Perhaps I should have expected an 0-2 day after I broke my 1-1 streak with a 2-0 performance on Monday night. That was especially the case after both the teams I backed announced that their best players would be sitting out on Tuesday. The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t have Ja Morant against the Orlando Magic, and that led to Memphis failing to cover against Orlando by a single point by the NBA betting odds. Memphis was favored by six points and led by 14 points entering the fourth quarter, but Orlando scored 35 points in the final frame. It was an even more brutal beat than you might think though as the Magic scored 15 points in the final 70 seconds to make it interesting and pick up the improbable cover.
The Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander either. SGA was ruled out of Tuesday night’s clash with the Charlotte Hornets due to a sprained ankle, and the Thunder really struggled on defense without their star guard. Although OKC had three players with 30+ points, the Hornets had seven players score in double digits. Most of these players were no names since the Hornets have packed it in, but P.J. Washington had a career-high 43 points.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
If the Boston Celtics have any hope of catching the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics must beat the Bucks on Thursday night. Currently, Milwaukee has a 2.5 game lead over Boston with seven games left in the regular season, so the Bucks can essentially lock up the No. 1 seed in the East with a win over the Celtics here.
Milwaukee has won seven of its last ten games. The Bucks have been the best team in the league over the last two months, as they have largely dominated their opponents while they haven’t laid a lot off eggs. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to roll over everyone in his path as he has 31.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG, but his status for this game is somewhat questionable as he has a knee issue, and this is the second game of a back-to-back after the Bucks take on the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Khris Middleton hasn’t been at his best lately, and his status is in the air too. Reserves like Joe Ingles, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, and Meyers Leonard are all injured as well, so this is probably a pretty good spot to bet on Boston.
The Celtics did lay an egg on Tuesday night with a 19-point loss to the Washington Wizards, but they will have a day of rest before taking on the Bucks. Jayson Tatum is having an underrated season with 30.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 4.7 APG, and Jaylen Brown has been hot lately.
New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
This isn’t a must-win game for the New Orleans Pelicans, but it’s very close. New Orleans is 38-38 with six games left to play, and the Pelicans have a game lad on Dallas for the last spot in the Play-In Tournament. The Pelicans would love to run down either Golden State or the LA Clippers to automatically qualify for the playoffs proper, but they are just 14-25 away from home.
However, this Denver Nuggets team might not have anything to play for since they already have a three-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 1 seed in the West, and the Sacramento Kings have played themselves out of the top spot in recent weeks. Additionally, Denver might decide that it’s important to make sure everyone is healthy since they will likely play a tougher foe than they should in the first round given the state of the first round.
New Orleans will likely be a sizable underdog on the road in the Mile High city per the NBA betting line. The Pelicans are still without Zion Williamson (what else is new), but C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram are carrying the load pretty effectively, while Jonas Valanciunas is performing well with the renaissance surrounding athletic big men in the modern day NBA.