Videos by OutKick
There are only four games on the NBA’s card Thursday but I’ve somehow found looks in three of them. I may talk myself into betting the other on my NBA gambling show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed Monday-Friday.
Below, I’ll handicap the Toronto Raptors visiting the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Clippers heading to the Bay to face the Golden State Warriors.
Toronto Raptors (31-32) at Washington Wizards (29-32), 7 p.m. ET
This is the 1st Raptors-Wizards meeting this season and all four last season went Under the total by an average of 17.4 points per game (PPG). Both teams’ pace and offensive execution suggest a 5th straight Under.
Toronto is 0-4 Over/Under (O/U) following the All-Star Game with a -17.1 O/U margin and D.C. is 1-2 O/U with a -13.8 O/U margin. Since the All-Star break, the Raptors rank 24th in pace and the Wizards rank last.
A major reason for Toronto’s defensive improvement is the addition of C Jakob Poeltl at the trade deadline. The Raptors allow 26.9 fewer points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Poeltl is on the floor in his 1st seven games in Toronto, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Both teams have a bad shot profile. Per CTG, Toronto’s offensive shot selection ranks 22nd in the NBA and Washington’s ranks 27th. The Raptors are 23rd in wide-open 3-point-attempt rate and the Wizards are 25th.
Also, Toronto attempts a majority of its field goals in the mid-range and Washington’s defensive field goal percentage is 8th vs. mid-range jumpers, according to CTG.
This is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market for the total. Per Pregame.com, the public is split on how to bet the total but a majority of the cash is on the UNDER. Let’s follow the money headed south of the total.
NBA Best Bet #1: UNDER 223 in Raptors-Wizards (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to 222
Philadelphia 76ers (40-21) at Dallas Mavericks (32-31), 7:30 p.m. ET
This is the opposite of a sharp play because most of the money at DraftKings is on the Mavericks and the public is backing the Sixers, according to VSIN.
But, Kyrie Irving is a basketball-cancer and I’m going to fade the Mavs when they play good teams. Hell, I’ll fade them when they are playing losing teams like the other night when Dallas lost to the Pacers 124-122.
(Side note: How funny would it be if both Irving’s current and old teams miss the playoffs?) The Mavs are 2-5 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) since acquiring Kyrie. Their only wins are vs. two terrible defenses.
Furthermore, James Harden‘s exceptional play is flying under the radar. Over his past nine games, Harden is scoring 24.1 PPG on .457/.414/.909 shooting with a 9.2-to-3.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Dallas has perhaps the worst backcourt defense in the NBA. Luka Doncic doesn’t play defense and Irving is even worse on D. Harden and combo guard Tyrese Maxey can offset Luka’s and Kyrie’s production.
Joel Embiid missed Philly’s 119-96 win at the Heat Wednesday with a foot injury so that’s an obvious concern. The 76ers are 3-0 SU (+8.3 SU margin) and 2-1 ATS in the 2nd of a road back-to-back this season.
Philadelphia is 9-4 SU without Embiid this season and has the depth to get it done vs. Dallas Thursday. Not only am I taking the points with the Sixers but I’m throwing a little change on their moneyline (ML) as well.
NBA Best Bet #2: 76ers +4 (-110) & ‘sprinkle’ on Philadelphia’s ML (+150) at DraftKings
Los Angeles Clippers (33-31) at Golden State Warriors (32-30)
These teams met last month from a similar spot from a health standpoint and the Clippers smacked the Warriors. LAC at full strength beat Golden State 134-124 and the Warriors were missing Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins.
Per CTG, Curry has a +9.9 non-garbage time on/off net rating and Wiggins is +8.4, which ranks 2nd and 3rd, respectively, on Golden State. Curry and Wiggins have already been ruled out Thursday.
My two biggest concerns with backing the Clippers here are the Warriors are nasty as home underdogs and both teams are trending in the opposite direction.
LAC is 0-3 SU and ATS over the last three games. Golden State is on a 3-game winning streak and 3-0 ATS. The Clippers need to stop the bleeding and the playoff race is a dog-fight in the West.
Kawhi Leonard lit the Warriors up last month, scoring 33 points on 70.6% shooting (7-for-9 from behind the arc) with a 173 offensive rating. Draymond Green will be tasked with stopping Leonard all by himself.
The Clippers are 5-1 SU vs. Draymond Green and the Warriors when Leonard plays since he signed with LAC in 2019. I’m betting Kawhi carries the Clippers past the Warriors Thursday.
Finally, LAC can win by margin at the foul line. Golden State is 29th in offensive free-throw-attempt rate (FTr) and 24th defensively. The Clippers are 11th in offensive FTr and 4th in defensive FTr.
NBA Best Bet #3: Clippers -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -4
FOLLOW GEOFF ON TWITTER: @Geoffery_Clark
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
PointsBet Sportsbook users can make their first bets risk-free up to $2,000. If the bet loses, PointsBet will refund you in site credit. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.
First-time DraftKings users can get up to a $1,000 deposit bonus and receive a 20% first deposit match up to $1,000 when they sign up. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.