, Golden State was 1-5 against the spread in its final six games, which is a red flag. Despite playing on the road for much of the season, the Kings should get enough of a lift from the home crowd in this must-win game, so we’ll take our chances with Sacramento.

Kings +2.5 | -112 at BetRivers

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