NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Pistons-Kings, 3 More Thursday Games

NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Pistons-Kings, 3 More Thursday Games article feature image

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

  • Our NBA experts offer their favorite betting picks for Thursday's four-game NBA slate.
  • You'll find a number of intriguing betting angles, including historical trends, matchup analysis and why the Kings should roll the Pistons.

There are four games on tap Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. That means there are plenty of betting opportunities in the marketplace. Let’s dive into some of our experts’ favorite wagers.

This piece will cover the following games:

  • Boston Celtics at Miami Heat: 7 p.m. ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs: 9:30 p.nm. ET
  • Detroit Pistons at Sacramento Kings: 10 p.m. ET


Rob Perez: Thunder -1.5 at Spurs

This is a pure spot and number play, as the Spurs probably didn’t get back to San Antonio until 1-2 a.m. on Wednesday night after the game in Memphis.

The Thunder are coming off a gut-wrenching loss at home to Minnesota and ALL SEASON long have come for blood after they blow a game.

The Spurs have been great as of late, especially at home, but those old tired legs playing their second game in 24 hours against arguably one of the most athletic teams in the league is fresh meat.

I know Westbrook can’t shoot right now, and Gregg Popovich is going to exploit this as brutally as possible — but one thing Westbrook CAN do is Westbrook the hell out of his enemy: Relentless effort, off-ball play and creating havoc.

There’s a reason why this team is so good despite its best player not being able to hit water if he fell out of a boat. Charmeleon evolves into Charizard tonight. Westbrook finally has his Muscle Flexbrook moment.

Ken Barkley: Kings -5 vs. Pistons

It’s incredible how many times there’s been value on the Kings this season. And I say incredible because, well, they’re the Kings.

This is a team that usually takes value and trades it to a contender for a first-round pick that turns into a bust. But on the other side, the Pistons have been one of the absolute worst teams in the NBA in the last week … two weeks … month — however you want to divvy it up, they’re bad.

They are 5-15 since the start of December. The defense has been particularly bad, as the Pistons have allowed a 115 Defensive Rating or higher to an opponent four times in the past couple weeks. Yikes.

Now on a road back-to-back, having lost to the Lakers on Wednesday night, the Pistons head to Sacramento to face a Kings team that is frankly just better than they are.

Using efficiencies from recent play, I would make the Kings -10. With a bad travel/fatigue spot for Detroit as well, I like Sacramento at this number.

John Ewing: Heat +2.5 vs. Celtics

The Heat have lost and failed to cover in back-to-back games. Casual bettors are jumping ship and loading up on the Celtics.

More than 80% of spread tickets and dollars are on Boston as of writing (see live data here), helping move the line from C’s -1 to -2.5.

Since we began tracking spread dollars percentages in 2015, when a team has received 30% or fewer of bets and dollars and the line has moved against them by one or more points (like Miami), they have gone 93-54-3 (63%) against the spread.

I’m fading the public and betting the Heat to bounce back.

Bryan Mears: Andre Drummond over 14.5 rebounds (-145)

First, Drummond is averaging 15.0 rebounds per game, which means an average game will hit the over on this prop.

>>See Drummond’s rebound projections and many more in our Player Props tool.

Second, the matchup is a beautiful one. He’s going up against the Kings, who rank 26th in overall rebound rate and specifically 27th on the defensive glass. They’re allowing a ton of rebounds to opposing centers, mostly because Willie Cauley-Stein is one of the worst rebounding centers in the league with a 15.8% rebound rate.

Further, as mentioned in our NBA Injury Report, the Pistons are going to emphasize making this game a halfcourt affair. That will 1) hurt the Kings’ biggest offensive strength and 2) limit easy shots that are unlikely to be rebounded by slower-moving bigs.

The juice is already high at -145, but I’d have no problem betting it even if the prop moves up to over/under 15 rebounds.