NBA Expert Picks, Predictions and Best Bets for Friday, November 17th (Magic, Rockets Must Bets as Underdogs)

Nov 2, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) dunks the ball
Nov 2, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) dunks the ball / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Friday's NBA slate features 11 games on the docket in another edition of the In-Season Touranment.

I'm eyeing a pair of underdogs in the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets on Friday's slate as well as a player prop on Jalen Johnson in hopes of cashing on some of the bright young talents in the league. Paolo Banchero hit a game winner over Alex Caruso to knock off the Bulls on Wednesday, can he do it again on the road with the same point spread?

I got you covered in one of three best bets, keep reading to find out how I'm betting it!

You also can place any of these bets on Caesars Sportsbook through the link below and get your first bet matched up to $1,000! All you have to do is click below!

NBA Best Bets for Friday, November 17th

  • Magic (+2.5) vs. Bulls
  • Rockets (+8.5) vs. Clippers
  • Jalen Johnson OVER 11.5 Points

Magic vs. Bulls Prediction and Pick

Orlando nearly blew another fourth quarter lead, leading by eight with less than 90 seconds left, but Banchero lifted the team up with a game winning jumper.

We are getting nearly the same number on Friday in the rematch against a Bulls team that looks to be on the brink of blowing up with Zach Lavine appearing in early trade rumors. After closing as a two-and-a-half point underdog on Wednesday, and numbers are shifting less than a point after a fairly convincing win on the road.

Again, don't look at the collapse, look at the Magic top five defense in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions that built up a double digit half lead on the road. The Magic offense continues to lack floor spacers, but the Bulls are 22nd in net rating, while the Magic are 11th with a positive net rating.

I have to take the rising Magic to cover the one possession spread against a spiraling team.

PICK: Magic +2

Rockets vs. Clippers Prediction and Pick

We need to have a conversation with the Clippers, who continue to be priced like a team based on its theoretical upside, not it's results through five games in the James Harden era.

Since acquiring Harden from the Sixers, the Clippers have the second worst net rating in the league across the five games while checking in 25th in points allowed per 100 possessions.

This has been a terrible start for the Clippers, and it may not get better against a Rockets team that looks legit across its first nine games under first year head coach Ime Udoka, sixth in net rating this season, anchored by its top five defense.

Maybe the Clippers get off the mat after a terrible start and beat an upstart Rockets team, but we need to temper our expectations and trust the team that has looked the part thus far with a reliable defense and far more chemistry. Give me the Rockets at a big number.

PICK: Rockets +7

Jalen Johnson OVER 11.5 Points

Johnson has taken a much bigger role in place of the now Utah Jazz starter John Collins, and his numbers are only going up.

The Duke product has scored 11 or more in nine of 11 games this season, going over it eight of them. While the Sixers bolster a ton of talent on the roster, the defense is still figuring it out, 11th in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions.

This game should feature plenty of possessions as the Hawks check in third in pace this season and the Sixers aren't far behind in 11th. Both teams are going to run and gun and I'll bank on points from the emerging forward.

PICK: Jalen Johnson OVER 11.5 Points

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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