NBA Friday best bets, player props: Don't overlook the Thunder
Layne Murdoch Jr. / National Basketball Association / Getty

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We weren't perfect Thursday night, but we once again hit our NBA player prop and split our best bets. Here's to a strong finish to the week with our best bets for Friday.

Oklahoma City Thunder (-4.5, 224) vs. Memphis Grizzlies

If this line doesn't signal how undervalued the Thunder are in the betting market, I don't know what can. Oklahoma City has the NBA's best net rating during seeding play (+9.8) and the fourth-best since the All-Star break (+4.3), while the Grizzlies rank in the bottom five in seeding play (-5.8) and are one of only three winless teams in the bubble.

Somehow, the Thunder are only 4.5-point favorites, which is a gift to bettors. Oklahoma City has the second-best record against the spread (21-13-1) versus teams below .500 and is 17-1-1 ATS in that spot when giving five or fewer points, by far the best mark in the NBA.

Memphis' only shot Friday is if star rookie Ja Morant goes off, but he'll have a tough time doing so against the defensive-minded backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul - both of whom rank in the top 10 in field-goal percentage allowed among starters with at least 65 games played. Don't count on Morant saving the Grizzlies in this one.

Pick: Thunder -4.5

Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors (-3)

If any team has been more impressive in the bubble than the Thunder, it's the Raptors, who are a perfect 3-0 after holding the Lakers, Heat, and Magic to an average of 98 points on 39.5% shooting.

Toronto's latest master class involved keeping the Magic from scoring 100 points for their first time in 16 games while also shooting nearly 50% from the floor. It was a similar story the last time the Raptors and Celtics played - Boston failed to score 100 points for its first time in 15 games, and Toronto made 52% of its shots on the other end.

The C's looked impressive in Wednesday's blowout win over Brooklyn, but it'll be a different story against a Toronto squad riding an NBA-best eight-game win streak dating back to early March. The Raptors can clinch the No. 2 seed over the third-place Celtics with a win Friday, so expect a full effort from the defending champs.

Pick: Raptors -3

Player prop

Joel Embiid over 39.5 points + rebounds (-122)

If there was ever a game for Embiid to dominate, it's this one. The Sixers will be without Ben Simmons for Friday's crucial contest against the Magic, who are missing Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon and simply don't have the horses to compete with the 7-footer inside.

In his last nine full games, Embiid is averaging 31.9 points and 13 rebounds, and he's cleared this prop total in six of those nine contests. Simmons' absence is also the perfect backdrop for a statistical explosion: Embiid is posting 30.1 points and 15.2 rebounds per 36 minutes without Simmons on the floor this season, compared to 26.5 points and 13.3 rebounds with him.

Nikola Vucevic will gobble up his fair share of rebounds, but the Magic simply have no one else left to battle Embiid on the boards - and nobody who can stop him from scoring, either. This number is far too low.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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NBA Friday best bets, player props: Don't overlook the Thunder
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