NBA Betting, DFS Guide: Thunder-Spurs, Giannis vs. Durant, More
I won’t lie to you, basketball is not exactly the No. 1 sport on my mind today. Perhaps we can split the difference, though …
The NBA intelligently made Thursday a small slate in light of MLB Opening Day. Here’s what you need to know for tonight’s five-gamer. — Mark Gallant
All info as of Thursday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
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OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (-4) AT SAN ANTONIO SPURS | O/U: 208.5
8 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: The Thunder are one of the few teams that can battle LaMarcus Aldridge inside without a double-team. The key for them is going to be those little slip cuts they get with Patty Mills, Danny Green and Dejounte Murray. There’s a pretty good chance this Spurs team looks remarkably different next year, so you might want to enjoy this as the last time these two teams that have gone up against each other so much do so with most of the same pieces.
Oh, and watch out for Davis Bertans, as he’s going to get his turn to cook Melo on the rotation nightly schedule. — Matt Moore
Betting market: If the line movement is any indication, we can expect Aldridge to be out tonight. The Spurs opened as a one point favorite, but have moved all the way to a four point dog. We have tracked FOUR bet signals on OKC, which have gradually moved their line up and up. — Mark Gallant
What the metrics say: These teams have played three times already this year, with the Thunder winning twice at home and the Spurs holding serve in San Antonio. They were defensive slugfests, combining for 205, 177 and 198 points. These teams stand just a game apart in the Western Conference standings, with the Thunder barely holding onto the lead for the No. 4 spot and home-court advantage in the first round. The most interesting storyline I’m watching here is the Thunder with Carmelo Anthony. Russell Westbrook and the crew were frustrated with him in Sunday’s loss to the Blazers, and it might be time to try him in a bench role. The combination of Westbrook-Alex Abrines-Paul George-Jerami Grant-Steven Adams has crushed teams this season, posting a +31.9 net rating. That sample is only 100 minutes, but that’s the issue: Billy Donovan needs to experiment with more creative starting units that won’t tank both the starters and bench. — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: OKC hasn’t played since Sunday. Well-rested (four or more days between games) road teams facing an opponent on three or fewer days rest (like the Spurs) have gone 256-210-4 (55%) against the spread since 2005. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: The Spurs have lost two consecutive games straight-up and ATS, and they shot less than 50% from the field in both games. Over the past five seasons, the Spurs are 94-78-2 ATS (54.7%) when shooting under 50% in consecutive games — the fifth-most profitable team in that spot. — Evan Abrams
MILWAUKEE BUCKS AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (-5) | O/U: 215.5
10:30 p.m. ET | TNT
What I’m watching for: Kevin Durant and Draymond Green might be back for this one, and the line will likely reflect their status; keep an eye on it and don’t commit until you know for sure which way the wind is blowing. The Bucks were in Los Angeles, had a day off on the West Coast and now play the Warriors; fading them might be a great nightlife-related play.
John Henson vs. JaVale McGee is going to be some bizarre Through the Looking-Glass stuff. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: The first time these squads met, in early January, Stephen Curry didn’t play. The Warriors still managed to take that slow-paced affair in Milwaukee 108-94. It looks like the Dubs will still be missing Curry and Klay Thompson, but Green is probable and Durant says he’s playing. Per nbawowy.com, the Dubs have scored 110.4 points per 100 possessions and allowed 119.2 points/100 with Durant and Green on and Thompson and Curry off. Those are not great numbers, and they’ll catch a Bucks squad that has impressed offensively of late outside of Tuesday’s poor showing in L.A. Before that game, they had scored at least 115.0 points/100 in eight straight games. For reference, the Rockets rank first in the league this season offensively, scoring 113.1 points/100. — Bryan Mears
Betting market: There has been sharp players on both sides of this game. Initially, two sharp moves pushed the Warriors from -3.5 up to -6. However, there was sharp buyback and the pro book Buckeye, which has caused the Bucks to move back to +5. — Mark Gallant
Trend No. 1 to know: Golden State scored 81 points in a loss to Indiana on Tuesday. That was just the 12th time under Steve Kerr that the Warriors scored fewer than 90 points in a game. Will the Dubs bounce back Thursday? In the previous 11 games, Golden State went 3-8 ATS in their next game. — John Ewing
Trend No. 2 to know: The Warriors have struggled mightily against the spread against the Eastern Conference this season, going 11-17 ATS (39.3%) — the third-least profitable team in the Western Conference. Included in the 11-17 ATS mark is a 4-11 ATS record against East opponents over .500. — Evan Abrams
Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate
WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT DETROIT PISTONS (-1) | O/U: 209
7 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: The Wizards clinch a playoff spot with a win, and Detroit’s running out of time to hang onto playoff hope. Tomas Satoransky needs to stay out of foul trouble, which has been an issue of late. — Matt Moore
CHICAGO BULLS AT MIAMI HEAT (-13) | O/U: 209
7:30 p.m. ET
What I’m watching for: This smells like the kind of game in which Hassan Whiteside just goes bonkers. — Matt Moore
Trend to know: Chicago got rolled by Houston 118-86 on Tuesday. The Bulls were awful, scoring 39 points in the first half, but after an ugly loss they are a buy-low candidate. Bad teams (33% win rate or lower) on the road coming off a blowout loss (20 or more points) have gone 228-187-8 (55%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing
INDIANA PACERS (-8) AT SACRAMENTO KINGS | O/U: 203
10 p.m. ET
Trend to know: Is this a letdown spot for Indiana after beating Golden State 92-81 on Tuesday? Over the past four years, teams that beat the Warriors by double digits have gone 16-12 ATS in their next game. — John Ewing
Photo credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports