Our NBA handicapping expert looks at the most important games this week and signals why they offer significant betting value for your NBA picks.
Friday, April 1
Celtics vs. Warriors
The Warriors host the Celtics, who will likely be a bit tired after a tough game in Portland the previous night. Can the Celtics still find a way to keep up with the Warriors? Can the Boston defense contain the Splash Brothers? These two teams met on December 11 in Boston and the Celtics played the Warriors tough in a 124-119 double overtime loss. Being at home and well-rested favors Golden State though, and it's hard to like a tired Boston team on the road against the seemingly unstoppable Warriors.
Saturday, April 2
Pistons vs. Bulls
This game could very well be Chicago's last chance to save their season. The Pistons are currently two and a half games over the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East, and it's safe to say that being at home against the team that they're chasing makes this a must-win spot for Chicago. On paper, the Bulls have enough talent to compete with the Pistons but they're a mess right now. Detroit leads the season series against Chicago 2-1, with each game being decided by single digits, so keep that in mind before placing your NBA picks here.
Raptors vs. Spurs
The Raptors face a tough test when they visit a Spurs team that is currently 37-0 at home. San Antonio wants to preserve their perfect record at the AT&T Center while Toronto tries to catch Cleveland for first place in the East. The Raptors did beat the Spurs 97-94 on December 9 in Toronto behind 28 points from DeMar DeRozan. San Antonio has a tough game in Utah on Tuesday, so they might rest some of their key players, as they usually do once the regular season is coming to an end.
Sunday, April 3
Hornets vs. Cavaliers
The surprising Hornets visit the East-leading Cavaliers in another potential playoff preview. Both teams are 7-3 over their last 10 games but the Cavs will be at home and they have more talent and experience on their roster. The Cavaliers lead the season series against the Hornets 2-1 but Charlotte has been tough to beat for them. The Cavs will have a difficult game against the Hawks on Friday before hosting the Hornets, who will play a home-and-home series with the 76ers, which might give them an edge in terms of stamina.
Thunder vs. Rockets
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook visit their former teammate James Harden and the Rockets in one of the top games for Sunday. As mentioned above, the Thunder are playing some of their best basketball of the season while the Rockets are really struggling, still looking for a way to distance themselves from the Mavericks and keep their playoff spot. Will Houston be able to find a way to stop Oklahoma City's well-rounded offense? The Thunder lead the season series 2-1, although their last meeting with the Rockets was a close 111-107 win on March 22 at Oklahoma City.
Wednesday, March 30
Hawks vs. Raptors
Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference meet when the Hawks visit the Raptors. Atlanta is on a roll, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS over their last four games. The Raptors are coming off a tough 119-100 loss against the Thunder, their third setback over their last four contests, but they still lead the Hawks by five games in the race for second place in the East. The Raptors lead the season series against the Hawks 2-0 but this Atlanta team is on fire and they offer decent value for your NBA picks at +2 NBA odds.
Warriors vs. Jazz
The Warriors visit the Jazz in a potential playoff preview. Golden State is 66-7 as of this writing, as they continue on pace to surpass the 72-10 regular season record from the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. The Jazz are currently seventh in the Western Conference standings, one game over the eight-place Rockets. Both teams are playing decent basketball as of late, so it will be a very entertaining contest. Golden State is favored by 5.5 points at sportsbooks like Pinnacle and Heritage. The Warriors lead the season series with the Jazz 3-0 but tomorrow's game will not be easy for a Golden State team that has to play the Wizards on Tuesday, while Utah will be more rested.
Thursday, March 31
Bulls vs. Rockets
Two disappointing teams clash on Thursday when the Bulls visit the Rockets. Chicago is currently on a four-game losing streak that has sent them to 10th place in the East, two and a half games behind Detroit while the Rockets are fighting with the Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This is a must-win game for both teams and we can expect them to play at a fast pace and with a sense of urgency, which could lead to a lot of points off turnovers. The Bulls beat the Rockets 108-100 on March 5 in Chicago and each team will likely score over 100 points once again.
Clippers vs. Thunder
The Clippers visit the Thunder in what should be a fun to watch affair between two teams that are playing extremely well as we get closer to the playoffs. The Clippers have won three in a row, while the Thunder are on an eight-game winning streak. Both teams have a lot of talent and they put up decent amounts of points, so we could be in for a high-scoring matchup at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder lead the season series 3-1 and the most recent meeting finished 120-108 in their favor. Look for a similar high-scoring type of contest with Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook leading each offense.
Celtics vs. Trail Blazers
The Celtics and the Trail Blazers have exceeded expectations this year, and that makes this a very intriguing contest because each team wants to make powerful statements as the regular season ends. Portland is tough to beat at home and Boston is in the middle of a five-game West road trip, which will show us what this team is made of. The Trail Blazers beat the Celtics 116-93 in Boston on March 2 behind 20 points from Damian Lillard and 17 points from C.J. McCollum. Isaiah Thomas led the way for Boston with 30 points in that contest. Look for Portland to prevail at home, although the Celtics could very well keep the game close.