The typical dynamite matchups aren’t quite there tonight for TNT’s NBA Thursday. Both games are decent games, but they lack some of the rivalry and playoff importance that most weeks provide. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good wagering opportunities tonight.
Both Portland and Dallas know that time is running short on their fading playoff hopes, but the recent stumbles of Utah and Golden State, along with the questionable nature of Kobe’s injury last night give them at least a small gasp of hope. Suffice it to say, both teams KNOW they HAVE to win tonight.
Let’s break down tonight’s two games and find a winning edge.
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs -9
The Spurs rested both Kwahi Leonard and Tim Duncan last night, but both are expected to play tonight against the Mavericks. That’s good news for a San Antonio team that will still be missing their best player, MVP-candidate Tony Parker for about another three weeks to a month. They are going to need everyone they can get tonight against a desperate Dallas team that they haven’t sweep in a season since 1996.
The Spurs grip on the top spot in the West has shrunk to just one game over the Thunder, so they can ill-afford too many slip-ups. The trend for the Spurs has been blowing out the next opponent, especially after resting some starters. I think that trend continues tonight.
San Antonio has won eight of ten against the Mavs and has beaten them by an average margin of more than 21 points in their last four wins. I like San Antonio, a RESTED San Antonio, at home tonight big.
Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs -9
New York Knicks at Portland Trailblazers -6
Until the Knicks show some life on this road trip, I’m going to keep betting against them and profiting. The Knicks have been outscored 209-157 in the last three nights; a pair of embarrassing blowout losses to the Warriors and Nuggets. Tonight they play the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights, all on the road and all on the West Coast.
That’s a recipe for disaster for good teams, let alone struggling teams with ridiculous injury issues piling up. Tyson Chandler is likely out tonight. Carmelo IS out tonight, and Amare’ Stoudamire is likely out for the season. No Melo? No offense. No Tyson? Lamarcus Alderidge will have fun tonight.
So will Portland fans. Give me the Blazers tonight.
Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers -6