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While the NBA deals with the fallout from #RestGate, bettors are turning their attention to a loaded Friday, which features seven of the eight best teams by winning percentage and four of the five best against the spread.
Each week, we'll highlight some of the top betting angles and plays on the schedule. Here are some tips heading into this weekend's slate:
Note: Lines for Saturday and beyond are released later in the week.
Toronto Raptors (-2.5, 234.5) at New Orleans Pelicans
If the Raptors ever wanted to set their franchise scoring record, Friday might be the night. New Orleans has allowed the most points per game (124.3) and the most per 100 possessions (115.4), while Toronto leads the league in true shooting percentage (59.8) and is among the top five in free-throw percentage, 3-point percentage, and 3-pointers made.
These teams went screaming over the total on opening night (in a game that went to overtime), and this game's total is appropriately 0.5 points more than the regulation score was that night. Totals of at least 234 are 8-2 to the over this season, so this looks like another barn burner - if only because of the Raps' offense.
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers (-8, 216)
The Heat have been among the surprise breakout teams this year, led by free-agent acquisition Jimmy Butler, but they're getting no love from oddsmakers here as massive road 'dogs. Sharps don't mind, betting them down from +8.5 to +8 despite the big gap in rest.
The Lakers haven't played since Tuesday, while Miami beat Phoenix on Thursday. Books may be overrating rest this year: teams on the second night of a back-to-back have gone 14-4-1 ATS versus rested teams, including 9-2 ATS on the road and 8-3-1 ATS as a 'dog. The Heat have been rolling through teams this year despite little rest, so Friday looks like a value spot for one of the league's hottest clubs.
Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs
Boston's defense has been among the stingiest in the league inside the arc but it's been pedestrian at stopping perimeter shots. The Spurs, meanwhile, have generated the lowest percentage of their points from 3-point range of any team in the league. They've instead relied on the inside scoring of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozen.
Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
This game is an under waiting to happen. The Magic have gone 7-1 to the under this season with an average total of 208.7 points and have seen the six lowest totals of the season - five of which went under. The Pacers have gone 4-2 to the under when the total is below 220.
Indiana's best chance of scoring will come from emerging big Domantas Sabonis, though Orlando's defense has allowed the third-fewest points in the paint (42 per game) in the NBA. The Magic's offense, meanwhile, is horrific outside of avoiding turnovers, which will limit easy opportunities for the Pacers.
Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns
If you haven't been riding the Suns' betting train, it's not too late to hop on. Phoenix opened the year 7-0 ATS before a loss to red-hot Miami, but the team is still among the best bets in the league, largely because years of horrible Suns basketball are distracting bettors from how well they're playing now. (Think of the Sacramento Kings last season.)
The Nets are suffering from the opposite issue: the glitz of Kyrie Irving's early-season heroics is distracting bettors from how flawed this team is. Brooklyn is among the most efficient scoring teams but is held back by sloppy ball control and subpar defense. The Nets also feast on the boards, but they could lose that advantage if DeAndre Jordan doesn't suit up due to injury.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.