NBA betting: Best value bets for Thursday night
Chris Sheridan finds the value in the NBA on Thursday night and looks at the main contenders to be named league MVP.
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Tonight’s TNT doubleheader is a good one, and it will put a focus on the Western Conference at a time when Frank Vogel’s job security with the Lakers is the biggest story in the NBA. After Los Angeles lost to Indiana last night, it is hard to see him lasting the entire season at the Lakers’ helm.
But another story is brewing in the sports gambling world: The Most Valuable Player award race is suddenly a whole lot more open than it has been, and tonight Steph Curry will either reassert himself as the top candidate for the award; or slog through another poor shooting night to prolong his slump.
It has now been nine games since Curry had a 30-point game, his last coming on Christmas. He remains the MVP favorite at odds of +170, followed by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (+300), Denver’s Nikola Jokic (+600) and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (+800). Ja Morant is in the conversation at +1000, and only six other players (Kevin Durant; +2200), DeMar DeRozan (+3000), Devin Booker (+3500), Luka Doncic (+4000), LeBron James (+4500) and Chris Paul (+6000) have odds lower than 100-1.
The season is now just past the midpoint, so this is a debate that is far from over. And if Curry lays another egg tonight against the Indiana Pacers, we may be at the point where a new favorite takes over. With Durant out four to six weeks with a sprained knee and Embiid coming off a 50-point outing against Orlando in just 27 minutes, he is not the worst wager on the board at +800, having scored at least 31 points in 13 of his last 15 games. By comparison, Curry has 14 30-point games to Embiid’s 18, and Embiid has been carrying the Sixers in the absence of Ben Simmons much in the same way Curry had been doing that for Golden State while Klay Thompson was out.
Curry’s Warriors are favored by 11.5 against the Pacers, who will be playing the second half of a back-to-back. Curry managed only 18 points Tuesday night against the Pistons, his fourth sub-20-point game this month after being below 20 points only five times in November and December. Golden Stage is 8-4-1 ATS with a rest advantage, but Indiana has gone 5-2-0 ATS with no rest. So that line looms as quite large, which is why we counsel keeping it simple and sticking with player props. We like Andrew Wiggins under 4.5 rebounds, which he has done in nine of 10 games this month, and parlay it with Caris LeVert going over 5.5 rebounds, something he has done in two straight.
The Warriors and Pacers are squaring off in the nightcap of the TNT doubleheader, preceded by Phoenix vs Dallas as the league’s best team takes on the league’s hottest team, with Doncic perhaps getting his name into the MVP dialogue with the Mavs now having won 10 of 11 with Doncic posting three triple-doubles in that span.
The Mavs, playing at home, are a three-point ‘dog against a Suns team that holds a 2.5 game lead over Golden State in the West. The Suns are 11-6-0 ATS as a road favorite and 9-7-0 with a rest advantage, which they will have tonight as the Mavs play the second half of a back-to-back. It would be easy to assume that this game means more to Dallas than it does to Phoenix, but that would be underestimating the Suns. And didn’t we all learn our lesson in regards to that last postseason?
Devin Booker is coming off a 48-point game at San Antonio in which Chris Paul had 12 assists and no turnovers. Doncic is coming off a 41-point performance in a four-point victory over Toronto on Wednesday. He has not played against the Suns since last season when he failed to score 30 in two of the three games against the Suns. His over/under on points is 26.5, which seems about right. He made four 3-pointers against the Raptors after making only one of his previous 18, and under the broken faucet rule he is running too hot and cold. But then again, he has made more than two 3-pointers just once in the past 10 games, so going over his made 3-pointers total of 2.5 seems unlikely. So go under on that one and parlay it with Chris Paul going over 8.5 assists, something he has done in six of his past eight games.
There is a third game tonight, the New Orleans Pelicans traveling to the ghost town also known as New York City to play the Knicks. New York is favored by four, and the Pels are 6-13-0 ATS as a road underdog. So take the Knicks and give the points, and parlay it with the under (209.5). It is snowing today in New York, so we’ve got to assume both teams will be cold. Good luck!