We cashed in just one of our three picks against the spread on a wild night in the NBA, though it was a big one with the Celtics humiliating the Suns in a matchup between perhaps the two best teams in the first seven weeks of the season.
A much lighter betting menu awaits us on Thursday, with just three games to look forward to before the busy weekend.
Here are our favorite games for BetMGM on a quiet night:
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NBA Thursday Odds, Picks (via BetMGM)
- Rockets -1.5 @ Spurs
- Nuggets +1.5 @ Trail Blazers
Spurs vs. Rockets predictions and analysis (8:30 p.m. ET)
Rockets … preferred? What at first glance looks like a clerical error is the result of inspired play by one of the NBA’s worst teams and an absolutely terrifying run by the host Spurs.
San Antonio hasn’t won a game since Nov. 11, has lost 11 straight with a 1-10 ATS record and a league-worst net rating (-19.4) – same game almost double the next worst performance on the yin. Eight of those 11 losses have come by double digits, none worse than Sunday’s 38-point loss at the hands of the struggling Suns.
Meanwhile, Houston has shown signs of life with back-to-back wins over the 76ers and Suns, and oddsmakers have impressed enough to rate the Rockets as favorites for the first time all year. They went 4-3 ATS at this point last year with four wins by at least 13 points, so don’t be afraid to pay the short price in a clear winnable spot.
“Spurs” and “Rockets” selection
Rockets -1.5 (BetMGM)
Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Prediction & Analysis (10 p.m. ET, NBA TV)
These two teams have nearly opposite profiles heading into Friday’s contest, and oddsmakers are daring you to buy the Nuggets short in what should be a comfortable win.
On the one hand, Denver has won four straight and is starting to look like the elite team that many have been waiting for for two years – only losing three straight. The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, have the best record after two games after posting a miserable 1-7 record (2-6 ATS) in their previous eight games.
Portland’s star point guard Damian Lillard is back from his second extended game of the season, but he played just 32 minutes in Sunday’s game — his third in 12 games — and 100 in that game. % should not be expected. Until that happens, I’m going to take the points clear on two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and his best assistant.
Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets pick
Nuggets +1.5 (BetMGM)