This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Now that the All-Star break has finally passed, the NBA brings a packed schedule consisting of nine games Friday. It's been awhile, so let's recap how we faired with our wagering recommendations two weeks ago. Even though we didn't hit the parlay, we successfully predicted all four player props and the against-the-spread pick to result in a profitable evening.
Let's try to carry over that success with some more appealing bets to consider.
Dario Saric, 13.5 Points: Over (-106)
It took a while, but the Timberwolves finally made the switch to Saric at power forward over Taj Gibson. Saric is a much better offensive player, so the added playing time should significantly increase his upside. In two games since taking over as the starter, Saric has scored 19 and 15 points, respectively, and he's averaging 16.4 points across his last five games. This number is low enough to leave him with a favorable chance of hitting the over.
Kemba Walker, 3.5 Made Three-Pointers: Over (+112)
Walker hasn't been overly efficient this season, shooting 36.2 percent from behind the arc, which is his lowest mark since the 2014-15 season. However, he's averaging a whopping 9.1 attempts per contest. That's helped him hit at least four triples in six of his last seven games. He drained six of them the last time these two teams met, which is not all that surprising since the Wizards play at the eighth-fastest pace (102.5 possessions per game) and allow the highest three-point percentage (37.6 percent) in the league. With these odds, the over is a risk worth taking.
Jonathan Isaac, 5.5 Rebounds: Over (-128)
Isaac has been gobbling up rebounds of late, with an average of 7.1 boards across his last 14 games. He averaged 29 minutes a game during that stretch, which is up three minutes per contest compared to his mark over the entire season. Lauri Markkanen has been an excellent rebounder for the Bulls, but they don't have much talent at center with Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio atop the depth chart. It's no coincidence that the Bulls allow the fifth-most rebounds per game (46.5) in the league.
Marco Belinelli, 11.5 Points: Under (-130)
It appears the Spurs' backcourt will receive a significant boost Friday with Derrick White (heel) listed as probable. Their overall depth chart is as healthy as it's been in a while with LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) the only other player on the injury report. He's listed as probable, though, so there might not be many scoring opportunities for Belinelli. Considering he's already scored 11 points or fewer in six of his last seven games, this is a great spot to roll with the under.
Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks: DEN (-4)
On the surface, taking the Mavericks and the points looks like a good play. The Nuggets are just 10-18 against the spread on the road while the Mavericks are 19-9-1 against the spread at home. However, I'm leaning towards taking the Nuggets to cover because of their improved health. Trey Lyles (hamstring) won't play, but Gary Harris (groin) is set to make his return after missing their last seven games. Isaiah Thomas even made his long-awaited return in their last contest before the break. The Mavericks' depth chart is thin after wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline, so I think the Nuggets cover.
Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets: Over 232; and New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers: Under 222 (+264)
This is a significant total for the matchup between the Wizards and Hornets. And it should be, considering the pace at which the Wizards play and the fact that they allow the second-most points per game (116.9) in the league. They've hit the over in seven straight games, three of which had totals of at least 229 points. The last time these two teams met, they combined for 256 points in a game that didn't even go to overtime. Take the over.
The Pelicans are a mess. Anthony Davis is still playing, but he's logged 25 minutes or fewer in three of four games since the trade deadline and should continue to see a reduced workload. There have also been reports that they will limit Jrue Holiday's playing time. Even Nikola Mirotic is gone after being traded to the Bucks. The Pacers allow the fewest points per game (102.9) and are missing their best offensive player in Victor Oladipo (knee), which has contributed to them hitting the under in eight of their last nine games.