NBA Betting Picks for Friday 11/17/23: Best Bets Reside In the West

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

The 82-game NBA regular season offers us a wide variety of betting options, including point spreads, moneylines, and totals. The Association features 1,230 regular season games, which can make sifting through the odds an overwhelming task.

However, various advanced statistics can help narrow the choices. numberFire's NBA power rankings and daily projections paired with advanced stats from the NBA can help give the inside track to winning big.

While utilizing some of the mentioned tools, which NBA odds from FanDuel Sportsbook look like the best bets today?

Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.

NBA Best Bets

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers

Rockets +7.5 (-114)

Following Friday's slate of games, we will be nearing the finish line for the In-Season Tournament's group play. Only 23 games remain after tonight's contests wrap up. Some teams -- such as the Los Angeles Clippers -- will have one game remaining in the group play. It may be too late for the Clippers to advance to the knockout stages as they hold an 0-2 record in group play while sitting in last place of the Western Conference's Group B.

Los Angeles will play host to the Houston Rockets, who are 1-0 in group play. Houston's success goes beyond just the In-Season Tournament, though. The Rockets boast the league's second-best winning streak with six consecutive wins. Even more impressive, they've been underdogs in four of six games. Suddenly, Houston has become a bettor's best friend with a 5-0-1 record against the spread (ATS) during the winning streak.

As the point spread currently stands, Friday will be the Rockets' biggest underdog role yet. They were only 5.0-point 'dogs in their previous matchup with the Denver Nuggets, and Houston's largest underdog role of the season was 7.0 points against the Golden State Warriors. Can the Rockets cover yet another game in the City of Angels?

I'm not going to ignore both teams' records. Houston is 6-3 while LA is 3-7. Maybe the Rockets deserve more respect, and that's coming from one of their biggest naysayers. The Clippers -- per this line -- seem to have plenty of respect after acquiring James Harden, who will face one of his many former teams tonight. The prospect of Harden, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard is exciting, but it hasn't produced results so far.

In fact, Harden has a -22.3 net rating in five games with Los Angeles. The Clippers have also reached 110 points only once over their last five games. Most importantly, LA just can't seem to get into the win column and is riding a six-game losing streak.

Still, the Clippers are earning respect as FanDuel's NBA odds have them with the fifth-shortest odds to win the Western Conference (+1200). Meanwhile, Houston is beginning to look like a potential playoff squad with shortened +176 odds to earn a postseason berth.

The Rockets have the 12th-best mark in offensive rating while Los Angeles ranks 13th. Houston could have the advantage on the defensive end as they rank 4th in defensive rating compared to the Clippers sitting in 14th.

LA's best scoring stats are their shooting splits as they rank ninth in effective field goal percentage (eFG%), but the Rockets are fifth in opponent eFG%. Harden could also be a problem on defense as he holds a 127.5 defensive rating with the Clippers. Houston's Jalen Green -- who holds a team-best 118.0 offensive rating -- could be poised for a big game.

The Rockets also average the second-fewest turnovers (12.7), which will be key against a Clips team that averages the most steals in the NBA (10.0).

Houston may fall short of their seventh consecutive win, but I like their chances of covering the spread.

Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans

Under 224.5 (-108)

The Denver Nuggets -- who are tied for a league-best 9-2 record -- are 2-0 in the group stage. They could have a tough challenge against the New Orleans Pelicans, who are 1-1 in the group stage and looking to catch the Nuggets in the standings.

New Orleans is 1-5 over their last six games while Denver is 5-1 in their previous six. The Nuggets are clearly the better team as they are among the top six in offensive and defensive ratings; the Pelicans rank in the bottom half in both categories. The Denver moneyline sits at -215, which isn't much of a surprise considering how these teams are trending.

However, I'm targeting the total instead of the moneyline or spread. The over/under is 224.5, and the under looks favorable when looking at recent contests.

The under is 8-3 in Nuggets games this season. Between having the sixth-best defense and third-slowest pace, Denver has found itself in plenty of low-scoring games.

New Orleans is averaging 111.1 points per game (PPG) -- the 12th-worst mark. They also have the eighth-worst eFG%, and despite having the league's eighth-quickest pace, the Pelicans average only 88.6 field goal attempts per game (18th). They found themselves in a pair of track meets over their last two games against the Dallas Mavericks, who have the second-best offensive rating and fourth-quickest pace. Those were the only two games over New Orleans' previous six contests in which they reached 120 points.

Denver will likely look to slow the game down, which will limit the Pelicans' field goal attempts. With its inefficient shooting, New Orleans could struggle to score once again.

The Nuggets also have exceptional defenders who could slow the Pels' top offensive players. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has a 106.7 defensive rating that could give Jordan Hawkins headaches -- the rookie has New Orleans' fourth-best offensive rating (111.4). Aaron Gordon (108.9 defensive rating) could also fare well against Zion Williamson, who is averaging 21.3 PPG.

Ultimately, Denver could dictate the pace of this game, and their strong defense will likely frustrate the Pelicans. Give me the under.

Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz

Suns -5.5 (-110)

ESPN's Friday night doubleheader wraps up with the Phoenix Suns taking on the Utah Jazz.

Prior to Wednesday's matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, it appeared the Suns' big three would finally make their debut. That was not the case as Bradley Beal was a late scratch with back spasms.

Beal will likely be out once again for Friday's game as his status is doubtful, but Devin Booker is expected to play in his second consecutive game. Following the Suns' dominant 133-115 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, backing Phoenix ATS could be the wise pick.

The Suns' explosive offense was on full show in their previous game. Keep in mind Minnesota touts the Association's best defensive rating; that didn't slow Phoenix, for they totaled 133 points with a blistering 60.0% field goal percentage (FG%).

Utah has the fifth-worst defensive rating. The Suns' offense could stay hot with Kevin Durant and Booker in the lineup. Durant (30.1 PPG) and Booker (31.3 PPG) are both averaging more than 30.0 PPG. Plus, both players tout excellent offensive ratings (Durant 119.5; Booker 120.9).

As their poor defensive rating suggests, the Jazz lack quality wing defenders. Jordan Clarkson (117.5 defensive rating) or Ochai Agbaji (122.1) could guard Booker. Either way, it's not looking good. John Collins will likely guard Durant, and he has a concerning 119.9 defensive rating. Booker and Durant could dominate once again.

Ultimately, I like Phoenix to cover the spread with another comfortable win. The Jazz like to run, sporting the seventh-quickest pace; their formula has been to lean into their offense and try to win high-scoring games. That will likely fail against the Suns. Utah also averages the eighth-most three-point attempts per game while Phoenix allows the fifth-fewest three-point attempts per game.

FanDuel Sportsbook is offering a Same Game Parlay (SGP) 30% Profit Boost for the NBA In-Season Tournament. The Suns covering paired with big games from Booker and Durant could make for a nice SGP.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.