LeBron James may sit against the Thunder, which makes the Thunder a strong pick against the spread. Check out why, as well as other betting tidbits for Thursday night's NBA schedule here.
LeBron James Likely Out For Cleveland
You know what that means: fade the Cavs baby. Coming off the first night of a back-to-back, and following an hard-fought overtime win against the Wizards on Monday, Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue told the media Wednesday he'd consider resting King James if he tallied a bunch of minutes against the Pacers. LeBron put in 38:16 in a high-octane 132-117 victory. It's a good bet Lue keeps his word.
Online Oddsmakers struggle to put a number on James' absence. Since rejoining the Cavs in 2014, the team is 1-20-1 ATS when the four-time MVP sits, losing to the spread by a whopping 8.2 points per contest. Free cash anyone?
How Low Can They Go In Jazz-Mavericks Finale?
Dallas and Utah square off for the fourth and final time this season with an over/under dealing at 193 across the majority of online sportsbooks as of Thursday morning. Oddsmakers opened at 197, but adjusted accordingly in early wagering. Both teams roll out superior defenses, the Jazz allowing a league low 95.4 points per game, while Dallas yields a fourth best 100.5 per contest.
But these two Western rivals have strayed from the script in the last two meetings. They've combined for 204 points in regulation time in each, despite tipping off behind a 188 game total. The first meeting in November went off at 185. The Jazz, the lowest scoring team in the NBA with 97.1 points per night, have shot 49.1 percent from the field in the trio of matchups. Dallas, which got off to a horrid start offensively this season, is averaging 105.0 points per game at American Airlines Center since Christmas. Be careful if considering the line movement here.
Which team will show up in Rockets-Hornets tussle?
The Hornets have faced 12 opponents in their last 20 games with a winning record. They've won only two. Both wins occurred as short-priced favorites in the betting market (-1, -2.5) with Charlotte covering the spread in each. It is 2-8 ATS in the remaining matchups, losing by 7 points or more every time out.
The Rockets, meanwhile, are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against foes with a losing record, dropping three outright to the Timberwolves, Heat, and Bucks. Defense is the biggest issue. Houston has allowed sub-.500 teams at home to score more than projected in eight of its last nine. Expect a barnburner at the Hive, but which squad comes out the victor against the spread is anyone's guess.