The NBA season is back in full swing and with only 22 games attending the Orlando bubble, nearly every matchup boasts two quality teams. The action continues on Thursday with another six game slate getting underway in the wee hours of the morning! As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for our favourite games of the day below.
We’ll be bringing you three articles a week for the rest of the regular season, which will span just 15 days before the playoffs get underway straight after! Make sure you continue to check out our dedicated NBA Betting Tips page for regular updates.
If there’s one team that probably could have been spared an invite to the NBA bubble in Orlando it’s the Wizards. Their best player in Bradley Beal has opted not to play for the rest of the season and after just a few games they already sit 7.5 games behind the eighth seed in the Brooklyn Nets.
Philadelphia haven’t fared a whole lot better, losing their first game in the bubble to the Pacers by six points before narrowly defeating a depleted Spurs team by two points on Tuesday. Considering they have such a talented list on paper, there are still so many question marks around the 76ers side, and they will need to use the remaining seeding games to iron out their rotations and get some chemistry if they want to make any waves in the playoffs.
Luckily, this matchup against the Wizards should be a pretty good opportunity to work on some things, knowing that they are probably going to win this game regardless. The Wizards have lost their three games since the season restarted by an average margin of 10.6 points, who of those losses against arguably the next two worst teams in Orlando in Phoenix and Brooklyn. Expect the 76ers to blow them out here.
There was so much talk about the Pelicans or the Blazers jumping up into the ninth seed to challenge the Grizzlies for a spot in the playoffs, but the Spurs won their first two games of the restart and are now right in the mix. They have no LaMarcus Aldridge for the remainder of the season but as the Spurs and Gregg Popovich have done for so long, they are just finding a way to make it work.
The Nuggets started their time in Orlando with a disappointing loss to the Heat, going down by 20 points, however, they backed it up with a strong win over the Thunder on Tuesday in a game where young gun Michael Porter Jr. went off for 37 points. Nikola Jokic chipped in for another 30 in the win, and suddenly the Denver offence looks extremely dynamic again.
Tough game to call here, especially with the fact that we probably won’t know the status of Gary Harris (Hip), Will Barton (Knee) and Jamal Murray (Hamstring) until the morning of the game. We are staying away from the line and targeting star Spur wing DeMar DeRozan. With no other reliable scoring options for the Spurs at the moment, DeRozan will need to carry the bulk of the load. Went off for 30 points on 20 shots in the Spurs loss to the 76ers and should be big again.
It’s been an incredible season to date for the Thunder, who after trading away their two best players at the start of the season find themselves in sixth place in the Western Conference with a real chance at pushing for a top four seed. They were dominant in their opening game against the Jazz, racking up a 16 point win but went down to the Nuggets in their second game.
The Lakers secured the top seed in the Western Conference with a win over the Jazz on Tuesday and can now go into cruise control for the remainder of the seeding games. There’s no doubt that they’ll want to keep players active to avoid the rest vs rust dilemma, but we can definitely see them going a lot easier on their star players in Anthony Davis and LeBron James and giving the bench unit a massive run starting Thursday.
Kyle Kuzma is a super important player for the Lakers chances at winning a title as the third scoring option and I can definitely see the stars in Davis and James using these seeding games to try to get Kuzma into a good groove before the playoffs start. Kuzma has scored just 41 points through the three Lakers games so far but we expect him to have a massively increased opportunity moving forward.
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