Predicting Tonight’s NBA Games
Atlanta Hawks (-6.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (+6.5)
On most other occasions, you would take the Raptors here without even thinking. They are more balanced than the Hawks; they do not own the Eastern Conference’s second-best record for nothing, after all. But that’s just the thing: The Raptors are already locked into second place. There is nothing left for which they can play. They won’t dip in the standings with a loss, and the idea of catching the Cleveland Cavaliers is all but dead. Head coach Dwane Casey is likely going to dole out rest to his key contributors down the stretch, and this, a road game, is the perfect opportunity for him to do so.
On top of that, the Hawks have been incredible since the All-Star break, deploying the NBA’s best defense. They, unlike the Raptors, are still jostling for postseason position. And with top three seeding hanging in the balance, count on them both being at full strength and wholly engaged.
Houston Rockets (-12) vs. Phoenix Suns (+12)
The Rockets lost a heartbreaker to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, so look for them to take out their frustrations on the Suns. Phoenix will be without either of its premier point guards, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, and Houston has a playoff berth on the line in every game they play from here on out. The Rockets have been an incosistent bunch all season, susceptible to whiffing on huge spreads, but with the stakes this high, expect them to be on point.
Miami Heat (-5.5) vs. Chicago Bulls (+5.5)
Much like the Hawks, the Heat are still contending for a top three playoff spot in the East. They face a Bulls squad that hasn’t done much of anything this season and is in danger of missing the postseason. Where Chicago is reeling on both ends of the floor, Miami is thriving on both offense and defense this side of the All-Star break. The Heat are even better since signing Joe Johnson. Head coach Erik Spoelstra could always decide to rest Dwyane Wade this late in the season, but even if he does, the Heat, at home, are still the clear favorites. Invest money in Chicago at your own risk.
Sacramento Kings (-5) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (+5)
This line appears to be unnecessarily generous in the Kings’ favor. They haven’t done anything to warrant being five point favorites against the upstart Timberwolves. Minnesota has been locked in on offense recently, and the team’s kiddies, from Karl-Anthony Towns to Andrew Wiggins to Zach LaVine, are really rounding into form. The Timberwolves are also riding the organic high that comes with upsetting the Golden State Warriors just a couple nights ago. They are always a risk to fade, and Sacramento’s fast-paced offense could carve up what has been a terrible Minnesota defense. Should the Timberwolves lose, however, this game will remain close.
Golden State Warriors (-7) vs. San Antonio Spurs (+7)
This is the matchup for which everyone has been waiting. Though it has the potential to be meaningless if Gregg Popovich decides to rest the Spurs’ best players, all signs point to him playing absolutely everyone, right down to the aging Tim Duncan. San Antonio’s defense is uniquely built to disrupt Golden State’s small-ball beast, and the Warriors have been playing sloppy basketball for a while, making mistakes that have cost them two of their last three games home. Still, the Warriors always respond well to losses. The Spurs are a worthy opponent, but it’s entirely possible they get blown out by a triply motivated Warriors faction.More articles...