Some interesting games on today’s NBA card. One look at the NBA spreads available today and it’s clear that injuries are playing a major factor. With that in mind, we’ll try to navigate today’s card and pick our spots carefully.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Friday, August 07, 2020 – 04:00 PM EDT
Oklahoma City Look to Keep Momentum Going
The Oklahoma City Thunder picked a big time win in their last game over the Los Angeles Lakers. It's not just the fact that they beat the best team in the Western Conference, it's the way they did it. They held the Lakers to 86 points, their lowest point total of the season. Anthony Davis was coming off a 42 point 14 rebound performance against the Utah Jazz. The Thunder put the clamps on AD holding him to 9 points which has to be one of the few times in his career he has been held to single digits. What makes their performance all the more impressive is that they did it short handed. Dennis Schroeder had to leave the bubble to attend the birth of his child. He will probably have to miss a few games upon his return as he will need to go through quarantine.
The Thunder have been the surprise of the NBA this season with most people picking them to be a lottery team. At this point in the season, they are now the team that nobody wants to face in the first round of a playoff series. Today they have a chance to improve their position while simultaneously killing off Memphis hopes of making the playoffs themselves. The Grizzlies are 0-4 in the bubble where they came in at less than full strength due to injury concerns. Things have gone from bad to tragic with the injury to Jaren Jackson Jr. The truth is, while it would be great for Memphis to make the playoffs, missing out isn't that big of a deal for this young team. If Jackson Jr can return to full strength, they have a great foundation moving forward as evidenced by the fact that they are currently in 8th despite their youth.
Whatever the NBA betting lines were for Memphis to be the 8th seed, those odds have clearly plummeted and with good reason. At the rate they are going, making the playoffs just doesn't seem possible and I think the Thunder add to that misery. I expect OKC's defense to neutralize the Memphis attack that simply doesn’t have a reliable scoring option outside of Ja Morant. Over at BetOnline, the Thunder are -4.5 (-110) which is my pick for this game.
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Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
Friday, August 07, 2020 - 09:00 PM EDT
Raptors Have Revenge On Their Minds
You can always count on the Raptors to play hard in every game but against the Celtics, I feel like there's some extra motivation here. In the words of my Jay Money, this is a double revenge spot for Toronto. They got embarrassed on Christmas Day by Boston and then got blown out by them again later that week. While they do have a win against the Celtics, that was all the way back on October 25th. The Raptors are a team with a lot of pride who still play with a chip on their shoulders despite being defending champions. The Raptors are rolling in since play restarted at the bubble in Orlando and they are in championship or bust mode. Not only will they have revenge on their mind against Boston, they will also be looking to send a message. This is a possible second round Eastern Conference playoff preview and I see the Raptors treating this like a playoff game.
As for the Celtics, the only word to describe their play so far in the bubble is inconsistent. Defense is this team's calling card but he has not performed up to par since the restart. It's hard to take too much from their last win against what is basically a G-League team right now in the Brooklyn Nets. In their 4 games so far in the bubble, they are ranked 16th in defense giving up 114.9 points per 100 possessions. If the Celtics have any hopes of advancing in the playoffs, that will need to change fast. Offensively, they will need their young star Jayson Tatum to really pick things up where he is currently shooting just under 42% in the bubble. Kemba Walker has been playing but is clearly on a minute's restriction. He is averaging 22.6 minutes per game which is not helping their problems offensively.
In this particular matchup, I like the price for the Raptors. Over at Bovada, Toronto is available at -2.5 (-110) which is the number I'm looking for here. If it was anything over 3 I might stay away because I think this game could come down to the last possession. At the current price, my pick for this game is Raptors -2.5 (-110).
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