NBA Betting Lines & Matchup Comparisons
NBA Game Predictions
By Dan Favale
Houston Rockets (-15) vs. Sacramento Kings (+15)
Welcom to the last day of the regular season, otherwise known as “Big Spreads Day.” The Rockets have a playoff berth on the line, while the Kings are sitting just about everyone under the sun. Expect Houston to roll right through this matchup and on to the playoffs.
The Pick: Rockets (-15)
Dallas Mavericks (-4.5) vs. San Antonio Spurs (+4.5)
Picking against the Spurs is never a good idea. Except now. They are coming off an overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night and have nothing left for which to play. There’s no way Gregg Popovich plays any of his key guys. The Mavericks, by comparision, are still jostling for playoff positioning. This spread seems right on point for them.
The Pick: Mavericks (-4.5)
Minnesota Timberwolves (-9.5) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (+9.5)
This spread, like many others, is huge. Maybe too huge. But the Timberwolves have been phenomenal at home for the most part, and Karl-Anthony Towns is a superhero. The Pelicans aren’t even close to healthy, and their hodgepodge of fringe NBA talent can only hold serve for so long.
The Pick: Timberwolves (-9.5)
Brooklyn Nets (+5.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (-5.5)
It’s beyond unlikely that Raptors head coach Dwane Casey plays anyone who particularly matters when they face the Nets. But Toronto’s reserves stack up to Brooklyn’s everyday talent—especially with Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young shut down for the season. Get your wagers in early, as the line could move a ton if we get word guys like Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan plan on suiting up.
The Pick: Raptors (-5.5)
Washington Wizards (+7.5) vs. Atlanta Hawks (-7.5)
Even if the Wizards had an incentive to win (they don’t), the Hawks are still no match for them. They have the league’s best defense since Jan. 1 and are still fighting for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference. This game means more to them, and it should subsequently show.
The Pick: Hawks (-7.5)
Milwaukee Bucks (-4.5) vs. Indiana Pacers (+4.5)
Invest in the Bucks here with a good amount of confidence. Paul George most likely won’t be playing as the Pacers gear up for their first-round date with the Raptors. And without him, Indiana isn’t good. The Bucks themselves aren’t great, but they have enough raw talent in Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker to upend a George-less Pacers unit.
The Pick: Bucks (-4.5)
Cleveland Cavaliers (-1.5) vs. Detroit Pistons (+1.5)
Well, what do you know: We have an early first-round preview here. Sort of. Neither the Cavaliers nor Pistons are going to tip their hands in this game. Coaches Tyronn Lue and Stan Van Gundy, with nothing for their teams to play for, won’t be tossing out core players for long stretches at a time, if they play them at all. This will come down to which team is deeper, and the Cavaliers have the clear edge there.
The Pick: Cavaliers (-1.5)
Chicago Bulls (-10) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (+10)
Indeed, the Bulls are a mess. But the Sixers are worse. Chicago is playing for pride at this point, and the talent deficit created by Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol alone will cripple Philly. But, as of this writing, it doesn’t look like Gasol will be playing. Same goes for Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson. Even if the Bulls win, as they should, this one doesn’t have the makings of a blowout.
The Pick: Sixers (+10)
Boston Celtics (-5) vs. Miami Heat (+5)
All season long, the Celtics have, for the most part, done a nice job of responding to losses. They were blown out against the Charlotte Hornets on their own turf Monday night. They won’t want to let that happen again. The Heat are playing for home-court advantage through at least the first round of the playoffs, but so are the Celtics. And it’s Boston, not Miami, that can paralyze its foes with exceptional pace.
The Pick: Celtics (-5)
Charlotte Hornets (-9) vs. Orlando Magic (+9)
Neither Nicolas Batum nor Cody Zeller may be playing for the Hornets. But Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo could all be out for the Magic. Ergo, this contest will be a mess. Charlotte is better eqiupped to cope with its injuries and has playoff seeding on the line to boot. Orlando shouldn’t be able to keep up with them if they’re missing even one, let alone two or all, of Gordon, Oladipo and Vucevic.
The Pick: Hornets (-9)
Los Angeles Lakers (+5) vs. Utah Jazz (-5)
Kobe Bryant’s last game is tough to quantify. The Jazz will technically be fighting for their playoff lives, and the Lakers are absolutely horrid. But a Rockets win removes the Jazz from postseason contention, so they’ll know they’re fate before or around tip off. In all likelihood, then, they’ll be eliminated before they even play, and that could mess with their minds. They should still be able to beat Lakers, even if Rudy Gobert is a no-go, but there’s no guarantee, or concrete sign, that it will be a decisive victory.
The Pick: Lakers (+5)
Golden State Warriors (-19) vs. Mephis Grizzlies (+19)
Some people think this is a trap game for the Warriors. Vegas most certainly does not. The Warriors have been pretty sloppy in recent weeks and only just edged out the Grizzles on Monday night. They are at home and trying to set an NBA record for regular season, though. And it’s been a while since they thoroughly pounded an inferior opponent. Approach this spread with caution. If you’re inclined to bet, the Warriors are your best wager.
The Pick: Warriors (-19)
Portland Trail Blazers (-10) vs. Denver Nuggets (+10)
The Blazers? At home? With Western Conference playoff positioning hanging in the balance? There’s no need to overthink this. A Mavericks loss earlier in the night could prompt Terry Stotts to rest his crew, but since Dallas will be facing a shorthanded San Antonio group, we can’t bank on any outcome. So roll with Portland.
The Pick: Blazers (-10)
Phoenix Suns (-5) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (+5)
No, the Clippers won’t be playing anyone of immense significance. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick will all be watching from the sidelines or from home. But the Clippers’ reserves have been ridiculous on their own recently. They’ve picked apart the Thunder and embarrassed the Jazz. Contending with the Suns should be no problem.
The Pick: Clippers (+5)
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