There are five NBA games on Thursday night but there’s not a dud in the bunch. The Lakers absolutely need a win but they’ll need to go into Utah and stun the Jazz if they want to stay ahead of the Spurs in the playoff race.
Elsewhere, the Bucks and Nets will square off, the Cavs and Hawks will try to cement their playoff seeding, the Bulls try to grab the fifth seed in the East against the Clippers, and the 76ers need to beat the Pistons to keep pace with the East’s top teams.
Lakers @ Jazz
The Bet: Lakers +12.5 (-110, Fox Bet)
The Los Angeles Lakers had last night off but managed to have their most productive day in weeks as the Spurs lost by 1 point to the Grizzlies, knocking San Antonio out of a tie for the final play-in tournament spot.
LeBron James will miss this game and Anthony Davis is still out, though the big man could return this weekend.
The Lakers have lost three straight but their opponents have lost five in a row. All five of those Jazz losses are on the road and the Jazz return home Thursday night when they are 11-1 in their last 12 home games.
When the Utah Jazz win, it is often by a large margin- their last six victories are by 9+ points. The Jazz can basically put away the Timberwolves with two more wins, so they will be motivated against the Lakers, but this line just seems too high., the highest of the NBA odds of all five games tonight. Take the Lakers.
Bucks @ Nets
The Bet: Bucks +1.5 (-110, Points Bet)
While this could be a high-powered first round matchup in the East on Thursday night we will see two motivated teams badly needing a win. The Brooklyn Nets still need some wins to avoid the 9-10 play-in tournament seeds, which require two wins to make the playoffs but they are running into a Milwaukee Bucks team still chasing the top spot in the East.
Brooklyn has won eight of their last eleven games, while the Bucks have won eleven of fourteen. The Nets finally beat the Bucks in February after being blown out twice earlier in the season.
The Nets have actually played worse at home (17-20) than on the road (23-16). Milwaukee plays well everywhere and have covered in eight of their last twelve road games. The Bucks as an underdog against a team struggling to make the playoffs? Yes, please. This is our favorite NBA pick of the night.