There is little over a week left in the 2015-16 NBA regular season and that means there will be a lot of teams desperate to earn victories to ensure their playoff berth. After predicting all four matches last week we return with our NBA Thursday 7th of April Preview and Betting Tips.
- - -
Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks (Thursday 11.30am AEDT)
This is a massive match for the playoff race as the Mavericks are currently sitting in 7th place with a 39-38 record whilst the Rockets are 38-39 and in 9th place. This is a must win match for the Rockets as a loss would see them slip two games behind the Mavericks with just four games remaining and their destiny would be removed from their hands. The side that made the Western Conference last season has had a tumultuous season and James Harden and Dwight Harden will need to be on the same page to ensure they earn a victory. Harden has been putting up great numbers all season but the lack of energy he uses on the defensive end has hindered his team. They are the 26th ranked team on defence despite having Howard to protect the paint who is a former defensive player of the year.
It looked as if the Mavericks would be missing the playoffs when Deron Williams went down with an injury last week to join Chandler Parsons on the sidelines. However, JJ Barea has stepped his game up to another level in their absence as he led his side to a 4-0 victory and was rewarded with the Western Conference player of the week award. If he can continue to play at that high level in this one and work Harden on the defensive end then the Mavericks will go a long way towards winning. Dirk Nowitzki will need to improve his shooting that has seen him go 27-91 in his last five games. We are backing the home side to earn the victory in this one and continue their winning stretch.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers (Thursday 9pm AEDT)
The Pacers are currently in a playoff race themselves and a win against the Cavaliers would be a massive boost for the side that has gone on a 5-5 stretch over their last two games, however they are currently on a two game winning streak. They almost blew a massive lead late against the Knicks who didn’t have Carmelo Anthony or Kistaps Porzingis in uniform.
The Cavaliers will be playing their second game of a back-to-back but they will be well rested as they blew out the Milwaukee Bucks and their star players were able to rest in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving seems to have gotten over his personal issues and is focusing on his basketball as he put in a strong performance on Wednesday. Meanwhile Kevin Love was able to put up great numbers which would be a relief to Lebron James as he needs consistency out of his two teammates to create a similar dominance to the big three he had in Miami. It is always an interesting match up when James goes head-to-head with Paul George but we are backing James and the Cavs to come away with a narrow victory in this one.
Update: Lebron James has been rested by the Cavaliers which will make it a much tougher task for the Cavaliers to come out on top in this one. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will need to up their involvement. Irving is averaging a little over 30-points with James out of the line up compared with 18ppg when he is in the side.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers (Thursday 12pm AEDT)
The Thunder and Trail Blazers will both be backing up after games with the Thunder running away with the match against the Nuggets on the road, which allowed their starters to play low minutes. The Blazers are a side that has surprised every expert this season that predicted them to find themselves near the bottom of the table in the lottery. After losing all of their starting players other than Damien Lillard, C.J. McCollum has stepped up whilst the other players on the team have been great contributors. The side is sitting in sixth spot on the ladder and has booked its place in the playoffs and it is likely they will face the Thunder in the first round.
The Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are desperate to make a deep run in the playoffs before Durant becomes a free agent in the offseason. The two will be going into playoff mode soon but the side’s biggest troubles come in the fourth quarter. They have let too many leads slip when leading heading into the final quarter and they will need to improve in that area if they are to stand a chance at beating the top sides. However, we are predicting them to earn a comfortable victory on the road against the Blazers in this one.
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (Thursday 12.30pm AEDT)
The Lakers and Clippers will be playing each other for the second time in two days after the Clippers dismantled the Lakers yesterday in a 20-point blow out. The Clippers are cemented in the fourth spot in the Western Conference and the side should be attempting to improve in the next week before the playoffs as Blake Griffin has returned to the line up for the first time since December. However, the superstar hasn’t made much of an impact in his first two games as he has been held to four points twice.
Meanwhile the Lakers are looking towards the end of the season as Kobe Bryant is playing his final games of his career. They would love to get one of the best players of all time a win against their crosstown rivals but that isn’t a real possibility in this case. As these two sides share a stadium, the home court shouldn’t be a real advantage despite their being more Lakers fans in the stadium.
_ _ _
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
The third edition of the National Electronic Sports Tournament gets underway this weekend with 8 of the best Chinese League of Legends teams duelling it out. we preview the event and give our betting tips here read more
Indigenous Round continues on Sunday with another three games on the card to wrap up AFL Round 10! We preview all the games and give our best bets here! read more
Racing returns to headquarters in Melbourne this Saturday, with a nine-race card at Flemington. Check out our preview and betting tips for every race on the card here! read more
There are approximately 90 Group 1 level harness races in Australia and New Zealand each year; we've highlighted some of most high profile races on the annual racing calendar here. read more
Harness racing form can be daunting to punters that are new to the sport and form analysis for the trots is certainly different to that of the gallops or greyhounds. We've listed what we think the most important factors to consider are when studying the form for a trots race. read more
Barrier draws are crucial in racing and they are especially important in harness racing. We've explained why barriers are such a key part of harness racing form study and their importance to determining a horse's chances here. read more
There are many common terms used in harness racing that may not make sense to those new to the sport. Our harness racing glossary will help you understand what some of the key terminology means. read more
Round 10 of the AFL season offers a fantastic nine game slate kicking off Friday night with the Swans hosting the Magpies! We have all of the odds for the Round 10 action here read more
Our 2019 Brownlow Medal leader was the only contender to pick up votes during Round 9 according to our vote predictions. Do we have it right? Check out our thoughts for each AFL match here. read more
We have nine players within three votes of the leader in the race for the 2019 Brownlow Medal after Round 8 of the AFL season. Check out where our votes went and who the big movers are here: read more
We're up to Round 9 of the 2019 AFL season, with the action kicking off on Friday night with West Coast hosting Melbourne. Here's the Round 9 betting odds and lines for every match of the round, with thanks to BetEasy. read more