As per usual, Thursday brings a quiet slate in the NBA with only four games. There are still a couple of great matchups, though, with the Thunder facing the Spurs and the Clippers taking on the Nuggets. The evening also brings another opportunity to place some bets, so here are five that stand out as potentially profitable opportunities.
BOSTON CELTICS: 107.5 POINTS AT MIAMI
The Celtics come into this game winners of four straight and have won seven of their last 10 games overall. Boston’s offense has been one of the main reasons for the success since it’s averaging 117.3 points across their last nine games. That included two contests in which Kyrie Irving was unable to play due to an eye injury and two games against two of the better defensive teams in the league in the Grizzlies and Pacers. Irving is healthy right now, leaving with the Celtics with their full complement of top offensive weapons for this matchup against the Heat. Don’t let the fact that the Celtics are playing the second leg of a back-to-back set scare you away, either. They have one of the deepest rosters in the league and didn’t have to push many of their top players in a blowout win over the Pacers on Wednesday.
DETROIT PISTONS: 109.5 POINTS AT SACRAMENTO
The wheels are coming off for the Pistons. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games and currently find themselves outside of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. They have two extremely talented players in Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, but it’s hard to get excited about anyone else on their roster. Griffin is having the best offensive season of his career, averaging 25.1 points per game with a 29.5 percent usage rate. However, no other player is averaging more than 16.8 points per game. In fact, they only have three other players on the entire team (Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Reggie Bullock) who are averaging at least 10 points per game.
It doesn’t help the Pistons that they play at the 10th-slowest pace (99.7 possessions per game) in the league. This is a good matchup against a bad Kings defense, but Pistons only scored 100 points against another poor defensive team in the Lakers on Wednesday. This is a lofty total considering how much the Pistons are struggling, leaving the under as a favorable opportunity to win some money.
MIAMI HEAT: 104.5 POINTS VS. BOSTON
Simply put, the Heat are not a good offensive team. Josh Richardson has become a more viable scoring threat this year, but their roster is shot on top-tier talent. They are averaging just 106.3 points per game, which is the sixth-fewest in the league. With Goran Dragic (knee) out the last 13 games, the Heat have been even worse by scoring an average of 102.7 points per game. That included an ugly 82-point output against the Hawks on Sunday. Yes, the same Hawks team that plays at the fastest pace (105.5 possessions per game) and allows the most points per game (117.2) in the league. Considering the Celtics play at a much slower pace and allow just 105.3 points per contest, don’t look for the Heat to score many points in this one.
JUSTISE WINSLOW: 3.5 ASSISTS
Since Goran Dragic (knee) went down, Winslow has become the Heat’s starting point guard. While he may not stand out as a great option to play the position, he’s currently the best choice that they have. He’s actually done a respectable job of helping to facilitate the offense, averaging 4.9 assists across 12 games. Backup point guard Tyler Johnson isn’t much of a playmaker, which only furthers the need for Winslow to be their key distributor. Outside of him, the Heat’s next best option might actually be Dwyane Wade, who is averaging four assists per game. Neither of these teams play at a fast pace, but this number is low enough that Winslow still has a very good chance to hit the over.
STEVEN ADAMS: 10.5 REBOUNDS
Adams is the unsung hero for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook and Paul George have been spectacular, but they wouldn’t be 25-15 without Adams. He plays a ton of minutes at 34 minutes per game, which would be the highest mark of his career. After backup Nerlens Noel suffered a scary concussion Wednesday, the Thunder could ask for even more from Adams with Noel not expected to play.
The added playing time has helped Adams average a robust 10.2 rebounds per contest for the season, overall. He’s been even more dominant on the glass of late, grabbing at least 12 boards in four of his last five contests. The Spurs don’t have a ton of size up front, so look for Adams to reach the over here.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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