Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns dunks during the first half of a NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 7, 2019.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns dunks during the first half of a NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 7, 2019.|Paul Battaglia | Associated Press
NBA

NBA: Playoff bound teams present interesting bets - Frank picks Sixers v Heat, Raptors v Timberwolves, & Rockets v Thunder 

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Sixers (+5) @ HEAT (220)
Pick: Heat -5
The Miami Heat are one of three teams battling of their playoff lives entering the final two games of the regular season. Along with Detroit and Charlotte, the Heat are competing for the final playoff berth in the East as Brooklyn and Orlando clinched spots at the end of last week. The Sixers playoff position is secured, and they haven’t been a good bet recently as a result. Philly is 6-10 ATS in its last 16 games. One of those covers came in a 20-point victory in Chicago on Saturday night. While Jimmy Butler is expected to play tonight for the Sixers, our guess is that they were looking for one resounding performance in the regular season to feel good about themselves heading into the playoffs and got that against the Bulls. Give the points and take Miami here considering the drastic difference in what’s on the line for both teams.

Raptors (-7) @ TIMBERWOLVES (229.5)
Pick: Timberwolves +7
This game probably won’t garner much attention from NBA fans tonight. The Timberwolves have been destined for the lottery for a couple months now and the Raptors are another team whose playoff positioning is locked up. But the cash is just as green regardless of the importance of the game relative to others in the association. It might be too late for Minnesota to keep interim head coach Ryan Saunders around for 2019-20, but the Timberwolves seem to be playing hard recently in hopes of him being retained. The Wolves have covered three straight games, most recently on Sunday against Oklahoma City. A win against Toronto, albeit a Raptors team with nothing to play for, might go a long way in Saunders sticking around if that decision has not yet been made. Minnesota is the hungrier team tonight as a result and should cover this number.

Rockets (-2.5) @ THUNDER (230.5)
Pick: Over 230.5
The red-hot Rockets travel north to Oklahoma City tonight to take on the Thunder. Houston has a chance to overtake Denver in the West and be the second seed with a recent 8-2 surge in its last 10 games. Oklahoma City looks to have righted the ship of late having won three straight games. However, the Thunder need at least one more win to ensure they won’t drop back to the eighth seed and have to play the Warriors in the first round. This may well be a playoff preview tonight and we’d expect both teams to score with similar success to their recent games. Oklahoma City is averaging a shade below 125 points per game in its last three and Houston has averaged an astounding 134.7 points per game in its last three. Look for a tightly contested slugfest tonight that should go over this total of 230.5.

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