NBA Game Predictions & Betting Lines
Today’s NBA Matchup Comparisons
By Dan Favale
Indiana Pacers (-9) vs. New York Knicks (+9)
With the Pacers fighting for the right avoid the Cleveland Cavaliers through the first round of the playoffs, there’s a chance they explode, especially at home. But a nine-point spread is pretty big considering they just recently played the Knicks and barely walked away with a victory. Carmelo Anthony hasn’t indicated he’ll take a night off, and New York has done a nice job recently of keeping games close (without actually winning them). Bet on them covering this generous spread.
The Pick: Knicks (+9)
Detroit Pistons (-2) vs. Miami Heat (+2)
Like the Pacers, the Pistons are trying to avoid facing the Cavaliers in the first round of the postseason. They have been on their own miniature tear of late, and the Heat are threats to rest just about anyone and everyone. Coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t place stock in the battle for third, fourth, fifth and sixth place in the Eastern Conference. That could influence how the Heat play. Dwyane Wade might sit. Coach Spo could hand rest days to Joe Johnson and Goran Dragic. Still, with Hassan Whiteside back in the starting lineup, the Heat look good. So long as Spoelstra doesn’t rest more than one of Miami’s core players, this matchup should belong to the Heat.
The Pick: Heat (+2)
Toronto Raptors (-12) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (+12)
Big spreads like this are difficult as we approach the end of the season. The 76ers don’t even come close to rivaling the Raptors, but the latter doesn’t have anything to play for. They have already locked up the Eastern Conference’s second-best record and are officially out of the running for first place following Cleveland’s win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Coach Dwane Casey has every reason to rest his core guys as the season winds down. But he has been unpredictable on this front. That said, it would seem that he’s more likely to bench guys like Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas on Wednesday, when the Raptors face the Brooklyn Nets to close out their back to back.
The Pick: Raptors (-12)
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Pick)
Call this the battle of the benches. The Spurs won’t tip their entire hand now that they’re locked into second place in the Western Conference and not protecting a perfect home record. The Thunder, meanwhile, just played the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. Since this game has no bearing on their place in the NBA’s playoff bracket, head coach Billy Donovan will probably follow Gregg Popovich’s inevitable lead, resting or seldom using his best players. And if this comes down to the battle of which team’s reserves are better, there’s no question that San Antonio holds a decisive advantage over Oklahoma City.
The Pick: Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers (-7.5) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (+7.5)
This is an interesting line. The Clippers actually have an incentive to lose, as it would make it more likely that they set up a first-round matchup with the Grizzlies, as opposed to the fully healthy Portland Trail Blazers. But with Memphis set to play the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, it’s beyond unlikely Portland doesn’t clinch fifth place. It seems like all the key Clippers intend to play, and the Grizzlies remain banged up beyond comprehension. So while the Clippers have little to play for, the Grizzlies don’t have much to offer in terms of betting upside.
The Pick: Clippers (-7.5)More articles...