Like most Thursdays, there are only four games on the schedule for tonight, and they are not likely to be competitive. Still, for the astute gambler, there are always lines that can be found.
We have scoured the major betting agencies to bring you some great plays for the slate on offer this Thursday. Check out our best pick and value pick below and good luck to everyone following!
NBA Picks – Thursday, February 27th
New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers
Wells Fargo Arena, 7.00pm ET
At no point this season have the Philadelphia 76ers fired on all cylinders. Or, if this has been them on all cylinders, they will not be good enough to get anywhere.
They certainly will not be firing on all cylinders tonight. Ben Simmons is out for at least a couple of weeks with a nerve problem in his back, while Joel Embiid subbed out of their last game after only seven minutes of game time due to a shoulder sprain, one which has also ruled him out of tonight’s contest. On a team that was already struggling to find any consistent depth, they are now missing there are two key cogs on both ends of the court; narratives about the less-than-optimal fit of those two as a pairing are entirely valid, but while they may combine to be less than the sum of their parts as a pairing, their absences will be profound.
The team has been extremely streaky. They recently won four games on the trot but only after a four-game losing streak immediately prior, itself following on from a six-in-seven winning streak, itself coming on the heels of a six-in-seven losing streak. They have lost two of their last three games, including an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, a team they would have hoped would have been their more immediate rival, and last time out, with Simmons absent and Embiid playing only the aforementioned few minutes, they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers of all people. This Philadelphia team, sadly, is not that good.
We should nevertheless still feel quite confident of the victory here for the 76ers because of the opposition. If the 76ers are not that good, the Knicks are outright poor, a mish-mash collection of parts built for some reason around the offensive freelancing of Julius Randle, with one of the lowest talent levels in the league, particularly after the trade of Marcus Morris at the deadline. New York are not built to win, and certainly, they are not doing so.
The absence of Embiid at the centre spot does mean that Al Horford can be put back there, the position that he has near-enough always played in his career hitherto and at which he is best. Horford has been playing a lot of power forward to accommodate Embiid in a two-post line-up thus far this season, but has struggled with it, not able to find shots within the system and being out of his optimal positions on the defensive end.
A large part of the reason for the Horford signing was to have him as a quality backup to the notoriously fragile Embiid, and that should start paying dividends now. Horford can take Embiid’s touches in more favourable positions in and around the paint on the offensive end, as well as run some high pick-and-roll with Shake Milton and Josh Richardson in the backcourt, and there is little that Randle will be able to do about it. Mitchell Robinson off the bench is a more troubling match-up for Horford with his length and springiness, yet Horford in his preferred position should be too much to handle for a disjointed Knicks team that has made no progress either.
Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City ThunderChesapeake Energy Arena, 8.00pm ET
None of the four matches on tonight’s slate should be particularly competitive. All four feature playoff teams versus lottery opponents, and that is particularly the case in this one. The thunder have a 36-22 record on the season and have been one of the hottest teams in the league, winners of 31 of their last 43 games after a slow 5-10 start. They are in the second tier of teams rather than the first, but at this point, this is only just the case.
The Kings meanwhile have once again underperformed relative to expectation and have looked disjointed in the process. Further penalising them tonight is the fact that starting point guard De’Aaron Fox will be absent from this game due to injury. On a Kings team that plays remarkably slowly even with his speed at the point guard position, taking the total score under in tonight’s game against Oklahoma City (who also played quite slowly, ranking 23rd in the NBA in pace) was already a good idea. Without him, it seems very likely. Neither team clears the defensive rebounds well nor runs the court much, thus leading to a slow tempo ground-out game. In this era of regularly scoring above 120 point, this one should be a little different.
Value Pick: Total points under -211.5 (+200, 888 Sport)
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