NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Hawks vs. Pacers and Grizzlies vs. Pistons (Thursday, May 6)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
- Less than half of the league is in action on Thursday night, but some of the biggest stars play each other in national television games on TNT.
- Our NBA analysts are focusing their attentions on two games that both involve a would-be playoff team on the road.
- See which sides they are backing as the NBA season grows ever closer to the playoffs.
We’ve got a busy Thursday in the NBA with two star-studded national TV games on TNT: Nets vs. Mavericks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Lakers vs. Clippers (10 p.m. ET). We’ve also got a pivotal game for the bottom of the East play-in bracket with the Wizards facing the Raptors in Tampa.
Our NBA analysts Raheem Palmer and Brandon Anderson each have a separate play for you on the card. You can check out each of their selections below, complete with their detailed analysis supporting those picks.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers
Brandon Anderson: It sure feels like the Indiana Pacers are done in their hunt for the postseason.
Reports leaked Wednesday morning that first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren had trouble fitting in with the Pacers and that his future could be in jeopardy, and by the time the day ended, it was pretty clear that was the case.
With Indiana desperate for any win to stay in the play-in race, the Pacers were blown out by the Sacramento Kings with players openly challenging coaches on the court.
Goga Bitadze drills a three and tells his assistant coach Greg Foster to “sit the f*** down”. Foster took exception to that. pic.twitter.com/AYbaBmsfzF
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) May 6, 2021
The ship may have sailed on this team, and now they have to go back out less than a day later against a far better Hawks team. The Hawks have a pretty solid case as the fourth-best team in the East, but they got blown out twice by the Sixers in back-to-back games at the end of April and seem to have thrown books off the scent.
Atlanta has improved its defense to passable with Clint Capela out there, and the offense has taken a huge leap forward once their players got healthy and the team found its way under Nate McMillan. Oh right, McMillan — the guy who was coaching these very Pacers a season ago at this time before things ended badly with similar reports. You think he might want to get a win in a game like this?
Atlanta is the far better offensive team, and with Myles Turner missing, the Hawks might be the better defensive team too. The Pacers are on the second night of a back-to-back and have the look of a team that is ready for this season to be over. The Hawks have won three games by 60 points combined since those Sixers losses, including one of their best wins of the season last night over the Suns.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Detroit Pistons
Raheem Palmer: The Detroit Pistons have done what smart organizations decide to do when they’re losing towards the end of the season: rest their starters to attain the highest draft pick. That means there’s no Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee or Josh Jackson. Instead, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and the young players who need experience will play to keep Detroit from ruining its future draft position.
Although it’s certainly helped to achieve their goal of not ruining their draft position, it hasn’t created the best basketball as the Pistons are scoring just 107.6 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes over the past two weeks, according to Cleaning the Glass (25th in the NBA over that span).
The Pistons haven’t scored 110 points or more since April 16 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are also resting their best players to better their future draft picks.
The Pistons are matched up against a Grizzlies defense that ranks ninth in Defensive Rating (111.4) in its non-garbage time minutes and seventh in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (62.5%) — an area where the Pistons are taking the eighth-highest frequency of field goals (35.8%).
Although the Grizzlies are solid defensively, they aren’t very good on offense and they’re highly reliant on floaters and mid-range jumpers. The Grizzlies rank 17th in Offensive Rating (111.8), and over the past two weeks, this offense has fallen off a cliff, ranking 26th and scoring just 106.9.
With the Grizzlies on a back-to-back, we could see some tired legs here. My model makes this game 220.5 so at 222.5 I think there’s some value on the under.