NBA tips: Grizzlies v Bucks, Suns v Mavericks, Nets v Trail Blazers and more

Week in NBA: Top Tips

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The four-month COVID-19 hold on the season felt like an eternity, but after two weeks of action in the Orlando bubble it feels like the NBA never stopped.

There’s been a stack of surprises, however, as teams jostle for position in the seeding games for the playoffs. The top three favourites for the NBA Championship – Milwaukee Bucks, LA Lakers and LA Clippers – have struggled to get going.

Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, both seemingly at Disney World to make up the numbers, have surged into the post-season mix with some giant-killing performances. After resuming in ninth spot, Portland Trail Blazers have quickly emerged as a team few will look forward to meeting in the playoffs.

The four first-round match-ups for the Eastern Conference NBA playoffs are set, but over in the Western Conference only two teams are locked into their seeds. We’ve previewed the 10 most important match-ups from the last two days of seeding games – including NBA odds, tips and team news to dish up the assist for punters having an NBA bet.

 

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES V MILWAUKEE BUCKS: NBA BETTING TIPS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 6:00AM

The 56–16 Bucks boast the best record in the league and had the top seed in the East wrapped up before the restart.

But their form in the bubble has been underwhelming, and they’ve lost four of their last six. However, they brushed aside a no-name Wizards line-up 126–113 in their last outing, giving their bench plenty of time on the court. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been suspended for one game for a headbutt, although it’s unlikely he would have played much of a part in this assignment anyway.

The 33–39 Grizzlies, meanwhile, are desperate as they head into their last game, having won just one from their seven games in Orlando. Losses to the Raptors (107–98) and Celtics (122–107) midweek saw them drop to ninth, and they need a win to force their way into the play-in tournament for eighth spot in the West.

Losing Jaren Jackson Jr to a knee injury has been a killer blow for Memphis, leaving brilliant rookie Ja Morant to fend for himself. Morant missed the teams’ only clash so far this season, a 127–114 loss, with Jackson going off for 43 points.

No Giannis is good news for the Grizzlies, as it at least puts them in the frame for a do-or-die upset.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Milwaukee Bucks

Best bet: Margin – Milwaukee Bucks 1–10

Player tip: Ja Morant – under 21.5 points

 

PHOENIX SUNS V DALLAS MAVERICKS: NBA BETTING TIPS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 6:00AM

Phoenix Suns have been the shock performers of the NBA’s Disney World experiment, amazingly, inconceivably and sensationally winning all seven of their games so far. Their scalps include the highly fancied Clippers, Heat, Thunder and 76ers – thumping the latter 130–117 on Wednesday.

Devin Booker has been on fire, scoring 35 points in the Suns’ last three straight games. DeAndre Ayton and Ricky Rubio have also been in great touch. The Suns are 10th in the West but a win here could pitch them into the play-in tournament for the last playoffs slot.

Phoenix has also accounted for its next opponent: Dallas Mavericks.

The 43–31 Mavs, who have been locked in for the West’s seventh seed for some time, have won three of their seven games in the bubble. After back-to-back wins over the Bucks and Jazz, they were edged out by the Damian Lillard–inspired Blazers in their last game.

Luka Dončić has picked up where he left off before the season’s interruption but could see limited minutes here – or none at all – as Dallas gear up to take on presumptive second-seed LA Clippers next week.

The Suns have been transcendent since the restart and have everything to play for. The Mavs have been patchy and this a dead rubber. NBA bets are understandably flooding the Suns’ way.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Phoenix Suns

Best bet: Line – Phoenix Suns -5.5

Player tip: Devin Booker – over 30.5 points

 

BROOKLYN NETS V PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: NBA BETTING TIPS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 11:00AM

Two of the NBA bubble’s form teams round off the Friday (AEST) schedule. Brooklyn Nets have wrapped up the seventh seed in the East – and a first-round match-up with the Raptors – with five wins from their last six games. Portland Trail Blazers have moved into eighth in the West and are the favourites to emerge from a play-in tournament to grab the last playoffs spot.

The 35–36 Nets have cruised to wins over the Kings and Magic either side of a 129–120 upset of the Clippers in the past week. It’s been a remarkable performance from a severely shorthanded squad few expected to make an impact in Orlando, with Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris starring.

The 34–39 Blazers are also 5–2 in the bubble. After missing crucial free throws in a loss to the Clippers on the weekend, Damian Lillard went off for 51 points against the 76ers and 61 points against the Mavericks. He’s the hottest player in the NBA right now.

With a win needed to take the eighth-place advantage into the play-in tournament, there’s plenty riding on this game for hot NBA odds favourite Portland – and their significant talent surplus compared to plucky Brooklyn should ensure they get the required result.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Portland Trail Blazers

Best bet: Line – Portland Trail Blazers -9.5 @ $1.90

Player tip: Jarrett Allen – over 1.5 assists

 

HOUSTON ROCKETS V PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: NBA BETTING TIPS

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 11:00AM

The NBA bubble’s seeding games conclude with a clash between two high-profile teams on losing runs.

The 42–30 Philadelphia 76ers have gone 3–4 in Orlando, losing their last three games to the Blazers, Suns and Raptors. They’ve also been hobbled by Ben Simmons’ knee injury, which will keep him out until deep into the playoffs in a best-case scenario.

The Sixers were spirited against the in-form Suns, despite resting Joel Embiid, Al Horford and Tobias Harris. Embiid exited early with a hand injury against Toronto; it’s not serious, but he won’t be unduly risked just before the playoffs.

The 44–27 Rockets – who will feature in the 4th v 5th first-round match-up against the Thunder or Jazz – won four of their first five after the restart. But they have dropped their last two against San Antonio and Indiana.

