NBA Three at 3: Best Bets for Friday, March 18

There was only one game on the NBA schedule yesterday and it featured two teams that aren't in the playoffs. Tonight, basketball fans will get to add a loaded slate on top of the hours of college basketball they've been consuming. The evening will be headlined by an NBA TV doubleheader in which the Atlanta Hawks host the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chicago Bulls face the Phoenix Suns. 

1. Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers - 7:00 p.m. ET

Over the last three seasons, the Sixers are 35-21 against the spread when playing at home after a game in which they failed to cover the spread. Philadelphia has won those games by an average of 7.7 points per game. The Sixers are also 7-2 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread when facing Southwest division opponents this year. Overall, the presence of Joel Embiid — if he plays through his questionable tag — just makes it hard to believe in the Mavericks in this game. Dallas added some punch to its backcourt by acquiring Spencer Dinwiddie at the deadline, and the combo guard has found his game with the Mavericks. But this team is still a little thin in the frontcourt, where Embiid should punish them. And James Harden might not be quite what he used to be, but he's still capable of putting up big numbers and holding his own against Luka Doncic in this battle between offensive creators isn't out of the question. 

THE PICK: Sixers -3.5 

2. Memphis Grizzlies at Atlanta Hawks - 7:30 p.m. ET

Memphis is 25-12 against the spread as a road favorite under head coach Taylor Jenkins, and the team is also 18-7 against the spread as a road favorite of six points or less in that time. On top of that, the Grizzlies are 15-4 against the spread when playing on the road and trying to avenge a straight-up loss as a favorite in that same span. It also doesn't hurt that Atlanta has just not been that good of a basketball team this season. The Hawks haven't taken the leap that everybody was expecting after last year's postseason run, and they're also just 17-17-1 against the spread when playing at home this year. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are 24-12 straight-up and 20-14-2 against the spread when playing on the road this year. Look for Jaren Jackson Jr. to have a big game for Memphis, as Atlanta doesn't quite have anybody that matches up well with him. 

THE PICK: Grizzlies -4.5 

3. Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns - 10:00 p.m. ET 

The Bulls are just 29-43 against the spread when facing teams with winning records over the last two seasons, while the Suns are 50-33 against the spread against winning teams in that same span. Phoenix is also 27-18 against the spread when facing teams that average at least 23.0 assists per game this year, while also being 24-7 against the spread as a home favorite of 6 or fewer points since the start of last year. The Suns also come into this one after having won and covered in three games in a row, and they'll be looking forward to the step up in competition in this one. This Phoenix team loves playing competitive games, especially on its own home floor. Look for Devin Booker to turn in some big numbers for the Suns, while Mikal Bridges' defense should be an X-factor. He has the ability to throw DeMar DeRozan off his game a bit. 

THE PICK: Suns -5.5

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Bulls star DeMar DeRozan
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Bulls star DeMar DeRozan will need to have a big game in Phoenix.
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