Thursday NBA Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Mavericks vs. Suns, Bucks vs. Grizzlies, More (Aug. 13)

Credit:

Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

  • Looking to bet Thursday's crucial NBA games? Our staff breaks down their favorite plays on the slate.
  • From Bucks moneyline to the Nets team total, here's how they're betting it.

The NBA seeding games reach a pivotal point on Thursday with four teams — Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs — are all vying for either the No. 8 seed or the final play-in spot out West.

Tonight’s games could be the deciding factor for what has turned out to be a highly entertaining postseason push in the bubble (here’s a link to how every potential scenario would play out).

Where’s the value? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and has found angles in these games:

  • 4 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • 4 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
  • 9 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets

Thursday NBA Betting Picks


Odds via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Raheem Palmer: Bucks vs. Grizzlies

Bucks odds +3.5 [BET NOW]
Grizzlies odds -3.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +130/-155 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 227.5 [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass 

I personally like to fade teams in must-win games because I believe the market rarely prices them properly. In these spots, I like to wait for the public money to come in and get the best price I can on the opposing team. My logic has always been that if a team finds itself in a must-win game, they’re not very good. Typically that means there’s value on the OTHER side.

Oddsmakers opened this line at Bucks -5 and it has since been bet down to Bucks +1. With a full strength Bucks team and Antetokounmpo in the lineup, this line would be double-digits. Giannis is certainly worth an upwards of five points to the spread, but at some point, you have to ask, what is a fair adjustment on this particular game?

The Bucks may have nothing to play for, but I still believe they’re still the better team. At the current line of +1.5, it’s Bucks or pass; there’s no value laying -1.5 with a struggling Grizzlies team in a must win spot. If you’re looking for a solid contrarian play today, the Bucks are your answer.

The PICK: Milwaukee Bucks ML (+123)

[Bet $20+ on the Bucks at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one 3-pointer]


Brandon Anderson: Mavericks vs. Suns

Mavericks odds +9.5 [BET NOW]
Suns odds -9.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +360/-455 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 235 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV TNT 

We made it … almost. Two weeks of 10-hour basketball days later, we’re in the home stretch with our first ever NBA play-in game is in sight.

The Phoenix Suns are playing the best basketball of any of the West’s No. 8-seed contenders. Heck, they’re playing the best basketball of any team in the bubble right now, which is kind of obvious considering they can to finish the seeding games as the only undefeated team.

The Dallas Mavericks have zero to play for here, and I expect them to rest or limit most of their key players. I’m very happy to live bet the Suns at halftime if they’ve fallen behind, still believing they’ll get the job done late.

The Suns have to win this game to keep their playoffs hopes alive, and the Portland Trail Blazers don’t play until late so there’s no chance of them being eliminated before tip off. The Suns will find a way, and considering they have four bubble wins by 13 or more points already, I think they win with ease against a Mavs team with interests elsewhere.

If you can find it, my favorite bet of the day is on Phoenix winning the play-in and making the West playoffs. The Suns are the better team right now, and if the Blazers stumble at all, this thing could really go the Suns’ way. I give them around a 21% chance of making the actual playoffs. They’re still a long shot right now, but not as long as it seems. If you can find it, play it.

Everyone jumped on the Suns this morning so the line right now isn’t offering much value, but I’d play it again if it drops to -8.5 or below. But you might be better off hoping for another slow start and live betting Phoenix in a lull. They will certainly do their part.

The Pick: Bet the Suns Live 

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]


Matt Moore: Trail Blazers vs. Nets

Trail Blazers odds -9.5 [BET NOW]
Nets odds +9.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -455/+360 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 236.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV TNT 

The Trail Blazers have all the motivation in the world, the Brooklyn Nets don’t. But the Nets took Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen off the injury report yesterday.

They may not play the whole game. But here’s the thing: the Nets have the seventh-best location eFG% in the bubble, and the eighth-best actual eFG%. What this means is that they take the eighth most efficient shots, and they allow the third-least efficient. They cover the 3-point line very well.

The Blazers, meanwhile, are a defensive disaster. They allow the seventh-most efficient shots and the second-best effective field goal percentage.

What I am trying to tell you is that the Nets are likely to keep this closer than you’d think. But I’m worried about the Blazers just surging forward with offense this close to making a playoff spot. If the Blazers win, they’re in.

So I’m trusting the Blazers defense to continue to suck, and the Nets offense, no matter who is playing, to create good shots. I also have a soft lean towards the Nets +10 and down to as low as +9.

The Pick: Nets team total over 113 (Bet up to 114.5)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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