NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Thursday Game

NBA Betting, DFS Angles for Every Thursday Game article feature image

The NBA is becoming more and more like the WWE. I’m starting to believe that Adam Silver is writing scripts and we have players trying hard not to break kayfabe. While the Cavs take a break from their “we’re terrible” angle tonight, we can focus on four games. Perhaps the most dramatic element of the evening will be the “Paul George screw-job,” as Russell Westbrook is fuming that his teammate was snubbed from the All-Star game. How can bettors and DFS players profit on the madness? — Mark Gallant

If there’s a specific matchup you want to jump to, click the quick links below. All info is as of Thursday afternoon. 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.

SAC-MIA | WAS-OKC | NYK-DEN | MIN-GSW 


SACRAMENTO KINGS AT MIAMI HEAT (-9.5) | O/U: 201.5

7:30 p.m. ET

What I’m watching for: Welcome to the trade showcase! League sources indicated to CBS Sports this week that the Kings are looking to clear some cap room to help facilitate a George Hill trade, with some of the team’s younger players even included. There’s no telling what this rotation is going to look like as the Kings continue to drift aimlessly in basketball space like George Clooney in “Gravity.” — Matt Moore

What the metrics say: The Heat are well-coached and even if their offense has struggled a bit this year, ranking just 23rd in points per possession, the framework is still there. They rank fifth in the league in 3-point rate while the Kings rank dead last in opponent 3-point rate. Sacramento remains atrocious defensively, ranking dead last in points per possession and in the half court. With the Kings resting some of their veterans every night as they look ahead to the 2018 Draft, cross-country road games could get ugly. — Bryan Mears

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries to watch: De’Aaron Fox didn’t return Tuesday due to abdominal tightness, though he’s not expected to miss further time. The status of Zach Randolph is uncertain as he’s sat out three of the Kings’ last five games, which has cleared the way for Willie Cauley-Stein (37.5 DraftKings points per game) and Skal Labissiere (27.5 DK ppg) to step into expanded roles. Miami will likely welcome Goran Dragic (knee) and Tyler Johnson (ankle) back to the lineup. Dragic has had a notable impact on the Heat’s pace: With him off the floor, they’ve played at what would be the league’s slowest pace (95.48). — Justin Phan

Betting market: Bettors are going back to the well and hopping on the Kings once again. They covered as a trendy dog on Monday against the Hornets and upset the Magic on Tuesday behind 48% of spread bets. Tonight, they are getting 51% of bets and 68% of dollars. This dollar differential, along with two steam moves, has helped push them from +10 to +9. —Mark Gallant

DFS nugget: This game doesn’t have a ton of DFS appeal given the low total and likely slow pace, but one player who stands out as intriguing is Hassan Whiteside. The Kings are currently allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the center position on DraftKings, thanks in part to the fifth-lowest rebound rate in the league. Whiteside should also see some additional responsibilities on the offensive end of the court given the current injury situation in Miami: He’s seen the largest usage increase on the team with Johnson and Waiters off the court this season, averaging 53.13 DraftKings points per 36 minutes. — Matt LaMarca

Trend to know: The Kings (14-33, .298 win percentage) are last in the West but enter Thursday’s game against the Heat off a 105-99 win against the Magic on Tuesday. In the second half of the season, when a horrible team (win percentage of .300 or less) is coming off a victory, they have gone 211-275-8 (43.4%) ATS in their following game since 2005. — John Ewing


WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (-5) | O/U: 213.5

8 p.m. ET | TNT

What I’m watching for: The basketball version of the Spider Man pointing meme. Ball-dominant, hyper-athletic, non-shooter point guard? Check. Dynamic scoring wing? Check. International center known for bruising screens and one-handed dunks off the short roll? Check. Frustrating power forward who imagines his offensive role as greater than its realistic capacity? Check. These two teams are like a mirror image.

