Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha

Damian Lillard under 33.5 points + assists (-108) at UTAFanDuel (1:19 PM CT)

Banking on Lillard to have a bad game can feel like self-sabotage from a gambling standpoint since he's a threat to pop off for 40 points on any given night. But the Jazz limit what he does best. Utah allows the second-fewest assists (22.2) per game and the fewest threes (10.6) per game in the NBA. Utah being on the second half of a back-to-back set after an overtime game Wednesday gives me some pause, but I think they'll be locked in enough to slow down Lillard, who has averaged 31.0 combined points + assists in his last 10 appearances.

Nick Whalen

Heat vs. LAL, under 204.5 points (-112) – DraftKings (11:02 AM CT)

This game has low-scoring written all over it. The Heat are playing at the slowest pace in the league since the All-Star break, while the Lakers have the second-best defense in that span. In 10 games since losing LeBron James, the Lakers have the NBA's worst offense (100.7 ORTG), and they've scored 101 points or fewer seven times, with five sub-100-point games. To make matters worse, there's a decent chance Kyle Kuzma won't play in tonight's game.

Nikola Vucevic OVER 10.5 rebounds (-130) vs. TOR – DraftKings

Vucevic has 30 boards over his last two games, including 17 against the Pacers on Tuesday, and he goes up against the league's worst rebounding team since the All-Star break. During that stretch, the Raptors rank dead-last in total rebound percentage, as well as opponents' rebounds per game. I also like Vucevic over 36.5 points + rebounds + assists and Thaddeus Young over 23.5 points + rebounds + assists tonight.

Joe Bartel

CJ McCollum under 21.5 points (+125) vs. UTADraftKings (12:52 PM CT)

It was an honor being a part of a perfect Wednesday edition of the article, so I feel almost obligated to ruin that streak. McCollum probably will score 22-plus points. After all, he's averaging 22.8 points in his last eight games, which has seen the dynamic shooting guard average close to 36 minutes a night. However, it's certainly not a virtual guarantee like DraftKings is making it out to be, particularly against the Jazz, who limit opposing shooting guards to just 35.8 percent from deep. Considering the stakes, I believe this almost has to be a Damian Lillard night for the Trail Blazers, which could relegate McCollum to an afterthought. For these kinds of odds, it's at least worth the gamble.

Jeff Edgerton

Chris Paul over 17.5 points (-102) at LACFanDuel (7:21 AM CT)

Embracing the revenge narrative, let's work on the assumption that the Clippers may win the edge inside but won't be able to contain CP3 in the backcourt. Look for Paul to bring some of that Staples Center mojo back from his glory days under Doc Rivers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joe Bartel
Joe Bartel is RotoWire's Operations Specialist and football contributor among many other things. When not at the office, he's probably playing a variety of Gen 4 console games or rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Jeff Edgerton
Jeff has provided sports content for numerous sports outlets and has played fantasy sports since scores had to be tabulated via newspaper. He started working with RotoWire in 2017. Originally from South Carolina, he's a lifelong Clemson fan now enjoying the sun in Los Angeles.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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