Friday, March 1, 2024

NBA betting: Six picks for Thursday’s slate

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Thursday night’s NBA slate features nine games to choose from. I am most interested in is the showdown between the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves. On Tuesday night, the Timberwolves lost to the Chicago Bulls and the Bucks fell to the Phoenix Suns in road games. Last season, Milwaukee went 2-0 against Minnesota. Who’s going to win Thursday night? Let’s dive into my betting recommendations.

Moody’s favorite plays for Thursday

Anthony Edwards over 26.5 points. A narrow spread suggests a close game between the Timberwolves and Bucks. The Bucks have struggled to contain opposing guards this season, so I expect Edwards to have success against them. The Bucks rank 25th in points per game allowed to shooting guards. Edwards has surpassed this line in three of his last five games and has a usage rate of 29.7% over that span.

Giannis Antetokounmpo under 7.5 assists. The Timberwolves’ defense ranks first in points allowed per 100 possessions. This will be a difficult matchup for Antetokounmpo. He has gone under 7.5 assists in three of his last five games, and the Timberwolves rank second in assists per game allowed.

John Collins over 6.5 rebounds. The Suns rank sixth in rebounds per game allowed to power forwards. Even in this matchup, Collins cannot be overlooked. The trends weave an enticing narrative. Collins has gone over this line in five consecutive games and 11 of his last 20. It’s also worth mentioning that he has surpassed this line in three straight games against the Suns this season.

Dallas Mavericks -3.5 at New York Knicks. Knicks fans must have held their breath following Jalen Brunson‘s injury scare against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night — and exhaled once he was officially diagnosed with an ankle sprain. Even if Brunson plays, it’s hard to see him playing substantial minutes against the Mavericks tonight. Other injuries have also negatively affected the Knicks’ rotation. Having Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving together on the court has been a huge boost for the Mavericks. The Mavericks are 10-2 against the spread when they’ve been a road favorite.

Victor Wembanyama under 21.5 points. The Spurs are 10.5-point underdogs on the road against the Magic in a game that has a point total of only 224.5 points. Wembanyama has gone under 21.5 points in four of his last five games. The Magic rank 11th in points per game allowed to centers. Orlando also ranks fifth in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Ben Simmons to record a double-double (+525). The Cavaliers rank second in points allowed per 100 possessions, but don’t let that deter you from considering Simmons. This is a bet I find myself drawn to, like a moth to the flame. Simmons has been solid for the Nets over the last three games since returning from a back injury, averaging 6.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists in only 17.4 minutes per game. He could play heavy minutes against the Cavaliers, especially with Dorian Finney-Smith, Cameron Johnson, and Day’Ron Sharpe already ruled out.

Daily lines, BPI projections and injury reports

Odds provided by ESPN BET. Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics. Injury aggregation by

Golden State Warriors at Indiana Pacers
7 p.m. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

Records (Against the Spread)
Warriors: 23-25 (23-23-2)
Pacers: 29-23 (28-22-2)

Line: Pacers (-6.5) Total: 249.5
Money Line: Warriors (+195), Pacers (-235)
BPI Projection: Pacers by 1.9, straight up 57%, 245.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Warriors: Gary Payton II, (OUT – Hamstring); Chris Paul, (OUT – Hand)
Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, (GTD – Illness); Jalen Smith, (GTD – Back); Tyrese Haliburton, (GTD – Hamstring)

San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic
7 p.m. Amway Center, Orlando

Records (Against the Spread)
Spurs: 10-41 (23-27-1)
Magic: 27-24 (32-19-0)

Line: Magic (-10.5) Total: 224.5
Money Line: Spurs (+425), Magic (-550)
BPI Projection: Magic by 10.7, straight up 82%, 231.7 total points.

Injury Report:
Spurs: Charles Bassey, (OUT – Knee)
Magic: None reported

Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. Barclays Center, New York

Records (Against the Spread)
Cavaliers: 33-16 (26-22-1)
Nets: 20-30 (23-25-2)

Line: Cavaliers (-6.5) Total: 224.5
Money Line: Cavaliers (-250), Nets (+210)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers by 6.1, straight up 72%, 220.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson, (OUT – Suspension); Ty Jerome, (OUT – Ankle)
Nets: Cameron Johnson, (OUT – Thigh); Dorian Finney-Smith, (OUT – Ankle); Lonnie Walker IV, (OUT – Hamstring); Day’Ron Sharpe, (OUT – Knee); Dariq Whitehead, (OUT – Lower Leg)

Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

Records (Against the Spread)
Mavericks: 28-23 (27-24-0)
Knicks: 33-18 (30-20-1)

Line: Mavericks (-3.5) Total: 228.5
Money Line: Mavericks (-155), Knicks (+135)
BPI Projection: Knicks by 3.5, straight up 62%, 235.4 total points.

