NBA Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Nuggets vs. Cavaliers, Pelicans vs. Raptors (Thursday, Feb. 23)

NBA Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Nuggets vs. Cavaliers, Pelicans vs. Raptors (Thursday, Feb. 23) article feature image
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Via Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates with Gary Trent Jr. #33 against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on February 8, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • The NBA returns to action on Thursday, and our experts have three best bets ready.
  • They are targeting two spread picks and one total, including a play on Pelicans vs. Raptors.
  • Find their best bets and analysis below.

The NBA returns from the All-Star break with nine games on Thursday. Our betting experts are ready for the return to betting basketball with three best bets.

Andrew O'Connor-Watts has a spread pick for Nuggets vs. Cavaliers, Munaf Manji has a spread pick for Grizzlies vs. 76ers, and Matt Moore is playing a total in Pelicans vs. Raptors.

Find their best bets and analysis below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Nuggets vs. Cavaliers Spread
7 p.m. ET
Grizzlies vs. 76ers Spread
7:30 p.m. ET
Pelicans vs. Raptors Total
7:30 p.m. ET

Nuggets vs. Cavaliers Spread

Pick
Cavaliers -2.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: Betting against the Nuggets is scary, but tonight is a good spot to go against them for a few reasons–one being health. Aaron Gordon will sit, and Jamal Murray is still listed as questionable after announcing he’d play earlier on Wednesday. Even if Murray plays, the fact that his status wavered, is a clear indication that he’s not 100% healthy.

In addition to health, the Cavaliers just matchup well against the Nuggets. Their twin towers, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, anchor the second-best interior defense in the league (63% field goal percentage at the rim) and are one of the few teams with the personnel to slow down Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.

The Cavaliers also attack the interior offensively, ranking fourth in field goal percentage at the rim (69.5%) while the Nuggets rank just 29th in defensive field goal percentage at the rim (71%).

The Nuggets have the best home-court advantage in the NBA, but they’ll be in Cleveland tonight, where the Cavaliers are 18-10-1 ATS as a favorite. The Nuggets on the road are just 12-16 ATS.

These teams played last month, and the Cavaliers didn't win or cover, but they were without Donovan Mitchell. This is their only other game against the Nuggets this season, and they’ll look to avoid the season sweep by bringing a little extra motivation. Take the Cavaliers down to -3.5 with Murray playing and -5 if he sits.


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Grizzlies vs. 76ers Spread

Pick
76ers -3.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Munaf Manji: Despite having a 15-8-1 (65.2%) record ATS in non-conference games, the Grizzlies have not performed well in non-conference road games. In non-conference road games where the Grizzlies are underdogs like they are tonight, the Grizzlies are 0-4 against the spread, losing each of those games by double-digits. Additionally, as a road underdog this season, the Grizzlies are 1-7 (12.5%) against the spread, while losing seven of those eight games by double-digits.

Meanwhile, the Sixers are one of the best home teams this season. The 76ers are 21-10 (67.7%) against the spread at home and 17-10 (63%) as a home favorite. The Grizzlies will be without Steven Adams in this game, and I expect Joel Embiid to have a big night scoring the ball. The 76ers are healthy, and I expect their home dominance to continue. Lay the points here with the 76ers at -3.5!


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Pelicans vs. Raptors Total

Pick
Over 226
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: I project this at over 235, so my number edge is significant. The over in Raptors home games is 16-14-1 (53%), and Pelicans road games have gone 18-11 to the over.

Both teams will look to push the pace with faltering halfcourt offenses. Toronto’s defense simply hasn’t been as good as the market has expected this season. The Raptors have allowed a league-high 37 games where their opponents have scored more than their projected team total.

Toronto’s offense gets a boost with Jakob Poeltl after their trade for a starting center. This is a good spot for an over against a persistent market expectation that Toronto’s defense is better than what we’ve seen all season.


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