NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Thursday’s Best Bets, Including Mavericks-Lakers
Via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts with Thomas Bryant #31 after drawing a foul on a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena on December 30, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
- There's value on Thursday's West Coast NBA matchups.
- Our experts have a pair of plays on the 10 p.m. ET games, including a spread pick for Mavericks vs. Lakers.
- Find their best bets and predictions below.
The NBA regular season continues on Thursday, and our betting experts have a pair of picks for the late night games at 10 p.m. ET. Andrew O'Connor-Watts is playing the spread in Mavericks vs. Lakers while Chris Baker is targeting the total in Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers. Find their best bets and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Mavericks vs. Lakers
Andrew O'Connor-Watts: I'm all over the Lakers on Thursday. I broke down this matchup in my game guide and gave out the Lakers first-half spread as a 1.5 unit play. Since then, I bet the Lakers full-game spread, also at 1.5 units.
I like the way LA matches up against Dallas, although one area for concern is the Mavericks' relentless 3-point shooting, which ranks eighth in frequency (33.4%), per Cleaning the Glass. The Lakers are just 17th in 3s allowed, which makes them a bit susceptible to a high-volume shooting team like the Mavericks. However, the Lakers recently beat a Kings team that also shoots a lot of 3s and still came away with a road win.
I really like the Lakers' ability to attack down low–something the Mavs defense is ill-equipped to combat. The Lakers take the highest percentage of shots at the rim of any team in the league (39.6%), but the Mavericks are just 17th in preventing them (34.2%).
These two teams played on Christmas Day, and in the third quarter, the Mavericks tied the record for most points in a quarter this season at 51.
That game was played in Dallas, and I think home court advantage for the Lakers plus the added revenge factor will be extra motivation for LeBron James and his squad. In the last 10 games, the Lakers are 6-3-1 against the spread at home, while the Mavericks are just 3-7 on the road, according to EV Analytics.
Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers
Chris Baker: The Trail Blazers have struggled on offense lately as they have played four straight games with sub-110 Offensive Ratings. Most of their offensive struggles can be chalked up to outlier shooting as they have shot under 30% from 3 in all four of those games and below average at the rim in three of the four. The good news is that they are still getting great shots as they attempted more than 40% of their shots at the rim in three of those four games as well.
This Portland team is due for some massive positive shooting regression, and this may be a good spot for them to get right as the Cavaliers are pretty lacking in terms of guard defenders. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are certainly formidable offensive catalysts, but they both leave a lot to be desired as on-ball defenders. T
hat is not a formula for success when going up against this guard tandem of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. Simons and Lillard are also defensive liabilities, so expect Garland and Mitchell to have the same sort of advantage when they are on offense.
The Trail Blazers' inability to defend the rim also lends value to the over. Portland ranks dead-last in the NBA in opponent Rim Rate (38.3%). They should struggle to defend this Cleveland offense that ranks 13th in Rim Rate on the year. Between Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, the Cavs have plenty of rim-threats capable of exerting pressure on this weak interior Blazers defense. Expect points from both sides in this one, and play this over up to 221.5.