We’ve got six games on tap Thursday night with one matchup — Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets (9 p.m. ET) — on NBA TV.
Our analysts favorite bets for tonight are short and sweet. They are targeting one moneyline and one prop Thursday and break down those games and bets below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Clippers vs. Grizzlies Moneyline||8 p.m. ET|
|76ers vs. Nuggets Prop||9 p.m. ET|
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
|Pick||Clippers ML (-102)|
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Kenny Ducey: The Clippers essentially ran an eight-man rotation against San Antonio, and one of those guys was rookie Brandon Boston, Jr. — a second round pick out of Kentucky. With Nic Batum doubtful and Terance Mann questionable, oddsmakers are assuming the rotation will be short again, hence this line being set at a near pick‘em.
With Batum and Mann in the lineup, this team would probably be favored by four or five points. I think we’re getting a nice discount here.
The thing about this Clippers bench is that it was really good against San Antonio. Sure, the Spurs don’t run out a great defense, but neither do the Grizzlies — this team ranks 29th of 30 teams in defensive efficiency. Luke Kennard was a +31 for L.A. on Tuesday and Amir Coffey was a +24. Boston scored 13 points in 20 minutes.
It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that this bench is absolutely fine for 20 or 25 minutes in this game, and we know the starters — namely Paul George, who is playing like an MVP candidate — will come to play.
The shortened rotation has also forced Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein into the rotation, which in turn has made the Clippers the third-best rebounding team in the league in November. The Grizzlies have slipped in that department, collecting just about 50% of available rebounds this month, and have registered a rebounding rate below 50% in their last two games.
The Clippers should stumble into a great advantage on the glass with their rotation, their efficient offense should have no issues against this terrible defense, and the second-ranked defense in the league should continue to produce against a middling offense.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets
|Pick||Jokic Over 6.5 Assists (-135)|
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: The Nuggets have been missing their second best player, Jamal Murray, all season. Their third best player, Michael Porter Jr., has been out the last five games and hasn’t been good even when he has been on the floor. Their fourth best player, Will Barton, has been terrific this season but missed the past two games and is also out again with MPJ.
So what happened to the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic? Oh you know, he led his shorthanded Nuggets to a five-game home win streak and his numbers are up more than ever. In these past five games without MPJ, Jokic is averaging 27.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.
You’ll notice the big change in assists, and that’s the angle we’re playing tonight. With no MPJ or Barton, there’s more on Jokic’s capable shoulders than ever, and he’s handling it just fine. He has 10, 10, 9, and 6 assists in those games (he missed one) without MPJ.
Even with the slightly lower assist totals this year, Jokic is still over 6.5 dimes in seven of 13 starts, still more than half his games this season. He’s over in three of these last four without MPJ, and Denver will need him to do it all again tonight.
This line is just too low for Jokic. I have to play the over, and I’ll play to -160.