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NBA betting: Four picks for Friday

Desmond Bane looks to break out of a slump on Friday. Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

There are just six games on the NBA slate Friday night, highlighted by the Sixers visiting the Celtics (ESPN, 7:30 ET), the Knicks taking on the Raptors in Toronto, and the Nuggets visiting the banged-up Suns in Phoenix (ESPN, 10 ET).

The Magic and red-hot Cole Anthony will face the defenseless Wizards while the Pelicans will welcome back Trey Murphy III against a Spurs team that doesn't play much defense, especially if Victor Wembanyama is in street clothes with a hip injury. Here are some bets to think about for the six-game slate.

Alexander's favorite bets for Friday night

Franz Wagner OVER 23.5 points

Wagner dominated these Wizards for 31 points Wednesday, scored 30 points against the Hornets on Sunday and scored 27 points against the Nuggets on Nov. 22. Granted, Paolo Banchero (ankle) left Wednesday's game early and is expected to play Friday night, but Wagner has been on a tear, has the Wizards' number, and the 23.5 number is juicy. The key will be for him to continue to shoot it lights-out, as he has hit 41-of-64 shots (64%) over his past four games.

Desmond Bane OVER 22.5 points

Bane is slumping, hitting just 15-of-45 shots (33%) and 6-of-20 3-pointers over his past three games, failing to top 17 points in any of them. The good news is that he's due to break out of his slump and he hit 12 of 17 shots for 30 points against the Mavericks when they last met on Oct. 30. Granted, that was just over a month ago, but the Grizzlies finally got a home win Wednesday night and will look to continue the winning streak alive at Dallas. The Mavericks aren't known for slowing down opposing shooting guards and Bane's three-game slump is primed to end. And he had scored at least 23 points in 10 of his 14 games before the slump started last weekend.

Deni Avdija OVER 11.5 points

While Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole have left us all scratching our heads on most nights, Avdija is quietly hot, hitting 15 of 21 shots over his past two games and scoring 22 and 16 points. The 22 came against these same Magic in Orlando on Wednesday and the two teams will do it again Friday night in the same arena. Avdija has scored at least 12 points in nine of his past 15 games and should do it again as long as his shot doesn't fail him.

Pelicans -12.5 against the Spurs

The Spurs have lost 13 straight games after a two-point defeat to the Hawks on Thursday and should be gassed on the second night of a back-to-back set. Additionally, Wembanyama (hip) has a decent chance of sitting out and, along with Devin Vassell, seems to be one of the only Spurs who cares about playing defense. Finally, the Pelicans, who got CJ McCollum (lung) back Wednesday, should be at full strength for the first time this season with Murphy (leg) expected to make his season debut. They're going to be a very dangerous team at full strength and should roll over the Spurs at home.


Projections and injury reports

Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics; injury aggregation by Rotowire.com.


Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic
7 p.m. Amway Center, Orlando


Records (Against the spread)
Wizards: 3-15 (8-10-0)
Magic: 13-5 (15-3-0)

Line: Magic (-11.5) Total: 237.5
Money line: Wizards (+425), Magic (-550)
BPI projection: Magic by 6.6, straight up 72.1%, 232.6 total points.

Injury report:
Wizards: Ryan Rollins, (OUT - Knee); Delon Wright, (OUT - Knee)
Magic: Jonathan Isaac, (GTD - Ankle); Paolo Banchero, (GTD - Ankle); Markelle Fultz, (OUT - Knee); Wendell Carter Jr., (OUT - Finger)


Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. TD Garden, Boston


Records (Against the spread)
76ers: 12-6 (12-6-0)
Celtics: 14-4 (8-8-2)

Line: Celtics (-6.5) Total: 224.5
Money line: 76ers (+210), Celtics (-250)
BPI projection: Celtics by 2.5, straight up 59.5%, 224.1 total points.

Injury report:
76ers: Jaden Springer, (GTD - Illness); Joel Embiid, (GTD - Illness); Nicolas Batum, (GTD - Finger); Danuel House Jr., (OUT - Quadriceps); Kelly Oubre Jr., (OUT - Ribs)
Celtics: Kristaps Porzingis, (OUT - Calf)


New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto


Records (Against the spread)
Knicks: 11-7 (10-7-1)
Raptors: 9-10 (11-8-0)

Line: Raptors (-2.5) Total: 216.5
Money line: Knicks (+110), Raptors (-130)
BPI projection: Raptors by 1.6, straight up 56.1%, 218.3 total points.

Injury report:
Knicks: None reported
Raptors: Christian Koloko, (OUT - Illness)


Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m. American Airlines Center, Dallas


Records (Against the spread)
Grizzlies: 4-13 (6-11-0)
Mavericks: 11-6 (9-8-0)

Line: Mavericks (-9.5) Total: 230.5
Money line: Grizzlies (+360), Mavericks (-450)
BPI projection: Mavericks by 8, straight up 76.2%, 230.1 total points.

Injury report:
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT - Achilles); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee); Xavier Tillman, (GTD - Knee); Jake LaRavia, (OUT - Eye); Luke Kennard, (OUT - Knee); Marcus Smart, (OUT - Foot); Ja Morant, (OUT - Suspension)
Mavericks: Olivier-Maxence Prosper, (GTD - Ankle); Tim Hardaway Jr., (GTD - Back); Maxi Kleber, (OUT - Toe)


San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans
8 p.m. Smoothie King Center, New Orleans


Records (Against the spread)
Spurs: 3-15 (6-11-1)
Pelicans: 10-9 (11-7-1)

Line: Pelicans (-12.5) Total: 237.5
Money line: Spurs (+500), Pelicans (-700)
BPI projection: Pelicans by 14.1, straight up 89.0%, 234.0 total points.

Injury report:
Spurs: Doug McDermott, (GTD - Illness); Victor Wembanyama, (GTD - Hip)
Pelicans: Jose Alvarado, (GTD - Ankle); Matt Ryan, (GTD - Calf); Trey Murphy III, (GTD - Knee); Larry Nance Jr., (OUT - Ribs)


Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns
10 p.m. Footprint Center, Phoenix


Records (Against the spread)
Nuggets: 13-6 (7-11-1)
Suns: 11-7 (9-8-1)

Line: Nuggets (-2.5) Total: 225.5
Money line: Nuggets (-130), Suns (+110)
BPI projection: Suns by 1.1, straight up 54.2%, 230.0 total points.

Injury report:
Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar, (OUT - Knee); Aaron Gordon, (GTD - Heel); Jamal Murray, (GTD - Ankle); Peyton Watson, (GTD - Illness)
Suns: Devin Booker, (GTD - Ankle); Bradley Beal, (OUT - Back); Damion Lee, (OUT - Knee)