It was nice to have another 2-0 day on Wednesday, and that was my second 2-0 in three days. Both bets I made for Wednesday night were easy winners as the Los Angeles Lakers did indeed play much better against the Chicago Bulls in their rematch. Anthony Davis had 38 points and 10 rebounds in an 11-point win, and LeBron James was able to contribute 25 points in his second game back from injury.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings laid the smack down on the Portland Trail Blazers to lock up their first playoff berth in 17 years. Sacramento hammered Portland by 40 points, and the Kings outscored the Trail Blazers 70-34 in the second half to get the easy win by the NBA betting odds.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets
This might be an absolute dog of a game, but it could have implications in the race for the No. 1 overall pick. The Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets are the two worst teams in the NBA, and they have been tanking since the start of the season. Both teams have thrown it into overdrive near the end of the campaign with Detroit and Houston each losing seven straight games, and there’s a good chance we see a lot of players sitting out this game.
In a situation like what we will see here on Friday night, the Under is a solid play. There has been an offensive revolution in the NBA this season, but the Pistons have only scored more than 107 points once in their last seven games. Detroit continues to sit leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic in order to boost their chances for the rights to select Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick, and the Pistons are now sitting Alec Burks too. The good news is that they are letting their young players pick up major minutes with Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, and James Wiseman all averaging at least 26 MPG.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are doing the same thing with their young core. Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Kevin Porter Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr., and Jabari Smith Jr. have all been drafted in the last four years, and they are playing more minutes than anyone for the Rockets. This bodes well for the future, but the team has really struggled in the present with so many young players trying to figure things out.
Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves
There aren’t many remaining games with bigger playoff implications than this one. The Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves are both in line to qualify for the Play-In Tournament at this point. Only a half game separates these two teams, and they would both love to catch Golden State to grab the last spot in the playoffs proper without having to go through the stress of the Play-In Tournament. Both teams have been middling over the last couple weeks, but there’s a lot to like with Minnesota in this game.
Minnesota won four straight games before falling on the road to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return, and he was too much for the T-Wolves to handle. However, we saw Minnesota knock off New York, Golden State, and Sacramento on the road before that loss, and that was especially encouraging since Karl-Anthony Towns is back in the lineup.
Although Towns isn’t a great defender, the presence of two bigs has helped this defense. Rudy Gobert is an excellent interior defender, and Towns can flow off of him when he is focused. After missing nearly four months due to injury, Towns should be focused from here on out, and Minnesota has a game changing shot maker in Anthony Edwards.
The Timberwolves are 2-0 against the Lakers this season. Los Angeles is finally back to .500 this season, but Anthony Davis has had to expend a lot of energy to get the team there, and he just isn’t someone you can consistently count on. This is a tough stretch for the Lakers too as they have five straight road games, so this is a pretty tough position for them.