Top Game to Bet: Mavericks at 76ers (-4.5)
Luka Doncic versus Joel Embiid. Who doesn't want to see this matchup? Both players are chasing LeBron James and Nikola Jokic for the title of being front-runner for MVP as we inch closer to the All-Star break.
Philly enters this matchup winners in three of their previous four games and Dallas seven of their last 10 games. Dallas was 8-12 on the season and now back to 15-15 after winning seven of the last 10.
Dallas is hitting 50% from the field in the last three games (7th) and 41.5% from three (6th). Philly ranks 7th from three, limiting opponents to 33.3% and 13th with 46.3% opponent field goal percentage. The 76ers rank third in rebounds per game (48.2), while the Mavs rank 27th in rebounds per game (39.2). The 76ers limit rebounds to 38.8 per game (4th), and without Kristaps Porzingis (back), Dallas could be in trouble.
Philly leads the East by a half game over Brooklyn with a 21-11 record. The 76ers are again one of the league's best at home, going 13-2 SU (86.6%), the best mark in the East and second overall in the league. Porzingis averages 20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game on the season. Maxi Kleber (ankle) is also questionable for Dallas. The only 76er on the injury report is Seth Curry (ankle), but against his former Mavs team, you can expect him to suit up.
Joel Embiid is a player prop worth paying attention to. He scored 33 points in his only meeting with Dallas last season, going 12-of-24 (50%) from the field, 3-of-6 (50%) from deep and 6-of-6 (100%) from the charity stripe. Dallas won that meeting, but interestingly enough, Luka Doncic did not play. In another meeting last season, Embiid did not play, but Doncic did and scored 19 points. The two have only played each other one time. Embiid scored 25 points and Doncic 14.
Embiid has had two down games lately of 18 and 25 points, so expect him to ball out on national television with a matchup against Luka Doncic. Embiid scored 30 or more points in 11 of his last 16 games. Porzingis is out, his point (31.5) and rebound (11.5) total look worthy of a play. No one on Dallas will be able to contain Embiid in the paint and he should run rampage on national TV.
This series has been one of stretches followed by another. Dallas won eight straight in this series before Philly won four straight games, then Dallas took the last three as they enter this matchup. If you are riding trends, riding with Dallas might seem worthy, but the 76ers are 25-10-2 (71.4%) ATS in its last 37 games at home. Without Porzingis, Dallas is 7-6 SU and ATS (53.8%) this season and 3-3 SU and ATS (50%) on the road.
NBC Edge's Model loves the 76ers at home today, giving the best bet on the ML and ATS and I would have to agree with Porzingis out.
Bet Locked In: 76ers -4.5 (1u), Joel Embiid Over 31.5 Points (1u)
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Top Team to Fade: Memphis Grizzlies
If you have bet on the Grizzlies as I have, you have noticed a few things. The offense is terrible, they are starting dreadfully slow and the offense is terrible. Yes, I know I said it twice. Memphis is averaging 21.0 points in the first quarter over the last three games, ranking last and 25.0 in the previous five games, second to last.
Why are they so bad? Well, Dillon Brooks is the simple answer. He missed all three games and apparently, makes all the difference in stretching this offense out. Memphis scored 109 on Detroit in a win, then lost to Phoenix and Dallas, failing to register 100 points in either game. Brooks is listed as questionable with a chance to play tonight and whether he plays or not changes everything when betting this game.
However, Memphis is ranked first in the NBA over the last three games in field goal percentage allowing opponents to make 37.9% of their attempts. The Grizzlies are tied for first with 23.7 points per first quarter allowed. Guess who they are tied with? Yes, it is the Clippers.
Both teams hold opponents to 23.7 over the last three for a combined 47.4, opposed to 52.2 in the previous five games. The Clippers hold opponents to 41.7% from the field (5th) in the last three games and both rank 13th and 14th in the opponent's three-point percentage during that span. The first quarter total between the two is 57.5.
The Clippers are averaging 31.0 points per first quarter over the last five games and the Grizzlies only 25.0. In the previous three, the margin grows as LA averages 32.3 and Memphis 21.0. For a full game, Memphis averages 99.3 points per game (29th) in the last three contests. LA is averaging 119.7 points per game in that span (7th).
