A chalky day in the NBA, and Angels-Blue Jays pick in MLB: Best Bets for April 7

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James argues a call during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, April 7:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA money-line parlay: Pelicans over Knicks/Mavericks over Bulls/Lakers over Suns

The odds: -120

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: Knicks-Pelicans at 8 p.m. (NBA League Pass); Bulls-Mavericks at 8 p.m. (NBA League Pass); Suns-Lakers at 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

Our take: We’ve reached the point in the NBA season where more than half the league has no incentive to win. It’s a problem the Association will need to fix in the offseason — a major talking point surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement is how to prevent so much cursed “load management” — but in the meantime, it’s hard to prevent teams from either (a) resting players for the playoffs, or (b) sitting top players in hopes of improving draft lottery odds.

So we might as well take advantage. The point spreads in the above games have gotten out of control, so we’ll stick to the money line. Three teams that desperately need wins in the Pelicans and Lakers (to stay out of the play-in) and the Mavericks (to get into the play-in). They’re playing three teams who will be in the postseason themselves but are already locked into their seed.

The Knicks, for example, won’t be playing RJ Barrett or Jalen Brunson. The Bulls are sitting DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine. And the Suns, who clinched the Western Conference No. 4 seed last night, are on a back-to-back, so it won’t be surprising to see them rest Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and/or other starters.

It’s a bit of a square strategy, but desperate teams are the ones to bet on in the NBA at this point in the season, certainly over those who don’t really care if they win or lose.

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD

The play: MLB money line, Angels over Blue Jays

The odds/bet: -122

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9:38 p.m. (MLB.tv)

Our take: For years now, the Angels have had a huge problem surrounding two of the world’s best players, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, with enough talent to even have a winning season, much less make a playoff run.

Trout is starting his 11th full season and still has made the playoffs just once — a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals in 2014. Ohtani has yet to taste the postseason.

But this year … this year might be different. The Angels actually have some pitching, including tonight’s starter, lefty Patrick Sandoval. He ran an ERA of 2.91 last season and had a strong first start.

And the lineup is deeper, too. Taylor Ward gives Trout an outfield mate who actually produces for the first time in a long time. Gio Urshela was a solid signing. There aren’t any other stars, but there aren’t holes in the lineup, either.

So the Blue Jays will be a tough test, but the Angels have had a day off, have a good starter going in their home opener and have a lot of momentum. Let’s roll with it.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

NBA money line parlay: Magic over Cavaliers and Thunder over Jazz (LOST)

MLB same-game parlay: Blake Snell over 6.5 strikeouts/Spencer Strider over 7.5 strikeouts (LOST)

Thursday’s record: 0-2

Total for the week: 4-3, 1 pending

Total for April: 5-6, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 70-76, 1 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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