NBA Odds & Betting Picks: How To Bet Raptors vs. Celtics & Pacers vs. Pistons on Thursday Night
Lauren Bacho/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Malcolm Brogdon #7, Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA season rolls on Thursday night with a five-game slate headlined by two intriguing national TV matchups: Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets (7:30 p.m. ET) and Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are betting spreads in two other games on tonight’s slate. You can find their analysis and picks on those games below.
Raptors vs. Celtics
Raheem Palmer: The Toronto Raptors have finally appeared to hit their stride this season, winning five of their past six games, including two straight against the Grizzlies and Wizards. Unfortunately we can’t say the same for the Boston Celtics who have lost two straight, including five out of their past seven.
When you dig deeper, you realize these teams’s haven’t exactly played equal schedules. The Celtics have played some of the league’s premier teams (Spurs, Lakers, Suns and Jazz) while the Raptors were able to beat up on weaker squads (Grizzlies, Wizards and Magic). Nevertheless it’s telling that the oddsmakers have the Celtics has 3.5-point favorites in this matchup given how both of these teams have been playing.
I agree with the market here as this matchup has historically been bad for the Raptors given the length of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the wings against Toronto’s combination of small guards. While Marcus Smart is out for this matchup, I think this is a good spot for the Celtics against a Raptors team that is in their final game of a six-game road trip.
With the Raptors playing in Washington last night and Memphis on Monday night, the Celtics have a rest advantage against a team who’s number they’ve had. Unfortunately for Raptors fans I’m not seeing any revenge for their Eastern Conference semifinals loss in the bubble. I’ll play the Celtics here.
Pacers vs. Pistons
Brandon Anderson: The Pacers have lost nine of their past 13 games, with six of those losses coming by at least eight points. Indiana has lost four games in a row — its most recent loss came just last night against the Nets (without Kevin Durant) who doubled them up in the first half.
The Pacers remain shorthanded with T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert sidelined, and now they are playing the second night of a back-to-back. So, there are plenty of reasons to be careful here.
Now let me give you my counter argument: They’re playing the Detroit Pistons.
At 6-18, the Pistons have the fewest wins in the NBA. They probably aren’t quite as bad as their record looks — they tend to hang around awhile before falling apart late once opponents show up — but the Pistons definitely aren’t good. The Pistons are young and inexperienced, and they just traded one of their few positive players in Derrick Rose.
Here are the opponents for those nine Pacers losses over this recent stretch: Clippers, Mavericks, Raptors, Hornets, 76ers, Bucks, Pelicans, Jazz, and Nets. It’s not exactly embarrassing. The only two bad losses on the list are the Hornets and Pels, and both of those were by one bucket.
The Pacers have played seven games this season against teams outside the play-in threshold in each conference. They’re 6-1 in those games, winning comfortably in four of them.
The Pacers are better than the 4-9 team they’ve been over the past few weeks, and the Pistons are the perfect opponent to get them a win and get back on track. It probably won’t be easy, but I’ll trust Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner to grind out a win late if things are close.
I’d play Indiana to -3.5.