NBA Odds & Best Bets: 3 Picks for Nuggets vs. Magic, Bucks vs. Lakers

NBA Odds & Best Bets: 3 Picks for Nuggets vs. Magic, Bucks vs. Lakers article feature image
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Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Thursday's NBA slate features four games after all of the trade deadline chaos.
  • Our staff came through with three best bets for Thursday's NBA slate, including picks for Nuggets vs. Magic and Bucks vs. Lakers.
  • Check out all three NBA best bets for Thursday night's games below.

Thursday may mark the NBA trade deadline, but there are still four games on tonight's docket.

Our staff found a way to navigate all of the chaos to come through with three best bets for Thursday night's slate in the Association.

Whether you're looking for trade intel just before the deadline passes or just want to bet some games, Action Network has you covered.


NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Nuggets vs. Magic
7 p.m. ET
Nuggets vs. Magic
7 p.m. ET
Bucks vs. Lakers
10 p.m. ET

Nuggets vs. Magic

Pick
Magic +6.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: In the midst of the trade deadline whirlwind, there is still some value to be had on the board.

The Magic play the Nuggets in Orlando tonight, and I think they’re being undervalued because of Denver’s elite play at home this season (19-10-1 against the spread).

On the road, the Nuggets haven’t been nearly as dominant (10-15 ATS), while the Magic are in their better home/away split in Orlando (16-11 ATS).

The Magic have also covered the spread in the last four meetings against the Nuggets.

If we dig a little deeper, the reasoning becomes a bit clearer based on the way Orlando matches up with Denver defensively. Denver shoots the highest percentage of its buckets in the paint, ranking fifth in rim rate (37.7%). However, it's one of the rare elite teams that doesn’t kill you with a barrage of 3s, ranking just 22nd in 3-point rate.

Then you have the Magic, who rank eighth in opponent rim rate (32.2%) but are susceptible to 3-pointers, sitting just 28th in 3-pointers allowed (39.8%).

The Nuggets are also the most efficient transition offense in the league (135.4), but the Magic allow the eighth-lowest offensive rating to opposing teams in transition (124.9).

Jamal Murray is questionable tonight with right knee inflammation and could miss his third straight game. With the trade deadline in full effect, Denver has already acquired Thomas Bryant for Davon Reed and three second-round picks.

Action Network's PRO feature has tracked sharp money on Orlando, so I don't imagine this line will get any better. I'll still confidently take the Magic at +4 or better.


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Nuggets vs. Magic

Pick
Aaron Gordon Over 2.5 Assists
Book
DraftKings

Joe Dellera: Aaron Gordon has seen his role shift a bit over the last few weeks, and he’s stepped up a bit as a facilitator as this offense has begun to gel.

Over the last 10 games, Gordon is averaging 4.4 assists per game compared to 2.6 over the entire season, and his potential assists have increased as well. He’s exceeded his 2.5 assists line in eight of his last 10 games.

I like this spot against his former team, the Magic, as well.

He’s exceeded this line in 3-of-3 games against Orlando the last two seasons. His size and versatility are critical against a Magic team with length and versatility.

He should find success dishing and making the right pass tonight.


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Bucks vs. Lakers

Pick
1H Under 118
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Editor's note: LeBron James has been ruled out of tonight's game between the Bucks and Lakers.

Malik Smith: After a whirlwind start to the NBA trade deadline, LeBron James breaking the NBA's scoring record feels like it happened weeks ago.

Betting a team on deadline day that just made a significant trade is not fun, but I think that trade will have a direct impact on this game.

Russell Westbrook, who has been sent to Utah, was the engine for the Lakers off the bench. He was a huge part of the Lakers pushing the pace on offense when he was on the floor, but without him, I think L.A. will play a bit slower, which is what James prefers.

Not to mention, the players the Lakers just traded for likely won't suit up tonight, so they have one less scorer coming off their bench.

This season, the Lakers and Bucks have both been solid first-half under bets. Since Jan. 1, the first-half under is 13-6 in Lakers games — the best mark in the league over that span.

With one less scorer and James coming off an emotional game Tuesday, I expect the Lakers will play at a much slower pace to try and keep themselves in this game early.

This line opened a 119.5, and I think there's still value down to 117.

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