It’s time for another star-studded basketball betting doubleheader on TNT, featuring the No. 2 seeds from the Eastern and Western Conferences. We’ve got your NBA picks for the spreads and totals in both contests.
Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 7 inclusive:
Is there any basketball program better than TNT NBA Thursday? Seriously, I don’t know – I killed my TV for good last week. I was already down to using it only for live sports, but I can stand the advertising anymore. My eyeballs are not for sale, and all the important footage gets uploaded to the Interwebs anyway. Freedom for my people~!
Millions of fans will be tuning in anyway, and you can be sure they’ll be flooding the NBA betting marketplace. So let’s get right to those basketball spreads and totals already. All the betting odds listed are from the early NBA odds in Vegas.
Miami at New York (8:00 p.m. ET)
The last time we checked in on the Heat (27-8 SU, 16-19 ATS), they were dropping the cash to the amazing Toronto Raptors (+6.5 away), although Miami still won the game 102-97. There’s been a lot of that lately, as you can tell by the discrepancy between Miami’s SU and ATS records. The chalk monsters have caught up to the Heat; they’re 14-5 SU and 7-12 ATS since the start of December, with the OVER at 13-6 after starting the season 8-8.
Maybe Michael Beasley (18.6 PER) did something behind the scenes to get himself in the doghouse again. His minutes are way down from late November, and so is his production level. The Heat have also been dealing with injuries to Shane Battier (8.6 PER) and now Mario Chalmers (15.1 PER), and Dwyane Wade (22.7 PER) has already taken seven maintenance days off this season. I’m starting to think they’re just coasting to the playoffs. Shocking, I know.
Meanwhile, look out folks, the Knicks (12-22 SU, 14-20 ATS) are basically back at full capacity, and they’ve gone 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games, almost completing the Texas Triple in the process. Not sure how long New York will be a buy-low commodity at this rate, but for now, this looks like a fantastic spot for every sharp’s favorite parlay, the underdog-UNDER.
NBA Picks: Take the Knicks +6.5, UNDER 198.5
Oklahoma City at Denver (10:30 p.m. ET)
I saw an article recently that said Kevin Durant (29.5 PER) was the clear MVP this year over LeBron James (29.2 PER). Stupid clickbait. But Durant has definitely played his way into 1A status, putting the Thunder (27-8 SU, 19-16 ATS) on his back while Russell Westbrook (21.4 PER) recovers from his knee injury. It hasn’t been enough, though. OKC is 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS since Westbrook last played on Christmas Day. That includes losses to the Brooklyn Nets (+12 away) and the Utah Jazz (+6 at home).
There’s one other missing person on the Thunder roster. Serge Ibaka (17.9 PER) came down with flu-like symptoms earlier this week and didn’t play against Utah. Perry Jones (13.1 PER) got the start instead and was a minus-10 in 10 minutes of action, missing his only field-goal attempt. Considering that Oklahoma City still insists on starting Kendrick Perkins (6.6 PER), it’s imperative that Ibaka gets his ill self back into the lineup ASAP.
Denver (17-17 SU, 15-19 ATS) is showing some signs of life again, snapping an eight-game losing streak with three straight wins at 2-1 ATS. However, we’ve got a situation on our hands: Both Wilson Chandler (13.9 PER) and Nate Robinson (16.6 PER) will be game-time decisions after getting hurt during Tuesday’s 129-98 win over the Boston Celtics (+7.5 away). The NBA odds are pending for this game as we go to press, but I’ll go ahead with the Nuggets and the OVER, which is on a 4-0 roll for Denver.
NBA Picks: Take the Nuggets and the OVER