NBA picks: Friday, April 4

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NBA picks: Friday, April 4

Safe sides

Miami (-8) vs. Minnesota

The Heat have been shorthanded lately dude to both injury (Dwyane Wade) and illness (Ray Allen), but that hasn’t stopped them from covering their last five games while rolling off four straight-up wins by an average of 20.5 points. With the end of the regular season in sight, Miami is rounding into playoff form – similar to the last three years, during which the Heat went a combined 21-4 down the stretch. Minnesota, meanwhile, has gone just 4-9 against the number in its last 13 games, including 1-4 on the road. The Wolves have dropped each of their last three road games by at least 15 points and were beaten handily by the Heat in Minnesota early in the season (although Kevin Love did not play). Miami should nonetheless cruise in this one.

Toronto (+1.5) vs. Indiana

The Pacers may be a Finals contender, but they simply have not played well lately, losing six of their last nine straight up over the last two weeks. They have been far worse against the number, going 0-7 over their last seven and 2-18 over the last 20. Indiana has dropped five consecutive road games straight up, its last win coming on March 15 in overtime at Detroit. And in their one previous trip to Toronto, the Pacers lost by 13. The Raptors have had their ups and downs over the last month, but they’ve started to play better recently, winning four of their last five while sporting a 7-2 straight-up mark at home since March 1. Until the Pacers show otherwise, bettors should take whatever points they can get with the ‘dogs against them.

Total to target

Detroit at Brooklyn – over 206

In three meetings this season, these teams have gone 2-0-1 to the over. The Nets have been consistently playing high-scoring games of late, scoring at least 104 points in nine of their last 10 games while going 7-3 to the over. Detroit has been at a similar pace, with four of its last seven opponents reaching at least 110. The Pistons are 4-3 to the over in that stretch, including 3-0 in their last three.

Overall picks: 12-12-2

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