Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha

Suns moneyline (+118) at LAL – DraftKings (1:56 PM CT)

Even if Anthony Davis plays, I'm expecting him to be much less than 100 percent healthy. The Suns were already giving the Lakers issues when the latter was at full strength and the former had Chris Paul more hampered by a shoulder injury. Ultimately, I think the Suns have the Lakers figured out. If Davis doesn't play, I'm even more convinced this is a wrap.

Nick Whalen

Trail Blazers -5.0 (-112) vs. DEN – DraftKings (11:00 AM CT)

I hate to lean on the concept of destiny, but this series has felt destined to go seven games from the start. Portland got a sub-par game from virtually everyone not named Damian Lillard in Game 5 and still nearly escaped with the victory. Tired legs are a concern, but both teams will face the same challenge. I expect a major bounceback game from CJ McCollum as Portland evens the series and forces a Game 7 back in Denver.

Suns moneyline (+110) at LAL – DraftKings

The Suns have outplayed the Lakers for the vast majority of the series, and I don't see that changing as they enter Game 6 with a ton of momentum following Tuesday night's lopsided blowout. The (likely) return of Anthony Davis will be big, but if he's hobbled in any way, I don't see the Lakers having enough to force a Game 7. For me, it comes down to one factor: the Lakers' role players cannot shot. They don't have a single reliable option outside of LeBron and Davis, and that point was hammered home by Dennis Schroder's scoreless, 0-for-9 effort in Game 5. This roster looked great on paper, but it's horrendously constructed when you consider how the complementary pieces fit around LeBron. I would also look into the DeAndre Ayton double-double + Suns win parlay (+205) available at the DraftKings Sportsbook.

LeBron James UNDER 48.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-148) – DraftKings

Obviously, LeBron's career accomplishments demand respect, but nothing that we've seen from him since he returned from injury implies that this number is realistic. James hasn't even come close to 48.5 PTS/REB/AST in his last eight games, and dating back to mid-March, he's gone 11 straight games without even topping 25 points. I don't think LeBron has entered a new chapter in his career, but the ankle injury clearly threw him off. As of right now, it's clear he no longer has that extra, all-time-great gear that's so often been on display in the past.

Joe Bartel

Suns to win (at LAL) (+114)DraftKings (2:42 PM CT)

I just don't see a way in which Anthony Davis (groin) is going to be healthy enough to really do any damage if he plays. So, by betting now, you're getting plus money with the possibility you get the same team that just ran roughshod through these same Lakers two nights ago. If Davis does end up playing, I'd pivot to the Suns winning the series 4-3, which is currently listed at +220 via the DraftKings Series Correct Score tab.

Jacob Lebowitz

Anfernee Simons OVER 2.5 Rebounds (+115) vs. DEN – BetMGM (2:06 PM CT)

While this bet may seem like an odd choice, if you look at the number of rebounds he's grabbed each game in this series, you can see the value in the odds and why there's a good chance this bet hits. In each of the five games, he's recorded three rebounds except for in Game 1, where he had four rebounds. The young guard may not be known for his rebounding ability, but he has been getting consistent minutes each game in the playoffs (17.2 minutes per game), which is the key to him grabbing at least three boards. I expect this game to be fairly close, so Simons should get a decent amount of playing time, allowing him to snag a few boards.

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NBA Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NBA fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
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.
Jacob Lebowitz
Jacob writes about fantasy sports and sports betting for RotoWire. He's always doing something sports-related whether that's playing NBA 2K, watching a football game or playing a game of pickup basketball.
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.
NBA Podcast: Breaking Down Every Free Agency Move
NBA Podcast: Breaking Down Every Free Agency Move
NBA Offseason Moves Tracker: Fantasy Analysis on Every Trade and Signing
NBA Offseason Moves Tracker: Fantasy Analysis on Every Trade and Signing
NBA Draft: Which Rookies Are Worth Targeting In Fantasy?
NBA Draft: Which Rookies Are Worth Targeting In Fantasy?
Winners and Losers From an Eventful 2021 NBA Draft
Winners and Losers From an Eventful 2021 NBA Draft
NBA Podcast: 2021 NBA Draft Final Thoughts with James Anderson
NBA Podcast: 2021 NBA Draft Final Thoughts with James Anderson
2021 NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Kuminga to OKC, Warriors Land Pair Of Scorers
2021 NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Kuminga to OKC, Warriors Land Pair Of Scorers