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So, no, the NBA was not all that predictable last night. But after what we have all been through for the past 22 months, we ain’t getting predictable, OK?

Yet we can still extrapolate a bunch of things about the NBA heading into tonight’s NBA-TV doubleheader featuring the Indiana Pacers playing the New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings playing the Los Angeles Lakers on a night with just five games on the slate. The only best bet (sure thing bet, actually) that we can give you is that another coronavirus variant will soon emerge, and politicians around the world will freak out. That is what we would call a mortal lock.

The Lakers game is the most interesting because LeBron James’ run of 30-point games ended at seven games as he finished with 28 in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves two nights ago. He is now averaging 28.5 points, which leaves him just 1.2 points per game behind Kevin Durant for the league lead. And despite Trae Young’s 56-point outburst in Portland, old man ‘Bron is ahead of him by one-tenth of a point.

The over/under on LeBron’s points for tonight is 30.5, and he is going up against the team with the second-worst defense in the NBA (behind the Houston Rockets). This will be the third meeting of the season between the teams, and if you want to talk about unpredictability, how about this: In their first game, the teams combined for 278 points in a triple-overtime game on Nov. 26. In their next meeting four nights later, the total was 209 and the Lakers got beat by 25.

We also have the Spurs playing the Raptors in Toronto inside an empty arena under tightened Ontario health restrictions; a terrific matchup of upstarts with the Grizzlies visiting the Cavs, and the Phoenix Suns playing a New Orleans Pelicans team on the second night of a back-to-back.

Five games is manageable from a prognostication standpoint. But nights like the one Curry just had can happen anytime, anywhere. Which is why we like gambling, especially those folks who had the Pistons on the money line against the Bucks last night at +1129. Biggest upset of the season? Yup, pretty much.

So let’s have at it.

Pacers (+2.5) at Knicks: This Indiana team is a little gun shy because there has been a ton of trade speculation, and we are closing in on one month before the trade deadline, so there will be other teams fighting off rumors as the next five weeks go by. New York is favored by 2.5 (up from 1.5 earlier today) after a 2-2 road trip that ended with a pair of 15-point losses to the Raptors and Thunder. Julius Randle is sidelined under COVID protocols, and Obi Toppin is finally getting his chance two years after being drafted.

Nobody on the Knicks is playing with any kind of consistency, but their defense is a constant, which is why the over/under is 206 (down from 209.5 earlier today), the lowest of the night. Of New York’s last seven games, only two have gone above 209. Of the Pacers’ last eight games (six of them losses), every single one has gone over 209. So we stay away from that one, and we look at the defensive player prop numbers.

Myles Turner, who we have been touting as a great value bet for Defensive Player of the Year, has a blocks over/under of 3.5. He has had four or more blocks in 10 of 37 games, and with the Knicks a perimeter-oriented offensive team, we like the under. Turner also is +300 to get a double-double, and we like that wager because he already had one of his nine double-doubles against the Knicks earlier this season. We also like Domantas Sabonis to go over 0.5 3-pointers made, especially since he went 3-for-4 two nights ago in Cleveland. Also, Obi Toppin over 2.5 assists since he had six last game.

Myles Turner under 3.5 blocks (-155)

Myles Turner double-doubls (+300)

Domantas Sabonis over 0.5 3-pointers made (-180)

Obi Toppin over 2.5 assists

Grizzlies (+2.5) at Cavs: Two overachievers meet near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and who (aside from Trae) is rocking it more than Ja Morant? He has gone for 36, 30, 41 and 33 in his last four games, and Cleveland really has nobody who can defend him, especially with defensive specialist Isaac Okoro going down two nights ago with a left elbow sprain. With Colin Sexton and Ricky Rubio done for the season, and Morant presumably well-aware of Young’s season-high scoring total last night, we frankly expect him to go nuts despite being on the second night of a road back-to-back after he dropped 36 on Brooklyn last night. We like the over on his points no matter what it is, so long as it is not above 32

Ja Morant over 26.5 points (-115)

Spurs (+6.5) at Raptors: NBA players have grown accustomed to playing in empty arenas, and the Spurs have been locked down in their hotel room since early yesterday as they make the second stop on a seven-game road trip. They do not have the size to match up with Pascal Siakam and OG Anonoby, and coach Nick Nurse has his team relatively whole again. Siakam’s rebound over/under is just 8.5, and he grabbed 14 in his last game and 19 in the game before that. So, yeah, we like that over. Also, Fred Van Vleet has been in the 40s on combined points, rebounds and assists in four straight games, so his combo over/under in those three categories combined seems low at 33.5.

OG Anunoby over 8.5 rebounds (-145)

Fred Van Vleet over 33.5 points + assists + rebounds (-105)

Suns (-7) at Pelicans: Chris Paul had 16 assists (two off his season-high) in a 34-point road victory at Charlotte two nights ago, and it is astounding how ageless both he and LeBron have been this season. What will become of the NBA when they are gone? The Suns have lost three of five and are playing a Pelicans team with a huge size advantage, especially with DeAndre Ayton and JaVale McGee in health and safety protocols. So the wager we like is Pelicans minus 8. Tempted to go with Jonas Valanciunas over 12.5 rebounds, but that seems a little iffy. Chris Paul has had 5 or more rebounds in six straight games, so we like him to go “over” 4.5.

Pelicans +7 (-105)

Chris Paul over 4.5 rebounds (-105)

Kings (+6.5) at Lakers: With Richaun Holmes in health and safety protocols, this is a small-ball special with the night’s highest over/under (229). De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton and young and quick and will present matchup problems for the geriatric Lakers, and Buddy Hield, who was minutes away from being traded to El Lay last summer for Kyle Kuzma, is coming off a game in which he knocked down seven 3-pointers. There is no line on Hield’s 3s, but we like Fox to go over 4.5 assists.

Also, Russell Westbrook is 0-for-8 on 3s in his last two games and has gone three straight games without making at least one 3-pointer only once all season, so we like him to go over 0.5 3-pointers made. James’ point total over/under is 30.5. He scored 30 in that triple-OT game earlier this season vs. Sacto and jacked up 13 3s, and with him on a roll we like him to go over the 30.5 points and over 2.5 3-pointers made. This one should be a shootout, so either stay sober and soak it in, or drink a whole bunch of beer and soak it up. Your choice. Good luck!

De’Aaron Fox over 4.5 assists (-155)

Russell Westbrook over 0.5 3-pointers made (-140)

LeBron James over 30.5 points (-105)

LeBron James over 2.5 3-pointers made (-155)