Monday night was very interesting for pro basketball, as the Utah Jazz took a step back in their pursuit of a NBA playoff spot, the Houston Rockets seized control of their playoff destiny and the Dallas Mavericks officially clinched a spot.
Utah and Houston will sort things out on Wednesday night, but tonight we still have some intense matchups, as the Miami Heat look to take on step closer to securing the Southeast Division crown and both the Pacers and Pistons try to avoid the Eastern Conference’s 8th seed.
It’s a pretty light five-game slate and we can probably expect the Spurs, Thunder and Raptors to rest some star players, but it should still be an interesting night for some NBA betting. Let’s dive into each matchup and see where you should be leaning on Tuesday night:
Knicks @ Pacers
Line: n/a Total: n/a
Indiana is in the playoffs, but they’ll surely want to avoid a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers right away in the first round. A win tonight would go a long way in making sure that won’t happen, and being at home against an inferior opponent certainly aids their cause. Indy wants to make sure Paul George is healthy for a playoff run, however, so he’s iffy for tonight and any other Pacers stars could also potentially be rested. That may not matter, however, as New York is already ruling out big man Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony is also in doubt for tonight.
Coach Rambis says Porzingis is out tonight. #NYKvsIND
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 12, 2016
All things considered, Indy has a little motivation to win and are at home, so they’re going to be tough to bet against.
Update: Paul George is expected to play, further enhancing Indy’s odds to win tonight.
Pick: Pacers 104, Knicks 97
Grizzlies @ Clippers
Line: Clippers -7.5 Total: 197
Blake Griffin will start tonight and sit on Wednesday, as he continues to work his way back to regular minutes and touches. The Clippers gain nothing from winning tonight, but they’ll want to win at home and should hold a distinct advantage with their key players playing at least moderate minutes tonight. Memphis limps into post-season play completely banged up, but could get sparked by a Matt Barnes revenge game. Los Angeles remains the obvious favorite here, however.
Pick: Clippers 105, Grizz 94
Heat @ Pistons
Line: Pistons -2.5 Total: 200.5
Miami is still in play for a division title, while the Pistons should be going hard at home to avoid the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. That means no rest for either side, but with Miami having more to play for, they look like the better pick on the surface. Detroit is a mild favorite per Vegas because they are tough (26-14) on their home floor, while the Heat are very pedestrian (19-20) on the road. Miami needs this game, though, and will also want to tie up the season series (Pistons lead, 2-1).
Pick: Heat 101, Pistons 98
76ers @ Raptors
Line: Raptors -10 Total: 203.5
Philly is one of the worst teams in the league, but this spread would be much worse if Toronto had anything to play for. Cleveland locked down the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference on Monday, giving the Raptors nothing to play for as they close out the regular season. Pure pride could be worth something at home against the awful Sixers, but if Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan sit this one out, all bets are off. Toronto is still a good straight up pick, but due to likely rest, Philly is going to be an enticing ATS play.
Pick: Raptors 103, Sixers 97
Thunder @ Spurs
Line: Spurs -9.5 Total: 204
We can’t bank on star players suiting up for either side, as OKC and San Antonio have no incentive to send their best players out on the court for what otherwise would be a marquee matchup. The Spurs already lost their lone home game of the year last week and OKC can’t move up or down in the playoff standings. This game is truly meaningless for both sides and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are already unlikely to hit the court. The same can probably be said for Kawhi Leonard and most of the Spurs’ key starters. That being said, San Antonio is still at home and is far deeper than the Thunder. OKC could beat the spread, but we’ll still take the Spurs to win, straight up.
Pick: Spurs 104, Thunder 101