My decision to go against the grain on Wednesday night did not pay off. While the Detroit Pistons were indeed a double-digit underdog at home by the NBA betting odds against the Brooklyn Nets, they didn’t play as well as expected. Brooklyn scored 47 first quarter points on its way to a 15-point win, but the Nets were only up by four points late in the third quarter. Detroit could have stayed within the number, yet the Pistons went four minutes without scoring.
As for the Indiana Pacers, they were competitive the whole way against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Indiana actually had a three-point lead with a little less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the late foul game caused them to lose by nine points, and the Pacers failed to cover the basketball betting line.
There are just three days left in the NBA regular season, so let’s finish the year on a high note!
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
New York Knicks at New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have won eight of their last 10 games and will at least be a part of the play-in tournament. New Orleans is one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and the Pelicans are trying to either run down Golden State or one of the Los Angeles teams for one of the final spots in the playoffs proper. It’s been impressive to watch the Pelicans rally despite not having Zion Williamson for more than three months, and they have been without Jose Alvarado for more than a month too.
Brandon Ingram is averaging 24.5 PPG after missing two months of the season due to injury, and all that time out for both Williamson and Ingram forced other players to develop. C.J. McCollum officially grew into his role with New Orleans, while Trey Murphy III emerged as a competent scorer that is averaging 14.2 PPG. Jonas Valanciunas can be a difference maker on the interior, while Herb Jones is a very good defender.
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks don’t have anything to play for at this point. The Knicks are now officially locked into the No. 5 seed, and we know that they will be playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. Given the sprained ankle that Julius Randle is dealing with right now, the Knicks don’t want to lose any other key players, so we saw Jalen Brunson and R.J. Barrett both sit on Wednesday night. The Knicks are likely to be without their top three scorers once again on Friday, so it should be safe to back the Pelicans.
Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks
The Chicago Bulls are also locked into their postseason spot. Chicago will take part in the 9-10 single elimination game against either Toronto or Atlanta. Given how many Bulls have played 72 games or more this season with an eye on making the playoffs, it’s very likely that we see top players taking a breather in their final two regular season games in order to be as close to 100% as possible for the playoffs.
That’s great news for the Dallas Mavericks as they look to sneak into the Western Conference Playoffs despite losing seven of their last ten games. Dallas is tied with Oklahoma City for the final spot in the play-in tournament, but the Mavericks don’t hold the tiebreaker with the Thunder, so they need to win their last two games and get some help.
Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic came up big for Dallas on Wednesday night, combining for 60 points in a four-point win over the Sacramento Kings. The defense played relatively well too considering what we have seen out of this team so far this season, and Dallas is hoping for a similar performance on Friday night.
Dallas is feeling optimistic about its chances considering the Mavericks took care of the hard part with the win over Sacramento. Their last two games are progressively easier, as they face Chicago on Friday night before closing out the regular season against the lowly San Antonio Spurs in the season finale on Sunday night.