NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Thursday Game

NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Thursday Game article feature image
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Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing – USA TODAY Sports

Just a measly four games tonight, but one may be a foreshadowing of the future for the King …

A rumor has been floating around that LeBron James is looking at schools in the Philadelphia area, which is good enough reason for me to paint a Sixers jersey on him. (For the record, LeBron denied the rumor on Thursday.)

Anywho, the King went off Tuesday against Brooklyn with a triple-double but didn’t do enough to cover the spread. (Slacker!) Can he and his new teammates get back on the cover train as small home favorites against Philly? Plus, our experts give you the goods for the other three games that don’t require a work of art. — Mark Gallant

All info as of Thursday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.

If there’s a specific matchup you want to jump to, click the quick links below. For live spreads and bet percentages, check out this page. Follow the latest injury info on our industry-leading news feed. To get access to our premium betting tools, subscribe here.

PHI-CLE | MIN-POR | Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate


The Main Events

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-2.5) | O/U: 222.5

8 p.m. ET | TNT

What the metrics say: Cleveland’s defense doesn’t seem to be fixed, as it has allowed more 115.0 points per 100 possessions in four of its past five games. In the Cavs’ most recent game vs. the lowly Nets, they gave up 123 points and especially struggled protecting the rim, allowing a 71.4% field-goal mark there. That seems … bad, especially with a meeting tonight vs. a 76ers squad that ranks fourth in the league in frequency of shots from the rim. Interestingly enough, in their first two meetings this year, the Cavs dominated the 76ers, allowing just 96.4 and 101.0 points/100. One of those was without Joel Embiid, however, and these are just very different teams at this point. Over their past 10 games, Philly ranks fifth with a +5.4 net rating. — Bryan Mears

DFS nugget: James has dominated since the Cavs jettisoned Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles, exceeding value in eight straight games on FanDuel. His salary on today’s slate has caught up to his recent production, jumping to $12,200 on FanDuel and $11,800 on DraftKings, but he still figures to be popular given his matchup with the 76ers. The Cavs lead the slate with an implied team total of 113.25, and LeBron has scored at least 58 DraftKings points in both of his previous matchups with the 76ers this season. — Matt LaMarca

Did you know? LeBron became the fourth player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a calendar month, putting up 27.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game in February. The impressive feat didn’t do much for the Cavs, who went 6-4 straight-up, or bettors (5-5 against the spread). — John Ewing

Trend to know: The Cavaliers are 21-9 SU (70%) and 6-23-1 ATS (20.7%) at home this season. How bad has it been? The Cavs have been favored by a total of 212 points at home this season (7.1 PPG); their ATS differential in those 30 games? Minus-218 points in total (-7.3 PPG). Under Tyronn Lue, the Cavs are covering just 39.6% of the time at home in the regular season. Since Lue became head coach in 2015, only Frank Vogel has been less profitable in this spot. — Evan Abrams


MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (-5.5) | O/U: 217.5

10:30 p.m. ET | TNT

What the metrics say: In the two games played since Jimmy Butler’s injury, the Wolves have been fine, scoring 115.4 and 124.2 points/100 in wins. Those were against the tanking Bulls and Kings, however, and they’ll have a much stiffer test against a Portland squad that ranks top-10 in defense. This is a fascinating matchup, as the Wolves’ athletes have dominated offensively around the rim, ranking third in the league in field-goal percentage there. They’ll match up against a Blazers defense that is the league’s best rim-protecting unit. Further, the Blazers are the second-best transition defense in the league, and that’s where Minnesota has found easy offense of late with Jeff Teague. The Wolves still have a ton of talent, but I’m expecting them to feel the pain of the Butler wound in a big way tonight. — Bryan Mears

DFS nugget: Andrew Wiggins may have gotten most of the attention after the injury to Jimmy Butler, but Jeff Teague is proving to be the biggest beneficiary. He’s seen a usage bump of 5.4 percent with Butler off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 36.17 DraftKings points per 36 minutes. Teague looks like a strong value today on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 86 percent. — Matt LaMarca

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Trend No. 1 to know: Against the Kings and Bulls without Butler, the Wolves not only won and covered both games, but they also covered the second-half spread — something Minnesota has struggled to do under Tom Thibodeau (42.1%). Over the past two seasons, only the Cavs have a worse second-half ATS win percentage than the Wolves. When Minnesota is listed as an underdog against a team over .500, its second-half ATS win percentage drops to 36.6% (15-26-2 ATS). — Evan Abrams

Trend No. 3 to know: The Timberwolves are 4-4 SU and ATS without Butler this season. In one of those eight games, Minnesota also played in Portland and lost as a 3.5-point underdog, 123-114. — Evan Abrams


Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate

LA LAKERS AT MIAMI HEAT (-5) | O/U: 216.5

7:30 p.m. ET

DFS nugget: The Heat are going to be the most popular team target of the day in DFS. They’re shorthanded, with both Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington already ruled out, and have an excellent matchup against the Lakers. Virtually the entire roster is in play, but Dwyane Wade stands out as perhaps the best value. He’s posted a usage rate of more than 38 percent with both Johnson and Ellington off the floor, resulting in a scorching 1.51 fantasy points per minute. — Matt LaMarca

Trend No. 1 to know: Welcome to March in South Beach: Since 2004, below-.500 SU teams on the road in March or later are 31-51-3 ATS (37.8%) in Miami — by far the least profitable location in the league during this span. — Evan Abrams

Trend No. 2 to know: The Lakers have won three straight. When a team with a losing record late in the season (March-April) goes on a winning streak (three or more games) it has gone 133-112-7 ATS (54%) in its next game. If that team plays an opponent with a winning record (like the Heat), the record improves to 67-48-3 ATS (58%). — John Ewing

BROOKLYN NETS (-2.5) AT SACRAMENTO KINGS | O/U: 213

10 p.m. ET

Trend No. 1 to know: When two terrible (.333 win rate or worse) nonconference teams meet, and each lost its previous game, which side do you bet? In this instance, following the crowd has been profitable: The team getting a majority of spread bets has gone 83-57-1 (59.3%) ATS since 2005. — John Ewing

Trend No. 2 to know: Another thing tends to happen when two bad nonconference teams meet: The game goes under. Over the past five seasons, when two teams with a win rate below .333 meet in a nonconference game, the under is 40-21-1 (65.6%), covering by more than 3 PPG. — Evan Abrams

Top photo via Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports