This week’s NBA TNT doubleheader falls back on a Thursday, and that means it is time to review the matchups for our betting community. Tonight, the Dallas Mavericks host the Boston Celtics at 4:30 p.m. PST, followed by the Denver Nuggets hosting the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:00 p.m. PST. We’ll take a look at where to put your money, as always, starting with the early game.
BOS Spread: -3 (-110) Moneyline: -145
DAL Spread: +3 (-110) Moneyline: +125
Things to consider…
1) Mavericks starting forward Dorian Finney-Smith (right adductor strain) has been sidelined since mid-December. He was set to be reevaluated in two weeks as of December 27. He will be sidelined for this contest, as will his backup Maxi Kleber (hamstring). Dallas is presently thin in the frontcourt where Boston is now at full strength because…
2) Celtics center Robert Williams (left knee) returned to game action on December 16 and, although he has missed two games since for injury management, he is available for this matchup. Williams is a dominating defensive player and has seen his minutes ramp up to around 20 per game.
3) The Mavericks have won their last seven games due to the unbelievable play of Luka Doncic. This represents the longest active winning streak in the league, while the Celtics have faltered and lost their last two games. With the Mavericks playing at home, this is their chance to prove they can beat a top-tier team and keep their streak alive.
Main takeaway: The Celtics are favored in the odds, but this could be a lot closer than expected. Look for Doncic to have another big game. The 6’7” point guard has been unstoppable in recent weeks, scoring north of 50 points in three of his last six games.
And now, the late game.
LAC Spread: +6 (-115) Moneyline: +180
DEN Spread: -6 (-105) Moneyline: -210
Things to consider…
1) The complexion of this game could get interesting very quickly, as Clippers wing Paul George (hamstring) is questionable to play. He has been LAC’s leading scorer this season by a yawning chasm. If he sits out this game, it could turn into a rout. The Clippers are 4-6 without him so far, and the conference-leading Nuggets are their toughest matchup yet.
2) Kawhi Leonard, however, is available. Leonard missed the Clippers’ last game due to a non-COVID illness, but does not appear on tonight’s injury report. He has resumed his full workload and is playing around 35 minutes per game of late, though his scoring averages remain pedestrian by his standards. A lot could ride on his shoulders.
3) Outside of being the better team, the Nuggets also have the advantage of playing at home, where they boast a 14-3 record. The Clippers, meanwhile, are just 10-10 on the road.
Main takeaway: The Nuggets have the advantages of health and homecourt, so this is not a good opportunity to bet the underdog. While anything could happen, expect Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and his teammates to clean up tonight.
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