LeBron James is taking the night off tonight in Utah, and most members of the Oklahoma City Thunder will be scattering off for their vacations after they defeated Orlando on national TV last night in their final game before the All-Star break.

The other 29 NBA teams still have two days of games to play before Friday is a dark day (as they say in horse racing), with All-Stars and All-Star Weekend participants heading to Indianapolis and everyone else heading to Cozumel or somewhere else with palm trees, beaches and fruity beverages.

This is the time of the NBA season when everyone needs a break but not everyone gets one. Certain teams have already packed it in for the season from a competitive standpoint, while others are on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, circling late April on their calendars because that is when the serious stuff begins.

In the sports gambling universe, the trick is to figure out who is incentivized to go into the break with a head of steam, and who is going to have the same mindset that the Miami Heat had last year when qualifying for the playoffs was the lone goal, and seeding did not matter one iota.

What we learned from seeing the Thunder looking terrific in a rare national television appearance (Shaquille O’Neal said he could see them making the NBA Finals) is that earning national recognition is important to teams that are off the radar from a national exposure perspective. One of those teams is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had won 17 of 18 before Darius Garland missed the final shot of the night Monday in a 123-121 loss to Philadelphia.

In that game, Buddy Hield was incentivized to mesh with his new teammates and scored 24 points. Hield is going to be a postseason factor for the Sixers once Joel Embiid is back from knee surgery. As for the Cavs, they get the national spotlight tonight in the first half of the ESPN doubleheader against Chicago. The Bulls have won three of four as Coby White makes a late case for Most Improved Player.

Who will be incentivized tonight? Who will have their minds on Cozumel instead of on the task at hand? Who will replicate what Hield did two nights ago for Philly? There are 13 games to choose from, and the goal today is to find the hidden value nuggets on that extremely crowded schedule. So let’s have at it.

Best NBA Parlay Picks Today – Wednesday, February 14, 2024: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+1234)

Knicks vs Magic Prediction and Pick

New York is coming off a loss at Houston in which the officials called a phantom foul just before the final buzzer giving the Rockets three tiebreaking free throws, denying them a chance to play overtime. They have filed a protest with the league office, and let’s just say that the officials assigned to this game will not want to repeat the mistake made by the crew from two nights ago. New York is dealing with several injuries, but this line is too high in favor of Orlando, which is 10-2-0 ATS as a home favorite. This is a night to toss that trend aside in the belief that the Knicks will be stoked to bounce back from a robbery of a loss and will get favorable treatment from the refs.

Leg-1 Parlay Pick: Knicks +3.5 vs Magic (-120)

Rockets vs Grizzlies Prediction and Pick

The longest current losing streak in the NBA is held by the Memphis Grizzlies, who have 13 injured players and keep signing fill-ins through injury exemptions, which the NBA grants when necessary. Imagine being a Grizzlies fan and expecting that Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart would lead your team to an even better finish than second in the West, which was where Memphis finished last season. Instead, you are having to learn all about Jacob Gilyard, a 5-foot-7 point guard and a G-League call-up who is the NCAA’s all-time leader in career steals. He is not exactly killing it at the NBA level, where he is the shortest player on any current roster. The Rockets are five games under .500 and cannot afford to give away any games as they currently are 12th in the West under new coach Ime Udoka and have Dillon Brooks returning to Memphis to face his former team.

Leg-2 Parlay Pick: Rockets – 3.5 vs. Grizzlies (-105)

Mavericks vs Spurs Prediction and Pick 

OK, Victor Wembanyama’s triple-double with 10 blocked shots was extraordinary two nights ago, and the French kid seems like a mortal lock to win Rookie of the Year. But that does not erase the fact that he has very little around him, and the Hield factor comes into play for the Mavs with Daniel Gafford, who was acquired from the Wizards at the trade deadline and now gets to dunk off Luke Doncic’s brilliant passes. When all is said and done, that may go down as the best deadline deal made by any team.

Leg-3 Parlay Pick: Mavericks – 11.5 vs. Spurs (-105)

Clippers vs Warriors Prediction and Pick 

Golden State has its mojo back and has won five in a row. Meanwhile, the Clippers were looking extraordinary before they ran into a hyper-stoked Minnesota Timberwolves team two nights ago and lost by 21, their most lopsided defeat since Boston beat them by 37 two days before Christmas. The Lakers’ co-tenants are third in the West and are only one loss behind first-place Minnesota. Golden State is 10th and is riding a 5-game winning streak, but they are still the second-best team in this matchup talent-wise, and covering this big of a spread seems like a reach.

Leg-4 Parlay Pick: Clippers – 3.5 vs Warriors (-110)

Putting those four picks together produces a +1234 parlay price on the Betway board, meaning a $10 wager would pay $133.41, which will cover the cost of those dozen roses that you are supposed to have remembered to have purchased earlier today for that special someone in your life. Good luck!

Odds are subject to change*

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