Injury Report:
Mavericks: Kyrie Irving, (GTD – Thumb); Luka Doncic, (GTD – Nose); Maxi Kleber, (GTD – Toe); Dante Exum, (OUT – Knee); Dereck Lively II, (OUT – Nose)
Knicks: Duane Washington Jr., (GTD – Thumb); Jalen Brunson, (GTD – Ankle); Jericho Sims, (GTD – Illness); OG Anunoby, (OUT – Elbow); Quentin Grimes, (OUT – Knee); Julius Randle, (OUT – Shoulder); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT – Ankle)

Chicago Bulls at Memphis Grizzlies
8 p.m. FedExForum, Memphis

Records (Against the Spread)
Bulls: 24-27 (26-24-1)
Grizzlies: 18-33 (23-28-0)

Line: Bulls (-5.5) Total: 216.5
Money Line: Bulls (-220), Grizzlies (+190)
BPI Projection: Bulls by 2.1, straight up 57%, 222.4 total points.

Injury Report:
Bulls: Alex Caruso, (GTD – Thigh); Coby White, (GTD – Ankle); Dalen Terry, (GTD – Ankle); Torrey Craig, (GTD – Ankle); Patrick Williams, (OUT – Foot); Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee); Zach LaVine, (OUT – Foot)
Grizzlies: Xavier Tillman, (GTD – Knee); Steven Adams, (OUT – Knee); Derrick Rose, (GTD – Ankle); Jaren Jackson Jr., (GTD – Hip); Ziaire Williams, (GTD – Hand); Jake LaRavia, (OUT – Ankle); Brandon Clarke, (OUT – Achilles); Marcus Smart, (OUT – Finger); Desmond Bane, (OUT – Ankle); Ja Morant, (OUT – Shoulder)

Minnesota Timberwolves at Milwaukee Bucks
8 p.m. Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

Records (Against the Spread)
Timberwolves: 35-16 (25-23-3)
Bucks: 33-18 (19-32-0)

Line: Bucks (-1.5) Total: 227.5
Money Line: Timberwolves (-105), Bucks (-115)
BPI Projection: Timberwolves by 3.8, straight up 63%, 232.6 total points.

Injury Report:
Timberwolves: Shake Milton, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Troy Brown Jr., (GTD – Not Injury Related); Jaylen Clark, (OUT – Achilles)
Bucks: Brook Lopez, (GTD – Personal); Cameron Payne, (GTD – Knee); Damian Lillard, (GTD – Ankle); Giannis Antetokounmpo, (GTD – Knee); Jae Crowder, (GTD – Ankle); Khris Middleton, (OUT – Ankle)

Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns
9 p.m. Footprint Center, Phoenix

Records (Against the Spread)
Jazz: 26-26 (31-21-0)
Suns: 30-21 (21-29-1)

Line: Suns (-6.5) Total: 243.5
Money Line: Jazz (+220), Suns (-270)
BPI Projection: Suns by 3.8, straight up 63%, 243.7 total points.

Injury Report:
Jazz: Brice Sensabaugh, (GTD – Hip)
Suns: Bradley Beal, (GTD – Ankle); Damion Lee, (OUT – Knee)

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
10 p.m. Arena, Los Angeles

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 35-16 (21-28-2)
Lakers: 27-25 (23-29-0)

Line: Nuggets (-3.5) Total: 230.5
Money Line: Nuggets (-165), Lakers (+140)
BPI Projection: Nuggets by 2.5, straight up 59%, 234.0 total points.

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, (GTD – Hamstring); Vlatko Cancar, (OUT – Knee)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Achilles); LeBron James, (GTD – Ankle); Cam Reddish, (OUT – Ankle); Gabe Vincent, (OUT – Knee); Jarred Vanderbilt, (OUT – Foot)

Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers
10 p.m. Moda Center, Portland

Records (Against the Spread)
Pistons: 7-43 (24-25-1)
Blazers: 15-35 (25-25-0)

Line: Blazers (-6.5) Total: 226.5
Money Line: Pistons (+210), Blazers (-250)
BPI Projection: Blazers by 2.9, straight up 60%, 234.1 total points.

Injury Report:
Pistons: Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD – Calf); Cade Cunningham, (GTD – Knee); Isaiah Stewart, (OUT – Ankle); Monte Morris, (GTD – Not Injury Related)
Blazers: Deandre Ayton, (GTD – Illness); Jabari Walker, (GTD – Ankle); Jerami Grant, (GTD – Back); Scoot Henderson, (GTD – Foot); Moses Brown, (OUT – Wrist); Shaedon Sharpe, (OUT – Abdomen); Robert Williams III, (OUT – Knee)

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