Thursday’s NBA Expert Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Heat vs. Suns

Thursday’s NBA Expert Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Heat vs. Suns article feature image
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1).

Thursday’s slate features just four games, but each one has interesting an interesting matchup. The surprisingly good Miami Heat will face the even more surprising Phoenix Suns.

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard will face the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center after resting on Wednesday. Our NBA crew has found value in both matchups and analyzed how their betting each game below.


Odds as of Thursday at 5 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


Matt Moore: Heat at Suns

  • Spread: Suns -1
  • Total: 218.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

The Suns are undefeated against the spread to start the season. That’s as much a signal of where the market and public are with the Suns as their performance. What’s more, the public has been on the Suns only once this season — vs. the Grizzlies, via Sports Insights.

The Suns opened as a pick ’em vs. the Heat, who are coming off a beating from the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night, and it moved quickly to Suns -1.5. But that was with 50% of the bets on Miami. It was the money that moved it: 70% of the early money Wednesday night came in on the Suns, moving it 1.5 points.

There’s a good chance it moves further toward the Suns, although it has settled back at -1 as of Thursday morning.

On the basketball side, something stood out in Miami’s profile going into this week. The Heat led the league in two categories entering Tuesday’s demolition by Denver. They were No. 1 in Net Rating (now 4th). They were also No. 1 in turnover rate (as in, they turned the ball over the highest percentage of their possessions). They are still No. 1 in that category.

Now there’s Phoenix. The Suns are No. 1 in points off turnovers per 100 possessions created, and they allow the 12th fewest.

The Suns have played a tough home schedule and have gone 3-1 with a +8.2 Net Rating. The Heat’s Net Rating is built almost entirely on their home performance, boosted by the ass-kicking they gave the Rockets last weekend when Houston was, ahem, in South Beach for the weekend.

The Suns are still underrated and the Heat are a bit overrated to start the season. The money is a reflection of that, and the number could get bigger prior to game time.

The PICK:Suns (-1) | Suns over 109.5 team total

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Brandon Anderson: Trail Blazers at Clippers

  • Spread: Clippers -5.5
  • Total: 231.5
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Kawhi Leonard was the talk of the NBA Wednesday for all the wrong reasons, already missing a second game in two weeks to load management. Now it might be time for Kawhi to silence the critics against a Blazers team that has no real matchup for him.

Leonard won’t be load managing tonight. He’s coming off three days of rest and has three more days off before his next game, so he should get a full run. Kawhi’s minutes load already ticked up to 34 his last two games, and he’s averaging career highs across the board at 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists a game.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2).

Our Player Props tool is all over Kawhi tonight, and Leonard looks like a great props and DFS play and should be the star of the night. Our tool rates Kawhi’s over 4.5 assists (-106), over 7.5 rebounds (+100), and over 27.5 points (-143) all as nine or 10 out of 10 rated bets, and you know what? We’re taking them all. If two hit, we’re good. If we get all three, we’re golden.

Leonard needs a big night and should see plenty of minutes and production. Sorry Kyle Lowry, but tonight KLOE stands for Kawhi Leonard Over Everything.

The PICK:Kawhi Leonard Over 27.5 points | Over 4.5 assists (-106) | Over rebounds 7.5 rebounds (+100)

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]