Moore's Thursday Betting Card: How to Bet the NBA's Return
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The NBA returns Thursday night with a full slate of games after lengthy break in action over the past week.
Here are three games I’m betting based on my power ratings and situational spots, and remember, you can track all my picks in the Action Network app.
Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Nuggets have been a better team than the Cavaliers for two months, but this spot is favorable for Cleveland. The Nuggets will be without Aaron Gordon for this one, which puts them at a disadvantage against the Cavaliers’ two-big lineup with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.
Denver is 7-5 against the spread as a road dog, but that includes games without Nikola Jokic so it’s a little messy in both wins and losses. The Cavs, on the other hand, are 18-10-2 (64%) ATS as a home favorite.
The Nuggets handled the Cavaliers at home, but here on the road, potentially without Gordon, and with the Cavs closer to full strength, I like them to get revenge. The Cavs are on the level of the Nuggets, and they’re at home here.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis is 9-18-1 ATS on the road and 1-7 ATS as a road dog.
The Sixers allow 3 fewer points per game off turnovers at home. That’s the Grizzlies’ lifeline offensively — they rank 25th in halfcourt offense and struggle to stay up.
The Sixers’ weakness is their transition defense, which feeds into the Grizzlies' strength, but at home, that advantage lessens. That’s enough to take the Sixers at less than two possessions.
I project this at Sixers -5.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors
I project this at over 235, so my number edge is significant. The over in Raptors home games is 16-14-1 (53%), Pelicans road games have gone 18-11 to the over.
Both teams will look to push the pace with faltering halfcourt offenses. Toronto’s defense simply hasn’t been as good as the market has expected this season. The Raptors have allowed a league-high 37 games where they their opponent has scored more than their projected team total.
Toronto’s offense gets a boost with Jakob Poeltl after their trade for a starting center. This is a good spot for an over against a persistent market expectation that Toronto’s defense is better than what we've seen all season.