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Best bets today from around the NBA.
Best bets today from around the NBA.

With all eyes on LeBron James tonight, we are fading the Los Angeles Lakers in our best bets column for Feb. 2. Read on for our top NBA picks for Thursday based on the best NBA odds

LeBron James is 89 points away from the all-time scoring crown. The Miami Heat are hot and fighting for seeding in the East. The New Orleans Pelicans look to fight their way back into a playoff spot with Brandon Ingram back in the lineup. And a possible finals preview between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks will close out the night. These storylines and many more highlight a seven-game slate and it's our time to find the best spots for betting value.

Here are our NBA best bets for Thursday (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, PointsBet, and DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our NBA picks and our best NBA betting sites.

Thursday’s NBA schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

  • Los Angeles Lakers (-1.5) vs. Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies (+6) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Miami Heat (-2) vs. New York Knicks
  • Charlotte Hornets (+6) vs. Chicago Bulls
  • New Orleans Pelicans (+4.5) vs. Dallas Mavericks
  • Golden State Warriors (+11.5) vs. Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Clippers (+4.5) vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Thursday’s NBA best bets

  • Spread: Bulls -6 vs. Hornets (-106 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Total: Heat-Knicks Over 214.5 (-115 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Upset: Pacers ML (+120 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Player Prop: Nikola Vučević Under 13.5 Rebounds (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Check out our NBA Finals odds and NBA MVP odds.

NBA Top Picks

Spread: Bulls -6 vs. Hornets (-106 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

The Bulls are 1-3 ATS over their last four games, including an outright 18-point loss to these same Hornets, a game in which they were 3-point favorites. Yet, with Chicago now at home, they open up as 6-point favorites. The public is backing the Hornets, but we'll buy the points with the significantly better team.

Over the last month, Chicago’s defense has allowed the second-lowest opponent three-point percentage and the third-lowest paint field goal percentage in the league. In that span, Charlotte has been middle-of-the-pack in 3-pointers attempted and have attempted the eighth-most field goals within five feet of the basket. On the other end of the floor, the Bulls will get their second look at the Hornets in the last week, and simply have to regress positively from their offensive performance where they shot 40.7% from the field and 16.0% from deep.

This season, the Bulls are 3-2 ATS when facing a team for the third time and 5-2 ATS when favored by more than five points. Those trends should hold up in what I am expecting to be a bounce-back beatdown of the Hornets.

Total: Heat-Knicks Over 214.5 (-115 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

Overs are just 1-5 over the Heat's last six games, but 5-1 over the Knicks' last six games. The key to this read is the injury report.

For the Knicks, their only listed out designation is starting center Mitchell Robinson. While he doesn’t provide much of a portfolio with offensive skill, he has been critical to hustle and defense for the Knicks, which partially explains why Knicks games have gone 8-6 to the over when he is out.

Meanwhile, even though the superstar defensive duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is in for the Heat, they will be without backup centers Orlando Robinson and Omer Yurtseven and possibly without defensive-minded backup guard Victor Oladipo. Heat games are 10-7-1 when their walking cone Dewayne Dedmon plays more than 11 minutes at center, which will likely be the case out of necessity on Thursday.

Upset: Pacers (+120 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐

The Pacers have lost 10 of their last 11 games, but that can be heavily attributed to missing rising superstar Tyrese Haliburton missing 10 of those games. On Thursday, he is expected to be back to face a Lakers team that is listing LeBron James as questionable as he chases history.

If James is ruled out, I don’t see how the Pacers don’t close as favorites, so you should snag the plus-money value now. Indiana is 24-16-0 ATS this season with Haliburton active and 11-6 ATS overall as a home underdog. The Pacers have a 17-15 record in clutch games this year (12th-best winning percentage in the NBA) so I am comfortable taking them on the moneyline instead of paying the juice for the 2-point spread.

Player Prop: Nikola Vučević Under 13.5 Rebounds (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yes, we expect the Hornets to regress negatively on offense and get locked up by a Chicago Bulls defense that has been trending upwards on defense. However, this line is an overreaction. Over their last 15 games, the Hornets have allowed the 12th-fewest rebounds to centers. Over his last 25 starts, Vučević has stayed under his number 18 times and in his four meetings as a Bull against Mason Plumlee, he has stayed under this number three times. Add in the potential of a blowout and Vučević’s danger of even playing enough minutes to get 14 rebounds makes this a great bet.

NBA best bets made 02/02/2023 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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