NBA Expert Betting Picks (Thursday, March 5): Our Staff’s Best Bets for Nuggets-Hornets, Raptors-Warriors, More

Credit:

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors guarded by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.

  • Our staff identifies their favorite bets for Thursday's NBA slate, including Clippers-Rockets (8 p.m. ET, TNT) and Raptors-Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET)
  • Do the surging Clippers have what it takes to defend the Rockets' new small lineup? Will the Warriors cover with Steph Curry returning?
  • See the full betting breakdown below.

There are just four games on Thursday’s light NBA schedule and our experts are betting on all four matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets at Charlotte Hornets
  • 8 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets
  • 10 p.m. ET: Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings 
  • 10:30 p.m. ET: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors

See the bets they’re making below.

Thursday NBA Betting Picks


Odds as of Thursday and 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.


John Ewing: Nuggets at Hornets

  • Spread: Nuggets -10
  • Over/Under: 207.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Hornets are 5.5 games out of a playoff spot in the East. Charlotte’s point differential is closer to the Warriors, the worst team in the league, than the Magic who are currently the No. 8-seed in the East.

The Hornets are double-digit underdogs at home to the Nuggets who are one game behind the Clippers for the No. 2-seed in the West.

The Hornets’ season has fallen apart while the Nuggets have everything to play for. History suggests you should fade bad teams like Charlotte down the stretch.

A $100 bettor following this strategy has returned a profit of $8,319 since 2005.

The Nuggets opened as 9.5-point favorites and have been bet up to -10. Line movement and history suggest fading the Hornets.

The PICK: Nuggets -10
[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Wob: Clippers at Rockets 

  • Spread: Clippers -1
  • Over/Under: 236.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

Books can’t possibly be serious hanging a plus in front of the Clippers right now against anybody. LA opened as a dog before moving to a small favorite earlier today, but you could trot out the ’92 Dream Team and I would still back LA. The simple fact is that they are the O-Negative blood of the NBA, they can adapt to any situation and be better at whatever style you prefer to play.

I’m not trying to demean the Rockets’ small-ball achievement, Mike D’Antoni has pivoted to an unprecedented basketball experiment and it’s working better than anybody imagined! Hell, even the defense hasn’t suffered a single decimal point — their defensive efficiency in the games since the small-ball implementation is equal to the number during the games before.

But this is a different animal. You’re not getting away with gimmick basketball against a closing lineup that features Lou Williams, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., and Montrezl Harrell.

The Houston Rockets have been driving their Ferrari on this NBA autobahn for a couple weeks obstacle free and the Clippers are a giant pothole in the middle of the road claiming any victim daring to drive over their path. They force teams to play half-court, isolation basketball like we see in the playoffs and they are simply better at it than everyone else.

The Rockets are great at taking advantage of teams with a traditional big man, but if they’re forced to fight fire with fire against a team wielding an inferno of closers and wingspans that can suffocate James Harden … it’s going to get ugly.

The PICK: Clippers -1
[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Brandon Anderson: 76ers at Kings Odds

  • Spread: 76ers -5.5
  • Over/Under: 218.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

At first glance, you see this line and recoil in shock. The Philadelphia 76ers are a 5-point underdog? Against the Sacramento Kings?! The same 76ers who are supposed to be title contenders, and the same Kings who have disappointed all season (and decade, for that matter).

But look look past your expectations and presumptions. Let me tell you about a team. This team features a lead scorer who is ridiculous overpriced on a max contract and doesn’t always contribute a ton outside of points.

There’s a terrific big man on the wrong side of his prime who hasn’t had a great year and would be better with more talent around him. There are unknown guards playing big minutes, taking a ton of shots. Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III man the wings.

Did I just describe the current 76ers? Or the team with the worst record all season out in Golden State?

And as for those bumbling Kings? They’re 4-1 over their past five, 7-3 over their last 10, 12-8 over their last 20, and right in the thick of the Western playoff hunt. Philly, on the other hand, has not won a single road game since Jan. 20. Since then they’ve lost nine straight, all of them by double digits except for one random night when Shake Milton went off for seven threes and 39 points.

Look past the jersey and the expectations and the narrative. This version of the Sixers, down three starters, on the road is just not very good at basketball.

The PICK: Kings -5.5
[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Matt LaMarca: Raptors at Warriors

  • Spread: Raptors -8.5
  • Over/Under: 225.5
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

The big headline in this contest is the return of Steph Curry, but there are still questions about how much he will actually play. The Warriors own the worst record in basketball at 14-48, so there’s no reason to push their franchise player too much in their first game back. Even if he does see a healthy amount of minutes, there’s no guarantee that he’s going to look like the former two-time MVP right out of the gates.

The Warriors could also be without Draymond Green, who is listed as questionable after missing five of the previous six games with an injury.

If Green and Curry aren’t playing at full strength, who’s gonna pick up the slack on this roster? Mychal Mulder? Juan Toscano-Anderson? Marquese Chriss? Those are three very real basketball players who started in the Warriors’ last game.

The Raptors are also dealing with some injuries at the moment — Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Fred VanVleet are all questionable — but they are much more equipped to handle their potential absences. The Raptors have been playing without Gasol for quite some time now, and they’ve actually been worse with Ibaka and VanVleet on the court than off the court this season.

The PICK: Raptors -8.5
[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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