Watch out for how the Wizards manage off-ball switches. OKC has been running a lot more stuff off-ball to create havoc with the OK3.  If Washington naps like it usually does, things may get bad in a hurry. — Matt Moore

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What the metrics say: Matt was right about these teams being surprisingly similar. The Wizards and Thunder rank 11th and 10th this season in points per possession, respectively, and they both own top-10 defenses. They’re especially good defensively in the half court with their elite athletes and wing length. The Wizards do have one intriguing potential edge: They rank sixth in the league in transition offense. That’s been a weak spot for the Thunder’s defense, as they rank just 22nd defending in transition. If Wall & Co. can get things running, they could pull the road upset. — Bryan Mears

Injuries to watch: Otto Porter will be back in the Wizards’ starting lineup tonight. Porter has failed to exceed his salary-based expectation on DraftKings in five of his past six games, which could at least partially be attributed to the lingering hip issue. Things won’t get any easier with a brutal draw against a Thunder defense that recently got Andre Roberson back from injury. They’ve had the league’s best defense (96.6 DRtg) when he’s been on the court. — Justin Phan

Sharp action: This matchup sticks out from the rest of Thursday’s slate due to the developing sharps vs. public divide. As of Thursday afternoon, 71 percent of spread tickets had taken the Thunder, but our sharp money indicators picked up on multiple Steam and Reverse Line Moves at Washington +5 and +5.5. The steam move at Pinnacle, a sharp book, is what really caught my eye. Since the early steam, steady Thunder money has pushed the line back up to a consensus of 5 across the market and right back into the crosshairs of sharp bettors. — PJ Walsh

DFS nugget: There could be some value with Wizards’ starting backcourt at the moment on DraftKings. John Wall is currently priced at just $8,500, which results in a Bargain Rating of 98 percent when compared to his salary on FanDuel. He’s historically been a strong value with a comparable price tag, exceeding salary-based expectations by an average of 4.38 fantasy points per game. The same goes for Beal at $7,200, who has exceeded expectations by an average of 3.24 points with a comparable price tag. — Matt LaMarca

Prop we’re eyeing: Markieff Morris under 6.5 rebounds. It might be tempting to take the over considering Morris has grabbed eight and nine boards over the past two games. However, those games were against the Pistons and Mavericks, both of whom rank in the bottom half of the league in rebound rate. Dallas is especially atrocious, ranking dead last with a 47.3 percent mark this season. The Thunder are one of the best rebounding teams in the league, ranking third in total rebound rate and first by a mile on the offensive glass. Steven Adams is an absolute beast and perhaps the best rebounder in the league this season. As a result, we have Morris projected at just 4.8 boards tonight, which is significantly under his prop. — Bryan Mears

Check out FantasyLabs’ free player props tool here.

Trends to know: The Wizards and Thunder have been very different teams in these respective roles this season . . .

Wizards as underdogs:

  • SU: 9-6 (+$824 profit for a $100 bettor)
  • ATS: 11-4 (+$671)

Thunder as favorites:

  • SU: 23-19 (-$953)
  • ATS: 15-27 (-$1,279)

— Evan Abrams


NEW YORK KNICKS AT DENVER NUGGETS (-5.5) | O/U: 212.5

9 p.m. ET

Injuries to watch: It appears that Kristaps Porzingis (knee) will return to the lineup following a one-game absence as he said there’s a “74 percent” chance he’ll play. The Knicks are officially listing him and Kyle O’Quinn (calf) as questionable. It’s worth noting that Porzingis was diagnosed with anemia as a teenager and has struggled in the high-altitude cities of Denver and Utah. In his previous five games at those thin-air locales, he’s averaged just 14.8 points on 37.7 percent shooting. It’s not surprising then that the Knicks went just 1-4 in that sample. On the Nuggets side, Gary Harris (foot) and Kenneth Faried (ankle) are listed as questionable. — Justin Phan

Update: Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn will go through shootaround Thursday.

