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NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Thursday’s Best Bets, Including Rockets-Spurs, Nuggets-Trail Blazers

NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Thursday’s Best Bets, Including Rockets-Spurs, Nuggets-Trail Blazers article feature image
Credit:

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray (27), Aaron Gordon (50) and Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets.

  • There are only three games on the slate tonight, but there's still plenty of value to be found.
  • Our experts have found a trio of bets worth backing.
  • Continue reading for their best bets and analysis.

It’s a relatively quiet Thursday in the NBA. There are only three games to bet: Clippers vs. Heat (7:30 p.m. ET), Rockets vs. Spurs (8:30 p.m. ET) and Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).

Our betting analysts have two best bets for Thursday featuring a player prop and a moneyline play. Check out our expert picks and predictions for those matchups below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. ET
Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m. ET
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
10 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Clippers +6.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA TV

Chris Baker: The Clippers have multiple wing defenders who can switch onto either Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro. Their defense should also do a good job of limiting Bam Adebayo and the Heat’s second chance opportunities as they rank seventh in Rim Rate Allowed and 12th in Defensive Rebound Rate.

On the flip side, the Clippers should be able to get up lots of threes against this Heat defense that ranks dead-last in 3-Point Rate. The Heat specialize in taking away the rim, but the Clippers aren’t really a rim-heavy team. The Clippers offense ranks 12th in 3-Point Rate and I expect them to be able to hoist plenty of threes against this league’s worst three point rate defense.

The Clippers have been awfully disappointing this season, but with all of the talent on this team you have to think it turns around at some point. This is a great spot for them off of a loss in Orlando where they don’t really have to travel for this road game.

I think this is a terrific buy-low spot and I would recommend the Clippers at any number above +5 — even with Kawhi Leonard out — and also encourage people to buy their ML at +190 or better.


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Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs

Pick
Jabari Smith o2.5 3-Pointers
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Munaf Manji: Jabari Smith Jr., the 2022 No. 3 overall pick, is making strides to improve his game by the day. Smith has been inconsistent so far as most rookies are, averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, but the one area in which Smith Jr. has been consistent is his 3-point shooting.

He is shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc this season and over the last five games, he’s up to 52.2% from deep. Smith Jr. is doing a great job of finding the open spots on the floor and shooting 3s. He leads the Rockets in Open (4-6 feet of space) 3-point attempts and he shooting 41.7% on Wide Open (6 or more feet of space) 3s, this season. He has cleared this line in 10 of his 23 games this season has hit three 3-pointers in seven of the last eight games.

Tonight the Rockets visit their in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, one of the worst perimeter defensive teams in the entire league. They rank dead last in opponent 3-point percentage (39.9%) and 25th in Opponent 3-point Makes (13.1) despite being 11th in Opponent 3-Point Attempts. I expect Smith to continue to find success behind the arc again tonight.


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Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Pick
Nuggets ML (-104)
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA TV

Chris Baker: I wrote more about this in today’s Nuggets-Blazers game guide. Denver should play with much more urgency off of three straight losses and they do have a decided advantage down-low at the rim.

The Trail Blazers have been awful defending the rim and just allowed the Pacers to shoot 46% of their shots at the rim in their most recent game. Indiana doesn’t even attack the rim as much as the nuggets who rank eighth in rim rate and I expect Jokic, Aaron Gordon, and Jamal Murray to have a field day attacking the rim and drawing fouls.

The Nuggets are a team that I want to be backing when they are motivated and I think they will come out with urgency in this one. Back the Nuggets on the moneyline at -115 or better on Thursday night.


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