NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Thursday’s Best Bets
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Anfernee Simons #1 and Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
- The NBA plays its sixth ever game in Paris today as the Bulls face the Pistons, and Malik Smith has a best bet ready for this matinee matchup.
- Chris Baker and Andrew O'Connor-Watts also have two best bets for 76ers vs. Trail Blazers later tonight.
- Check out their picks and analysis below.
The NBA season rolls on Thursday with a quintet of games, including a doubleheader on TNT. Malik Smith is playing a player prop for the NBA Paris Game between the Pistons and Bulls, while Chris Baker and Andrew O'Connor-Watts are betting the total and spread for tonight's 76ers vs. Trail Blazers matchup. Find their best bets and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Pistons vs. Bulls Player Prop
Malik Smith: Neither the Bulls nor the Pistons are strong rebounding teams — they rank 22nd and 23rd respectively in Rebound Percentage — but Nikola Vucevic as an individual rebounder is elite. Vucevic ranks eighth in rebounds per game (10.9), and DeMar DeRozan is the only other Bulls starter who averages over five rebounds per game.
Today's game is in Paris and will tip early in the states. As of now, two of the Pistons' centers are questionable. Jalen Duren (ankle) almost didn't make it to France because of passport issues in addition to injury, and Nerlens Noel (foot) is dealing with soreness. The Pistons will still have Isaiah Stewart but will be undersized on the boards if the other two can't go.
Vucevic has a good chance to dominate in this spot, and Action's Player Prop Projections do as well.
Vucevic has topped this line in 21 of his 44 games played this season, and our tool projects his total rebounds at 13.26. There are some books that have this line at 12.5 at plus money, but I'll play the over at 11.5.
76ers vs. Trail Blazers Total
Chris Baker: This is a great spot for an over as these teams do not match up well with each other at all. The Trail Blazers have one of the league’s worst interior defenses as they rank dead last in Rim Rate (38.5%) Allowed on the year. They just don’t have capable rim-protectors on their roster, and that is an absolute necessity when facing a big like Joel Embiid.
Jusuf Nurkic has been decent on defense, but behind him there is only Drew Eubanks, who has been awful as he ranks in the 13th percentile in Defensive Rating Swing (+5.2) when he is on the floor. Eubanks and Nurkic just don’t have the size or athleticism to contend with Embiid down-low.
It's also imperative to play defense without fouling against the 76ers as they rank fourth in the league in Free Throw Rate. Portland has not been great at keeping guys off the foul line, tied with the Philly defense for 20th in FT Rate. This should also be an issue for the 76ers as the Trail Blazers actually rank first in FT Rate on the season. Both of these teams should generate easy “free” points at the line.
In addition to the bigs, the guards should have an advantage on offense as well. Tyrese Maxey and James Harden are both ineffective defenders, and I expect them to struggle to contain Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. On the other end, I also don’t expect Lillard and Simons to match up effectively with Harden and Maxey.
Finally, this Philly defense is being massively overrated due to the quality of offenses (or lack thereof) they have played thus far. The 76ers have played the second-easiest schedule of opposing offenses according to dunksandthrees.com. This Portland offense ranks sixth in Adjusted Offensive Rating and will be one of the toughest offenses that the 76ers have faced all season. Expect a shootout in Portland tonight, and play this up to over 234.5.
76ers vs. Trail Blazers Spread
Andrew O'Connor Watts: The 76ers have been on the road for a while now, and I think tonight is a good spot to fade them. Tonight’s game in Portland means the 76ers have traveled to their fifth city since last Thursday when they were defeated by the Thunder at home.
Despite a 3-0 record on the current road trip, the Sixers have a 1-2 record against the spread. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as they are a below-average team away from the Wells Fargo Center.
The Blazers have been going through a rough patch recently, going just 3-7 both straight up and against the spread. However, five of those losses came on the road, where Portland has struggled. At home, they have the eighth-best record in the league at 11-7-1.
One trend I came across while tinkering with BetLabs is how the Blazers play at home after an against-the-spread win. This season, they’re 4-0 in these spots.
The Action PRO app has tracked big money and sharp money coming in on Portland, but the line has stayed at +2. That could change, but I like any number with Portland as a dog.