But tonight’s slate enough intriguing games that our staff’s best bets are from three other matchups on the slate. They feature player props, a moneyline pick and a spread bet.
Read on for our expert picks and predictions for Thursday below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers||7 p.m. ET|
|Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks||7:30 p.m. ET|
|New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks||8:30 p.m. ET|
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers
|Pick||Tyrese Haliburton Over 8.5 AST (+102) | Double Double (+160)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Joe Dellera: Action Network favorite, Tyrese Haliburton, is expected to return today against the Lakers and it’s not a moment too soon for a Pacers team that has struggled without him. This is a game that should be played with significant Pace considering these teams are third and fourth in the league in Pace and both in the bottom third of Adjusted Defense, according to Dunks And Threes.
There’s no word about a minutes limit so let’s cap him at his average of 33.4 mins per game. His current assist line is 8.5 and in the 17 games he has played with fewer than 34 mins logged, he has exceeded this number in 11 of them. Haliburton is an elite distributor and leads the league in assists per game. As he shakes some rust off his shot I expect him to get his teammates going.
I’ll back him for the 8.5 assists and also play Double Double at +160 (PointsBet), something he has done in over half of his games played this season.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
|Pick||Heat ML (-124)|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Kenny Ducey: The Miami Heat have one of the best defenses in basketball, and over the last 10 games rank second by just a 10th of a point in defensive efficiency. The Knicks have rated highly on offense, especially of late, but in recent games have looked incredibly disjointed on that end of the floor.
That’s because each of their last two contests – losses to the Nets and Lakers – featured a dose of crunch-time basketball. The Knicks have been poor in the clutch, posting an Offensive Rating of 109.3 to rank near the bottom third of the league, and in 34 crunch-time minutes over the last 10 games rank 27th offensively.
That’s why I’m pretty nervous on their behalf entering a game which oddsmakers are calling a virtual pick‘em. The Heat have had their own issues in the clutch this season but have finally begun to figure their rotation out, and their defense has been sublime.
The Knicks are 2-4-1 against the spread as home underdogs this season and in general are 9-15-2 ATS at home. To make matters worse, their 114.2 Defensive Rating at home ranks 24th in the NBA.
I think New York should do well here to help out Miami where it struggles, and I foresee a rough go of it once again on offense, particularly if this turns into a close game.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks
|Tipoff||8:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Chris Baker: The Pelicans are on a 9-game losing streak but I like them to get back in the win column tonight against the Mavericks. The Pelicans have sorely missed Zion Williamson but they did recently get back Brandon Ingram.
Ingram hasn’t been efficient since returning but he is bound to start positively regressing towards his historical shooting averages. Despite his shooting struggles, Ingram has been a willing and competent passer in the past few games. In his three games since returning he has posted assist percentages of 42.9%, 22.2%, and 50%. He has been an effective creator for them and just further adds to their playmaking depth. This team lives inside the arc; ranking 7th in offensive rim rate, 15th in mid-range rate, and 27th in 3-point attempt rate.
Normally I don’t love when a team isn’t getting up a lot of 3s, but when facing this Mavericks team that limits 3s so well I think it actually benefits the Pelicans. The Mavericks are extremely focused on limiting the perimeter shots, ranking top-10 in opponent 3-point attempt rate allowed, 21st in midrange attempts and the 14 rim looks. These are the areas of the floor where McCollum, Ingram, and Valanciunas excel and I expect them to be more efficient tonight.
I expect Valanciunas to force consistent double-teams and help defense as he likely draws Dwight Powell or JaVale McGee tonight. I have respect for Powell as a mobile big but he just doesn’t have the size to really defend Valanciunas in the post. The Mavericks are going to have to help and it will force them into consistent defensive rotations. Dallas ranks 21st in the NBA in points per possession allowed against post-ups.
We also have a Pelicans offense that ranks seventh in FT rate going up against a Dallas defense that ranks dead-last in free throw rate allowed. The Pelicans offense will have success tonight. Their defense should be able to survive against this Luka-led Mavericks attack as I they have the ability to switch multiple long wing-defenders onto Doncic. Between Herb Jones, Naji Marshall, and even Jose Alvarado I believe the Pelicans have enough defenders to stay solid and not be forced to double-team Luka at will.
Finally, I expect this Pelicans bench to have a massive advantage over the Mavericks second unit. The Pelicans have one of the most efficient bench lineups in the league. Between Alvarado, Nance, Naji Marshall, and Will Hernangomez they are far more effective players than what the Mavericks are currently rolling out off the bench.
I expect the Pelicans to survive during the Luka minutes and I expect their bench to thrive when Luka is off the court. Trust the Pelicans to compete and have a chance to win here on Thursday night.