Max Out Thursday's Profit With These NBA ATS Picks

Darin Zank

Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:54 PM GMT

Only two games to choose from as the Association comes out of the break Thursday night, but we've got leans on both games. Let's get the “second half” of this NBA season off to a winning start with a pair of NBA Plays of the Day for Thursday.

Mavs, Thunder Clash in OKC
Western Conference playoff contenders meet as Dallas visits Oklahoma City.

The Mavericks won six of their last eight games heading into the All-Star break, and over the break added former Knick Amare Stoudemire; what his impact might be, in this game and going forward, is open for speculation. Sometimes pick-ups like this can add a boost to a team, and sometimes they throw wrenches in the works. If we were regular Dallas backers we'd be concerned about the latter happening. The Mavs are also expected to get G Rajon Rondo back tonight, after he missed a couple of weeks with that facial injury.

OKC, meanwhile, soldiered through the “first half” of this season without two key players for long stretches. The Thunder then won five of their last six games heading into the break to pull above .500, and stand as healthy as they've been all season. OKC is probably chompin' at the bit to get back on the court tonight.

Big-picture, at 36-19 Dallas sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, but only a game out of third place. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City, at 28-25, sits in ninth place, just a half-game behind eighth-place Phoenix.

Of course, if the Thunder could just sneak into the playoffs healthy, they'd be a threat to beat just about anybody.

Dallas took the first meeting this season between these teams back in December 112-107, as Durant missed that game for OKC. The Mavs trailed by seven points through three quarters, then rallied for the victory and the cover as two-point favorites on the NBA odds. Last season Dallas took two out of three games from the Thunder.

That all being said, readers might be guessing we like the underdog Mavericks in this spot. Instead, in thinking OKC will try to jump out of the gate for a second-half playoff charge, we like the Thunder for the win tonight, with room for the cover.

Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -5 at Pinnacle

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Spurs, Clippers Hook Up in LA
Defending league champion San Antonio and Los Angeles, separated by a half-game in the Western Conference playoff race, meet at Staples Center.

The Spurs played through their share of injuries through the “first half” of this season, always with an eye on the long run. Heading into the break San Antonio won 15 of its last 20 games, as it reached near full-strength.

LA, meanwhile, lost five of its last eight heading into the break, but the big news for the Clippers at the moment is the absence of Blake Griffin, who's dealing with an elbow injury. LA is 2-1 both SU and ATS without Griffin this season, but if he's out for any length of time the Clippers will be hard-pressed to keep those percentages up.

So the Clippers, at 35-19, sit in sixth place in the Western Conference, but they're just two games out of the three spot. And the Spurs, at 34-19, are only a half-game back of the Clips. A good – or bad – week could make a big difference in the West standings.

San Antonio has taken two of three meetings with LA already this season, although the Clippers won the most recent meeting three weeks ago on the road 105-85. Last season the Spurs took two of three games from LA.

We all know Coach Pop likes to rest his veterans in spots, but tonight's game isn't one of those situations. San Antonio wants this one, to begin the second half smartly, and show that the champs are still dangerous. So we like the Spurs here, at the short spread with our NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Spurs -3 at 5Dimes

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