NBA Odds & Expert Picks: Thursday’s Best Bets, Including Spurs vs. Kings, Pistons vs. Clippers
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons.
- Small NBA slates can mean big value if you know where to look.
- Our NBA analysts have three expert picks for Thursday's games, including picks for Spurs vs. Kings and Pistons vs. Clippers.
- Check out their betting picks for those matchups below.
It's going to be a very quiet night across the NBA. There are just three games on the schedule tonight, all of which tip off after 10 p.m. ET. Our NBA analysts are not deterred, though, and are targeting a first half spread and two player props in two of tonight's matchups.
Check out their analysis and best bets for Thursday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings
Andrew O'Connor-Watts: The Sacramento Kings have been on a tear lately. After starting the season 0-4, they've gone on a 7-2 run and are 8-1 ATS in that span. Even with their slow start, the Kings are the second-most profitable team in the NBA (10-3 ATS, 46.85% ROI) behind the Portland Trailblazers (11-3, 50% ROI).
Today they face the San Antonio Spurs, who, despite their 6-9 record, have quietly been the eighth-most profitable team in the league with an ATS record of 9-6 and a 14.55% ROI. I'm looking to play the Kings today despite the Spurs' respectable record. But instead of the full game, I'll play them in the first half.
The Kings have been thriving to open games, especially at home. Their respectable full-game Net Rating of +2.5 skyrockets to +16.3 in the first half when playing in Sacramento. And the sample size is significant at seven games.
At 8-5, the Kings have the fourth-best first half record in the league this season, according to EV Analytics, and they improve to 6-1 ATS at home. The Spurs are a commendable 8-7 ATS in the first half overall, but are 3-4 on the road. In a small sample size, the Kings are 3-1 against the first half spread in their second game of a home stand this season.
Team Rankings has the Kings second in Average 1H Margin at home (+7.7) while the Spurs are -3.3 overall and -4 on the road. I'll lay the points with the Kings early and hope they come out the gate with that same fire they had against the Nets on Tuesday. I'd play this up to -4.5 at +105.
Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Munaf Manji: The Detroit Pistons are off to a slow start this season with only three wins, tied for the fewest in the NBA. A large part of this has been how bad the defense has been for the Pistons, which ranks last in the NBA in Defensive Rating (117.6). Furthermore, the Pistons are missing their best player Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey must fill into that point guard role in Cunningham's absence.
Thus far this season, in the three games without Cunningham, Ivey has turned the ball over four times in each of those games. Ivey has shown in their inability to protect the basketball and being his first year in the league, young players are adjusting to the game.
The Pistons start their West Coast road trip in California with a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers pride themselves on defense and the numbers show. In fact, according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Clippers rank second in Defensive Rating (107.4).
I expect the struggles protecting the basketball to continue for Ivey tonight facing a stellar defense and the young player to make mistakes. I'd play this up to 3.5.
Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Kenny Ducey: The Detroit Pistons appear ready to let Marvin Bagley eat. They’ve just lost center Isaiah Stewart to injury and have finally activated the former top-five pick, who made his debut earlier this week against the Celtics.
While that game wasn’t very memorable, seeing as Bagley played just 17 minutes and registered four points and four rebounds, his second game was rather tantalizing. He played just shy of 29 minutes, notching 16 points and five boards, showing off his skills against a good frontcourt.
That’s not how we’d describe this L.A. Clippers front. They rank 20th in Rebounding Rate and while they’ve been decent at defending in the paint, they will be faced with their third game in four days. I expect L.A. to come out flat here and struggle on the boards, where it has arguably been at its very worst this season.
Bagley saw a Usage Rate of 20.7% in his second game of the season and should be looked to here for offense and to pick up the slack for Stewart, who was leading the team with 9.3 rebounds per game. I think this is a great number; the market has yet to figure out how to correctly price Bagley and won’t really solve that problem for another game or two at least.