Our expert looks at the most intriguing games from this week's NBA schedule and explains why these contests provide betting value for your NBA picks.
Saturday, March 12
Heat vs. Raptors
The Heat visit the Raptors in a potential playoff preview and a game with huge implications. Both teams are playing extremely well and they have a lot of talent on their rosters, so look for a fast-paced, high-scoring contest. Toronto leads the season series 2-1, including a 101-81 win on January 22 behind 33 points DeMar DeRozan.
Thunder vs. Spurs
The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in a huge clash of Western Conference titans. The Thunder will want to prove that they belong in the conversation when it comes to title contenders and a road win at the AT&T Center, where the Spurs are a perfect 30-0 this season would be huge. The Thunder did win the first meeting between these two teams, 112-106 in the season opener on October 28 but the Spurs are a different team right now.
Sunday, March 13
Cavaliers vs. Clippers
Two controversial teams meet each other when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavs are just 14-7 under Tyronn Lue after going 30-11 with David Blatt as head coach and LeBron James is constantly questioning if his team is ready for the playoffs. The Clippers on the other hand have won four of their last five games but the Cavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 115-102 win on January 21. Look for another highly-contested contest here.
Tuesday, March 8
Knicks vs. Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver as the Knicks visit the Nuggets. New York snapped a three-game losing streak with a 102-89 win against the Pistons on March 5 while the Nuggets are coming off a hard-fought 116-114 overtime win against the Mavericks last Sunday. These two teams met on February 7 and the Nuggets prevailed 101-96 at Madison Square Garden behind 19 points from Danilo Gallinari. As of this writing, the line has not been set for this game but we can expect another close affair between two evenly matched teams.
Wizards vs. Trail Blazers
The Wizards and the Trail Blazers are struggling a bit right now. Washington has lost two straight games while Portland is in the middle of a three-game losing streak. Which team will get back on track? The Wizards are more desperate because right now they're two games behind the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings but the Trail Blazers (seventh place in the Western Conference) are too strong at home. Portland beat Washington 108-98 on January 18 behind 25 points from C.J. McCollum. Right now, the line has not been set for this game but look for the Trail Blazers to come out on top at Moda Center.
Wednesday, March 9
Grizzlies vs. Celtics
The Memphis Grizzlies visit the Boston Celtics in an intriguing game between two solid playoff teams. Memphis beat Cleveland 106-103 last night while Boston saw their five-game winning streak end with a 120-103 loss in Cleveland. Based on their common opponent, the Grizzlies could have the upper hand but the Celtics will be more rested and they're extremely tough to beat at home.
Clippers vs. Thunder
The Clippers visit the Thunder in a battle of Western Conference contenders. The Thunder are currently third in the West, one and a half game ahead of the fourth-place Clippers, so this game means a lot for both teams, as each will try to make a statement and improve in the standings. The Clippers are still without Blake Griffin and being at home gives an edge to the Thunder. Will that be enough to consider them for our NBA picks?
Thursday, March 10
Bulls vs. Spurs
The Bulls face a tough test when they visit the Spurs on Thursday. The Bulls have won two straight games to move to eight-place in the Eastern Conference while the Spurs are coming off a 99-91 loss at Indiana last night. Chicago won the first meeting between these two teams, 92-89 on November 30 and with Jimmy Butler back, the Bulls might have a chance to beat the NBA odds, even if they don't win the game straight up.
Cavaliers vs. Lakers
The Cavaliers visit the Lakers in the last matchup between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, so that, along with the fact that James has been calling out his teammates for their recent performances, adds a lot of intrigue for this game. The Lakers still have the worst record in the Western Conference but they're coming off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history in Sunday's 112-95. Look for Kobe and LeBron to put up a show in what should be an epic clash.
Friday, March 11
Heat vs. Bulls
The Miami Heat are on a roll, winning five straight games to move to a half game behind the Boston Celtics for third place in the East while as mentioned above, the Chicago Bulls have to visit the San Antonio Spurs before hosting Miami. The Heat lead the season series with the Bulls 2-0 and given their current form it's hard not to like their chances despite the fact that Bulls will likely have most of their stars at their disposal.
Trail Blazers vs. Warriors
This will be the third meeting between the Trail Blazers and Warriors. Their season series is tied 1-1 but the Warriors haven't forgotten the 137-105 beating that the Trail Blazers put on them on February 19 in Portland. Damian Lillard exploded for 51 points in that game and the matchup between him and Curry promises to make this game extremely fun to watch. Will the Warriors get some revenge here? Can the Trail Blazers prove that their last meeting was not a fluke?