The Clippers have won four of the previous five meetings with the Grizzlies, winning by six or more in three games. They met three times last season, and the Clippers won two meetings. I expect the Clippers to win this game regardless if Brooks plays, but if he does not, the spread looks favorable for a Clippers squad that is 4-1 ATS (80%) in the last five games as a favorite.
If Brooks is out, play the Clippers 1Q ML or -2.5 or the Under 57.5. I would also play the Clippers ML in a parlay with the 76ers ML for -109 as both teams should take care of business tonight.
Game Pick: Clippers 1Q -2.5 (1u) and 76ers/Clippers MLP (1u) - if Dillon Brooks is OUT
Thursday Betting Notes:
Kings at Knicks: Knicks -2
If you have not heard, the Knicks are on fire in the first half. Over the last 11 games, they are 10-0-1 ATS when heading into half and face a Kings squad that has lost eight streak games overall.
Over the last 10 games, New York ranks third in the league with +5.3 margin and Sacramento is Tied 25th at -5.5. In that same span, the Knicks have averaged 58.8 points per first half (8th) compared to the Kings 56.9 (16th) average. The Knicks are hitting 40.7% of their three-pointers in the first half (6th), while the Kings struggle at 35.4% (21st) over the last 11 games. In the Kings' last five road games, they only attempt 12.7 triples in the first half, ranking 23rd.
The Kings have rebounded poorly over the last five road games as well, coming in at 24th with 19.3 boards in the first half. The Knicks are tied 8th in the league with 24.8 boards in their last five home games, another disparaging advantage.
New York has been aggressive to build their leads, getting to the free-throw line often at 13.5 times in the first half of their last five at home and seventh for a full-game number of 27.5 attempts. Sacramento ranks 29th over the last three games, with 27.3 free-throws allowed per game to their opponents. Expect New York to get to the line and attempt three-pointers when they are not versus Sacramento.
Bet Locked In: Knicks First Half ML (0.5u)
Wizards at Nuggets: Wizards +7
The Wizards have won three of the last four meetings with the Nuggets, including two straight. The two met on Feb. 17, with the Wizards winning in a shootout, 130-128. Washington is averaging 124.4 points per game over the last five contests (3rd) and Denver 114.6 (13th).
Washington is 5-1 SU and ATS (83.3%) over the last six games, including the win against Denver. The Nuggets are 1-4 ATS (20%) in the previous five games and 3-7 (30%) over the last 10. Washington continues to trend in the right direction behind the play of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. You can expect Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to light it up as well versus Washington. Both sides should present an undervalued game here that should be full of offense. I lean the Wizards in this matchup ATS.
Bucks at Pelicans: Over/Under 242.5
Both of these teams have been two of the most profitable in the NBA to bet the Over on. The Pelicans are on an Over streak right now, hitting the Over in nine of the last 10 games. New Orleans also allows 121.7 points per game (27th) over the previous three contests.
The Bucks score the second-most at 119.8 in that three-game span and 6-4 (60%) to the Over in the previous 10 games. The Bucks average 117.1 points per game over the last 10 games (8th). The Pelicans lead the league at 123.6 points per outing in that span. With Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson, Khris Middleton, Brandon Ingram and company, this is a recipe for an Over if you're betting on this matchup.
Magic at Nets: Nets -7.5
Brooklyn has won and covered in seven straight games playing their best basketball of the season without Kevin Durant. The Nets average the fourth-most points per game over the previous five games (122.4) and shoot the triple at 45.6% (2nd).
The Magic, on the other hand, is 5-5 SU (50%) in the last 10 games and 3-1 (75%) over the last four. The Magic are 6-1 ATS (85.7%) in the last seven meetings and 4-0 ATS (100%) in the previous four trips to Brooklyn. It is hard to imagine this Orlando squad compete with Brooklyn's offense.
Orlando is shooting 42.6% from the field in the last five games (28th) and 35.0% from deep (22nd). The Magic stay in games with their rebounding, averaging 49.6 in that span (2nd). The Nets are second to last with 38.4 boards during that span. The Magic could surprise cover here if they convert enough second-chance points and possessions.