James Harden sat out the Spurs loss but went off for 45 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists against the Pacers, with Russell Westbrook rested from the latter.

The hype around the Sixers has dissipated, while the Rockets are still very much a dark horse in the Western Conference mix. Even if Houston manage their superstars through this game, expect them to get the win. 

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Houston Rockets

Best Bet: Line – Houston Rockets -4.5

Player tip: James Harden – first team basket scorer

 

BEST OF THE REST

BOSTON CELTICS V WASHINGTON WIZARDS: NBA BETTING TIPS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 2:00AM

The 48–23 Celtics will finish third in the East and are headed for a first-round match-up with the 76ers. After a patchy start in Orlando, the Celtics are building nicely on the back of four straight wins – including a 122–107 defeat of the Grizzlies on Wednesday (AEST). But with little at stake in this clash, key trio Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown look set to sit out this game.

As expected, the under-strength Wizards have struggled to make an impression inside the bubble, losing all seven games by nine points or more. The Celtics go fairly deep, and their rookies and role-players should relish the opportunity for court time against the battling Wizards, with NBA odds suggesting a comfortable win.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Boston Celtics

Best bet: Line – Boston Celtics -2.5

Player tip: Troy Brown Jr – first team basket scorer

 

LOS ANGELES LAKERS V SACRAMENTO KINGS: NBA BETTING TIPS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 3:30AM

The 52–18 Lakers wasted little time in clinching the West’s top seed, winning two of their first three games before slumping to three straight losses. They needed a Kyle Kuzma buzzer-beater to pip an understrength Nuggets on Tuesday (AEST). LeBron James put in 29 points and 12 assists but the Lakers’ offence is rusty. The 30–41 Kings are out of playoffs contention, winning just two of seven in the bubble. Both of their victories came against fellow also-rans the Pelicans, including a 112–106 result on Wednesday (AEST). While the Lakers won’t be overloading LeBron and Anthony Davis in a dead rubber, they need some confidence and momentum ahead of a potentially tricky first-round series and should account for a Kings side missing injured star De’Aaron Fox. The Lakers shape as a safe NBA bet ahead of this one.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Los Angeles Lakers

Best Bet: Margin – Lakers 11+

Player tip: Kyle Kuzma  first team basket scorer

 

UTAH JAZZ V SAN ANTONIO SPURS

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 8:30AM

The 11th-placed Spurs need other results to go their way to jag a place in the Western Conference play-in tournament, but they will start as comfortable NBA odds favourites against the sixth-placed Jazz.

Utah have won just two games in Orlando and have lost their last three. With Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley ruled out of this game, a win for the Jazz will be hard to come by – plus they have sixth seed wrapped up and there’s no real advantage in climbing higher.

San Antonio have crafted a 5–2 record in the bubble, with their current three-game winning streak starting via a 119–111 defeat of Utah last week. Experts are pointing towards a Jazz tank job, so getting an NBA bet on the Spurs looks a sound option.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: San Antonio Spurs

Best Bet: Margin – San Antonio Spurs 1–10

Player tip: Demar DeRozan – over 22.5 points

  

TORONTO RAPTORS V DENVER NUGGETS: NBA BETTING TIPS

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 3:30AM

Of the NBA’s heavyweight teams, the 52–19 Raptors have arguably been the most impressive in Orlando with six wins from their seven games. The defending champs closed out their seeding campaign – and locked up second spot in the East – with three straight wins over the Grizzlies, Bucks and 76ers in the space of four days. The 46–26 side kept their third-place standing in the West but have only won three games in the bubble. They are also coming off back-to-back losses to the Lakers and Clippers, although their starting line-up’s minutes were restricted in both. With little on the line, these sides’ big guns are likely to play a limited role – but the Raptors are humming and shape as a good NBA bet this weekend.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Toronto Raptors

Best Bet: Line – Toronto Raptors -3

Player tip: Pascal Siakam – first team basket scorer

 

INDIANA PACERS V MIAMI HEAT: NBA BETTING TIPS

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 6:00AM

Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat both come into their final seeding game with 44–28 records. But the result here won’t change the fact these sides will face off in the West’s 4th v 5th playoffs series. It’s an intriguing first-round prequel, although don’t expect either side to bust a gut to get the W. The Pacers and Heat met earlier this week, with the Heat cruising to a 114–92 win on the back of a strong showing from Jimmy Butler. That was one of just two losses Indiana has incurred in Orlando, bouncing back since then with a 108–104 defeat of Houston. Victor Oladipo’s form has been encouraging, proving a nice foil for the in-form TJ Warren. Miami was edged by a point by Oklahoma City on Thursday (AEST), with Tyler Herro (30 points, 6 rebounds) getting a chance to shine as the Heat restricted the court time of their starters. Another tough one for punters as teams place importance on managing star players rather than the result, but the Heat can complete a season sweep of the Pacers here and loom as the better betting option.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Miami Heat

Best Bet: Line – Miami Heat +2

Player tip: Victor Oladipo – first team basket scorer

 

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS V OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: NBA BETTING TIPS

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 8:30AM

The second-placed Clippers and fourth-placed Thunder both come into their last seeding assignment with 4–3 records in Orlando, but the result will not change their first-round match-ups. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 53 points in the 48–23 Clippers’ 124–111 win over an under-strength Nuggets on Thursday (AEST), but the star duo may play a limited part in this game. OKC linchpin Chris Paul had his minutes wound back in the 44–27 Thunder’s last two games – a 28-point loss to the Suns and a one-point win over the Heat. With both sides’ second-stringers sure to see plenty of time, the advantage should lie with the Clippers.

NBA EXPERT TIPS

Head-to-head: Los Angeles Clippers

Best Bet: Line – Los Angeles Clippers -5

Player tip: Paul George – first team basket scorer

 

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