It’s March. The NBA playoffs are next month. That’s very exciting for any basketball fan, though it’s probably a bit stressful for some of those involved with the league. This week’s NBA best bets features several teams jostling for position ahead of the postseason.
The homecourt chasing Celtics visit the eight-seed pursuing Kings. The Thunder and Blazers battle it out for the third spot in the West, while the Rockets aim for the same goal.
Philadelphia, like Boston, are eyeing the third seed to avoid Indiana and one another. Then there’s the top two in the Western Conference facing off in Oakland on Friday night. Below are a few tips for four of this week’s headline NBA matchups.
Boston Celtics @ SACRAMENTO KINGS (3am)
Things are not going well for Boston. One win in their last six has them struggling to catch Philly and Indiana.
Kyrie Irving remains irritable, and even a fourth quarter fightback could not stop a home loss to Houston on Sunday. Brad Stevens’ team excelled last postseason, but a first round exit looms unless they can fix their issues quickly.
Sacramento have slipped up at the worst time. With San Antonio struggling, the Kings missed a crucial opportunity to close the gap, losing five of their last six.
A close loss to the Clippers over the weekend was gutting for the young Kings, who will be without 2018’s first round pick Marvin Bagley for the visit of Boston.
With a variety of options for every game, NBA betting online is easy at 888sport. Sacramento to get the win looks the best pick here.
TIP: Sacramento Kings to win
Oklahoma City Thunder @ PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (3:30am)
A run of defeats for Oklahoma City has left them with an identical record to Portland. The streak ended with a clutch win against Memphis on Sunday, but the absence of Paul George with a sore shoulder is hurting them.
Tankathon gives the Thunder the hardest remaining schedule in the league. A victory in Portland is crucial if they are to avoid slipping down to fifth.
The Blazers are going about their business in their usual understated manner.
Six wins in seven has closed the gap, and they have one of the easiest remaining schedules, facing Phoenix, Memphis (twice), Chicago and Atlanta. Dame Lillard and co. do not drop many at home.
George’s health makes all the difference here. The Thunder have a change if he’s available. The hosts are still the safer bet, though.
TIP: Portland Trail Blazers to win
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS @ HOUSTON ROCKETS (1am)
Houston are on the charge. With a healthy roster, they have won their last five, starting a short Eastern Conference roadtrip with a win in TD Garden on Sunday evening.
James Harden is not having to hero ball quite as much, and Chris Paul is getting closer to the All-Star standards we expect from him.
The Sixers are still sorting things out with their new roster. Losing narrowly to the Warriors and winning at the Thunder shows how good this team can be.
This has even been without Joel Embiid, who could return for the visit of the Rockets after missing a few games with knee soreness.
These two played out a thriller a few weeks ago. With Paul and Clint Capela back involved, this should be another close matchup. A high-scoring game is probable.
TIP: Over 220 points
Denver Nuggets @ GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (3:30am)
A couple of Warriors slip ups gave Denver the chance to close the gap. Surprise home losses to the Jazz and Pelicans leave the Nuggets a game and a half behind the reigning champions, looking settled in the number two seed.
Denver have their starting five together for the first time in months, though, and will fancy their chances in Oakland if they can beat the Spurs in midweek.
Golden State had to play without Klay Thompson against Philadelphia, but big nights from DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry saw them snatch a victory.
Losses to Orlando and Miami might have been a result of a free night in Florida as much as specific on-court issues.
The Warriors blew the Nuggets away the last time they met. It might not be over in the first quarter this time, but the hosts are hard to bet against.
TIP: Golden State Warriors (-10) to win
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*