What I’m watching for: I’m really interested to see how Nikola Jokic is going to perform. Jokic has been caught between worlds and in his head this season. He has had very few moments where he’s looked like the star player the team built itself around. A huge performance from him could help lift them through the last two weeks before the All-Star break, get their mojo firmly back, and boost momentum heading into the home stretch when, oh by the way, they’ll get Paul Millsap back. — Matt Moore

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

DFS nugget: The Nuggets have shown a willingness to play Mason Plumlee next to Jokic recently, which increases his appeal for DFS purposes. Plumlee been a strong per-minute producer all season, averaging 0.99 fantasy points per minute, and he’s played at least 29 minutes in two of his past three games. At just $4,400 on DraftKings, that’s a lot of potential upside. — Matt LaMarca

What the metrics say: It’s the battle of the unicorns! Well, maybe … if Porzingis suits up. It will be interesting to see whether the Knicks can keep this game competitive if he doesn’t, as they’ve been much worse both offensively and defensively without him on the floor. The Knicks, for all their flaws, have very real strengths: They can be dominant on the boards with their frontcourt, and they’re the second-best team at protecting the rim. On the other side of the ball, the Nuggets are the third-worst team at defending the rim. The Knicks could potentially win in the paint, although that’s unlikely without their stud big man. — Bryan Mears

Did you know? The Knicks’ starting-five last time they won in Denver were Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, and Stephon Marbury. — Evan Abrams


MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (-11) | O/U: 227.5

10:30 p.m. ET | TNT

Injuries to watch: The Wolves have yet to update the status of Jimmy Butler, who sat out the first leg of their back-to-back and has missed the past three games with a knee injury. Andrew Wiggins has been exceptional in his absence, combining a 31.8 percent usage rate with a 63.7 true shooting percentage. The Warriors defense has slipped in January (108.8 DRtg, 21st), but this is still a tough spot in a road back-to-back against the likes of Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson. The Warriors list Thompson (glute) as probable and Patrick McCaw (back) as questionable. — Justin Phan

DFS nugget: Despite their strong record, the Timberwolves have been one of the weaker teams all season in terms of defensive efficiency. The result is an implied team total of 119.75 points for the Warriors, which is high even for their lofty standards. Steph Curry has historically thrived in these types of games, exceeding salary-based expectations by an average of 4.31 points when playing at home with a comparable implied team total. He’s a stronger value today on FanDuel, where his $9,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent. — Matt LaMarca

What I’m watching for: This one is fascinating. It feels like the Wolves have had great success against the juggernaut in the Karl-Anthony Towns era. In reality, they’re 2-6. Still, the Wolves are one of the best teams in the league this season and present specific matchup issues for the Warriors. It’ll be a shame if Butler misses this game. He had success vs. Golden State in Chicago and the Wolves have some matchups where they can take advantage.

Green hasn’t known what the hell to do vs. Towns, who is one of the few players big and skilled enough to keep Green off-balance with his perimeter threat, size, and touch inside. The Warriors started doubling Towns in recent meetings, which opens up things for shooters like Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. If Towns consistently wins his matchup, that allows a Wolves team that struggles with keeping up from the 3-point department more likely to hang around. — Matt Moore

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

What the metrics say: These are two of the top three offenses in the league, although the Wolves are certainly not the same without Butler. Still, they have weapons, and their two-big lineups could pose problems for Golden State. The Warriors rank just 27th in defensive rebound rate and the Wolves are the fifth-best team in the league on the offensive glass. The Warriors will certainly clamp down defensively in the half court — they’re a top-five unit in that regard — and the Wolves could be less efficient with Andrew Wiggins taking on a bigger creator role. Towns and Gibson will need to make their presence felt in a big way if the Wolves want to hang around on the road.   Bryan Mears

Trend No. 1 to know: In the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors are the most profitable team (35-24-3 ATS, +$899) in our database when facing an opponent on the second night of a back-to-back. — John Ewing

Trend No. 2 to know: In the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors are 50-31-1 (61.7%) ATS in the regular season against the league’s best teams (win percentage of .600 or higher). $100 bettors would have returned a profit of $1,665 wagering on the Dubs. — John Ewing

Top photo via Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports