Just a half-dozen games on the NBA schedule tonight as the Association competes with the NFL for the eyes of the sports fan this evening. Basketball fans will have a few great matchups to choose from despite the condensed card, including Bucks/Hornets, Heat/Suns, and a rematch of Thursday’s instant classic between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers
Best Bet: Memphis -3.5 / -110 (BetMGM)
If you haven’t paid attention yet to the Grizzlies this season, well… now is as good of a time as any to get on the bandwagon. Memphis is 26-14 this season (25-15 ATS), and is riding a seven-game winning streak into this afternoon’s matchup versus the Clippers. Memphis is 2-0 on the season against LA, despite the fact that Paul George (currently out with a torn elbow ligament) suited up for both of those Clippers’ losses.
Ja Morant and Desmond Bane are making a case as one of the best young backcourts in the NBA, but even without the latter on Thursday, the Grizzlies were still able to roll the Detroit Pistons 118-88. Tonight is more of a toss up if Morant, who’s dealing with a thigh injury, doesn’t play. That said, Memphis is 10-2 without their star guard this season.
The City of Angels hasn’t been kind to the Clippers this year: They’ve lost four straight in the building formerly known as the Staples Center, and are just 12-11 at home this season. To be fair, they’ve been short-handed for much of the 2021-22 campaign due to injuries and the league’s health and safety protocols, so their 9-14 record ATS at Crypto.com Arena shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers
Best Bet: Utah +4 / -110 (WynnBet)
Unless Caris LeVert and/or Malcolm Brodgon are cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, the Pacers are going to have their work cut out for them against the Utah Jazz tonight. Three nights ago, Indiana got 30 points (and one air guitar) from Lance Stephenson in addition to a triple-double from Domantas Sabonis, and still wound up losing 129-121 to the Brooklyn Nets. The defeat was the Pacers’ sixth loss in a row, and ninth defeat in their last 11 outings.
A non-COVID-related illness forced Rudy Gobert to sit out on Wednesday, and without both he and Joe Ingles, Utah figured out a way to escape Denver with a six-point victory. A subsequent positive PCR test will likely keep the Jazz center out of tonight’s game, but that should open up things for a Utah attack that fires up more than 41 three-pointers per game. Pay close attention to the injury report: A number of Jazz players – including Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic – sat out Friday’s game against the Raptors, but are tentative for tonight.
To be clear, there isn’t much historical data to lean on from a betting perspective as tonight marks just the second time this season where Utah is a road underdog. However, one should be aware that the Jazz offense travels fairly well: Entering the weekend, Utah is out-scoring opponents on the road by an average of 11.4 PPG.
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics
Best Bet: Over 208.5 / -110 (BetMGM)
Thursday’s contest between these teams might wind up being one of the top five games of the entire NBA season. Tonight’s clash likely won’t have the energy that we saw in the Garden two nights ago, but it still figures to be a hotly-contested matchup between a pair of division rivals fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.
Boston will have something to prove as they look to even the season series after blowing a 25-point lead the other night, but they’ll need to figure out a way to contain Evan Fournier. The Knicks’ swingman is averaging 35 PPG against the Celtics this year, and just 11.7 PPG against everyone else.
New York and Boston are both sub-.500 when it comes to clearing the over/under total on the year, but all three of their games this season have gone over the number. In addition, the over is 11-7 in games following a Knicks’ victory.