The NBA is finally back! After a long layoff for the All-Star break, pro hoops returns with two great games on the schedule for Thursday night. Is there NBA betting odds value out there to exploit?
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
You couldn't ask for a much better matchup to kick off the second half of the season. The Thunder and Mavericks are going to be jockeying for a playoff seed in the Western Conference, so each and every win is important from here on out.
Both teams will want to start off the post All-Star break era with a victory, but it's Oklahoma City that gets the favorites tag on their home floor. The Thunder are laying 5.5 points right now, and we can also expect a high-scoring affair if the NBA odds are anything to go by, as the O/U is as high as 212 at some online sportsbooks.
Oklahoma City didn't have the best of first halfs, as injuries got in the way, with both Durant and Westbrook missing time here and there. The Thunder are 28-25 right now, which has them ninth in the Western Conference, but you'd be foolish to count this team out. Now that their two superstars are healthy, we expect OKC to go on a run in the second half of the season. A big win tonight would be the perfect start.
As for the Mavericks, they finished the first half of the season with a 36-19 record, good for the fifth seed in the loaded West. They made a move during the All-Star break too, bringing Amare Stoudemire on board to add even more depth to an already stacked rotation.
For tonight, as tough as it is to fade Durant and Westbrook on their home court, we think there's value to be had on the Mavericks here. They've got the talent to keep pace with the Thunder and also have more depth, which should come in handy in what's expected to be an up-tempo battle. With our NBA picks, we look for Dallas to stay within the number as underdogs.
NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks +5.5
Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs
Not bad for a nightcap, right? Sure the Clippers are shorthanded without one of their best players in Blake Griffin, but they'll be at home and they have Chris Paul playing at an extremely high level.
That being said, the NBA odds still favor San Antonio here, with the Spurs laying three points despite being on the road. The total is currently trading at 203.5, so again we should see another relatively high-tempo matchup in Los Angeles this evening.
The Clippers were hit hard with the Griffin injury news, but they did manage to go into the All-Star break with some momentum, picking up a couple nice wins over Houston and Dallas. We'll have to see if that can be carried over into this encounter with the defending champs.
San Antonio is currently fourth in the Western Conference with a 34-19 record and this is a team that's as healthy as it's been all season long. We know Gregg Popovich is going to keep being extra careful with his aging veterans, but we can safely assume the Spurs are going to be just fine and will be able to earn another high seed heading into the playoffs. They went into the break having won four of five games.
This evening's pick seems relatively straightforward to us. As good as CP3 has been, the Clippers are going to have their fair struggles without Griffin out there, and they certainly don't have the same kind of depth that the Spurs bring to the table. Eager to kick off the second half of the season in style, we like San Antonio to come in and win by at least three tonight.
NBA Pick: San Antonio Spurs -3