NBA Best Bets April 4: Where Is the Motivation Down Stretch?

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The NBA was dark Monday, opposite college basketball’s San Diego State-UConn national championship game, but returns on the final Tuesday of the regular season with 13 games. 

Here are our three top NBA picks for tonight! 

Picks Summary

  • Bulls ML (-140)
  • Hornets +14.5(-110)
  • Pelicans ML (-140)

NBA Pick: Bulls ML (-140) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bulls ML (-140)
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Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets 

Tuesday, April 04, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at Spectrum Center 

Disappointing Season

The Hornets are huge disappointments yet again and are likely playing their final few games with Michael Jordan as the team’s majority owner. The GOAT is in serious talks to sell a huge stake of the franchise to a group that includes Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall.

Should a sale go through, Jordan would still hold a minority stake. The Hornets have reached the postseason only twice and are in the midst of a six-year drought under Jordan. Thus, maybe an ownership change isn’t the worst thing but the NBA wants to keep MJ involved somehow. 

Resting Players

These teams are completing a baseball-type series and Toronto just won in Charlotte 128-108 on Sunday so why might things be different here?

For one, the Raptors clinched a spot in the play-in tournament, so they might decide it’s smarter to rest some key players ahead of next week to avoid injury. OG Anunoby hurt his ankle in Sunday’s win so I’d expect him to take a seat at a minimum. Gary Trent Jr. has missed the past few and likely sits again. 

The Pick

Second, it’s just not that easy to sweep one of these back-to-back series both on the road.

Yes, the Hornets have largely quit and P.J. Washington (right ankle sprain), Kelly Oubre (right shoulder sprain), Gordon Hayward (left thumb sprain) and Dennis Smith Jr. (right great toe sprain) all missed Sunday but Smith Jr. might play in the penultimate game of the season.  

This is a lot of points on the NBA odds board for a home team to be getting at the top Louisiana sports betting sites. The Raptors might be looking ahead to Wednesday in Boston.  

  • Raptors are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games. 
  • Raptors are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. 
  • Hornets are 4-1 ATS in the past 5 home meetings.  

NBA Pick: Hornets +14.5(-110) BetOnline

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Hornets +14.5 (-110)
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Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls 

Tuesday, April 04, 2023 – 08:00 PM EDT at United Center 

Win and Play-In?

Huge game in the Eastern Conference playoff race with Atlanta sitting eighth and Chicago 10th and about to clinch at worst the final spot. The Bulls are playing some of their best basketball of the season, winning seven of 10.

On Tuesday in a 128-107 win over Memphis, the Bulls outscored the Western Conference’s second-place team 75-39 over the final two quarters after trailing by 23. Chicago tied a franchise low with just three turnovers. 

DeMar DeRozan (31 points) and Zach LaVine (36 points) both recorded their 20th game this season with 30-plus points, becoming the first Bulls duo to ever both tally 20 such games in a single season.

Tricky History

How different might things have been years ago with a three-pointer? Coby White needs to make one three-pointer to pass Michael Jordan (555) for fifth all-time in Bulls history. That’s obviously laughable. 

Chicago lost the first meeting this season in Atlanta on an AJ Griffin buzzer-beater but has won the past two. DeRozan has led the Bulls in the scoring in all three matchups this year, 29.3 ppg. LaVine has scored at least 20 points in his last nine games vs. the Hawks. The Bulls have not lost to the Hawks at home since Dec. 23, 2020. 

The Pick

Atlanta played without starting forward DeAndre Hunter on Sunday but managed to beat Dallas 132-130 in OT. Trae Young made two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining. Hunter is expected to remain out and Hawks coach Quin Snyder said Hunter is “a unique player and very important … for his ability to take a defensive matchup.”   

The Hawks are 21-3 this season when holding an opponent under 30% shooting from deep. Leading scorer Trae Young is questionable Tuesday with a non-COVID illness.  

  • Hawks are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games. 
  • Hawks are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game. 
  • Bulls are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall. 

NBA Pick: Bulls ML (-140) at BetOnline

Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans 

Tuesday, April 04, 2023 – 08:00 PM EDT at Smoothie King Center 

Iron Lion… Wait, No Zion?

Still no Zion Williamson for the Pelicans, but he is due to be re-evaluated reportedly Wednesday to determine if there’s any shot if he can return before Sunday’s regular-season finale.

I would certainly be surprised and the Pels might instead hold Zion out until the play-in tournament, which they are on the verge of clinching a spot in currently sitting eighth in the West.  

Back to His All-Star Form

New Orleans has just one loss in its eight. Brandon Ingram is playing like an All-Star since returning from a two-game injury absence in averaging 29.5 points, 8.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds over that 10-game span with three triple-doubles.

Over the same timeframe, Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 16.3 points and 13.5 rebounds with nine double-doubles. On the season, he is averaging the least amount of minutes per game (25.0), among the 12 NBA players to average a point/rebound double-double. 

The Pick

While New Orleans still has a seeding spot to play for, the Kings really don’t. The NBA’s longest playoff drought is over but Sacramento is essentially locked into the West’s third seed so it might be smart of Mike Brown, the NBA Coach of the Year favorite, to rest some guys this week. It’s also the front end of a back-to-back for Sacramento.  

The teams have split two meetings this season.  

  • Kings are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. 
  • Pelicans are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. 
  • Kings are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in New Orleans. 

NBA Pick: Pelicans ML (-140) at BetOnline 

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Pelicans ML (-140)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.