Over the remainder of the NBA regular season, I’ll be doing full write-ups of each Thursday night NBA game. For those of you who don’t know, Thursday in the NBA is usually a light slate with two marquee games at 8pm and 1030pm Eastern on TNT. I’ll fully breakdowns my handicap on those games, as well as give picks for the entire Thursday night slate. These write-ups are meant to go hand-in-hand with our nightly SGP NBA picks, which you can find every day here. Please note that I am only able to use betting lines and injury information at the time of writing; I apologize if things change throughout the day. Lines provided by MyBookie.ag.
Philadelphia 76ers @ OKC Thunder (-7)
- 8pm EST, TNT.
- Philly Injury News: Embiid OUT, Marjanovic OUT.
- OKC Injury News: None.
With Embiid out, this is close to a must-win game for the Thunder here. Coming off back-to-back losses to the Kings and Nuggets, I expect the Thunder to come home and give a super dialed-in effort. They have won a remarkable 19 straight games against the Sixers and will hope to continue that trend in primetime tonight.
I am curious to see how Brett Brown will manage his team’s minutes without most of his big-man rotation. Expecting a lot of small-ball from the Sixers, the Thunder will have a chance to match with a sneaky good small-ball lineup of their own wherein they can slide Grant to the 5, PG to the 4, and play Russ + Schroeder together. When Adams is on the floor, however, he should dominate.
To pull off the upset here, the Sixers will have to get massive contributions from Simmons, Harris, and Butler. While I don’t necessarily see them doing enough to win the game outright, I think the Sixers are good enough to keep things close throughout. I’ll take the Sixers plus the points, expecting that they are explosive enough on the offensive end to put up some points against a struggling OKC defense. Sixers +7.
Utah Jazz @ Denver Nuggets (-7.5)
- 1030pm EST, TNT.
- Utah Injury News: Rubio QUESTIONABLE.
- Denver Injury News: None.
This is another matchup that I just absolutely love. Both teams are coming in playing good basketball and will relish the chance to play in another playoff-type atmosphere. The Jazz played last night, however, and Denver is already one of the toughest places to go into and get a win. The Jazz will be gassed in this spot.
Denver, meanwhile, has been the best home team in the league both SU and ATS. This matchup, in particular, bodes well for the Nuggets with Jokic being able to draw Gobert away from the rim and open up driving lanes for the rest of their offense.
The 7-point number seems big, but it also reflects the fact that the Nuggets have been simply awesome at home this season. I expect another dub and cover tonight. Nuggets -7.5.
Minnesota @ Indiana (-4): Indiana played last night, but is still a veteran squad that continues to play well, especially at home. They really do not want to let go of home-court advantage in the East, and protecting home against an average Minnesota team is a necessary step in the process. I trust Indiana at home in this spot. Pacers -4.
GSW (-7) @ Orlando: The Warriors are wildly inconsistent right now, and really operate to the beat of their own lightswitch. Orlando, meanwhile, has been one of my favorite bets this season, especially against good teams. Golden State looked terrible last night and I expect another close one here in Orlando. Magic +7.
Cleveland @ NYK (-3) : The Knicks are quietly playing much better after the all-star break and have a good mojo at the Garden. Look for Dennis Smith to have a field day against a very weak Cavs defense as the Knicks get a blowout dub here. Knicks -3.
Miami @ Houston (-9.5): Both of these teams played last night, so it’s a difficult handicap. With Miami coming off the crazy D-Wade buzzer-beater last night, I think they will have a hard time emotionally rising up for this game. I expect Houston to jump on them early and stay there. Rockets -9.5.