O'Sullivan's Thursday NBA Picks: Cavaliers vs Pistons, Celtics vs Nets, Hawks vs Bulls, Suns vs Thunder, more
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Seattle O’Sullivan 2021-2022 NBA Season so far: 165-192-6, -$443.80
(Standing Caveat: The universe is chaotic. Life is unpredictable. Things happen. Like injuries. And COVID protocols. In following Seattle O’Sullivan’s betting advice, be advised that you should always monitor your bets during the day to make certain unforeseen things have not occurred which might change your wagering opinion. Thank you.)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons, 7 pm Eastern
The Pick: Cleveland -7.5 (-110), bet $22 to win $20
On the other side of the All-Star Break, NBA teams have just over 30 games to either make their mark or jockey for draft position. Cleveland’s on one side of this, Detroit’s on the other. The Cavaliers are in a three-way tie for the third spot in the wide-open Eastern Conference playoff race, and every game will count for them from here on out. The Pistons, on the other hand, are one game ahead of Orlando for the worst record in the league. They aren’t going anywhere but the lottery, and no doubt they want the top pick. With those two, er, disparate goals, I suspect Cleveland will come out a little more ready to play.
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 pm Eastern
The Pick: Boston -7 (-110), bet $22 to win $20; Boston -275, bet $20 to win $7.40
Boston has won nine of its last ten and five in a row on the road, and have nobody on the injured list. Brooklyn has gone 2-8 in their last ten, are 22-35-1 against the spread all year and have four starters on the injured list. The Nets, in theory, have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons - but not tonight. The Celtics have figured things out and while they’d still face a first round of the playoffs without home-court advantage, if the postseason started today, their arrow is pointing up. Right now, Brooklyn’s got too many questions (“What will Ben Simmons have?”) and hopes (“Will New York relax the vaccine mandate - literally so Kyrie can play?”) to trust them. I don’t.
Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls, 8 pm Eastern
The Pick: Chicago -178, bet $20 to win $11.74; Chicago -4 (-110), bet $11 to win $10
Here’s a team I do trust: Chicago. The Bulls are 23-8 at home this season (21-10 against the spread, 17-7 ATS as a home favorite), and they’re in a battle for the East’s top seed. They’re fourth in the NBA in covering the spread at a 60.3% clip. Chicago has won the last two matchups between the two teams by an average of 13 points. DeMar DeRozan is lingering around the MVP conversation. Atlanta is second-to-last in the league at covering as an away underdog (6-12). The Hawks will scrap, no doubt, but four points is a small enough spread for me. Again, trust.
Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8 pm Eastern
The Pick: Memphis -139, bet $22.39 to win $15; Memphis -3 (-107), bet $17.05 to win $15
Speaking of trust - my new heroes the Memphis Grizzlies, led by superstar Ja Morant. Morant got a taste of the superstar life over the NBA’s 75th All-Star Weekend, and his competitive nature is such that he said he wanted to be included in the list of the league’s Top 100 when his career is over. I think he’ll do it, and what’s more, I think he’ll try to do it every single game from here on out. That includes tonight. The Grizzlies are a fantastic 9-2 against the spread as an away favorite, with an average margin of victory of 11.7 points. So, yeah. Minnesota’s in the playoff hunt and has rising stars in Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, to be sure. But Memphis has something this year. Part of what that “something” is until they prove otherwise, is my trust.
Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 pm Eastern
The Pick: Phoenix -9.5 (-110), bet $11 to win $10
I do like how Oklahoma City plays at home, and I very much don’t like that Phoenix point guard Chris Paul is out at least six weeks with a broken thumb…but I think, if anything, that might rally the Suns to focus even harder. Even without Paul, the Suns are miles better than the Thunder, and every game for them is going to be crucial if they want to remain top seed in the Western Conference. Paul is such a leader that I can also imagine his teammates don’t want to let him down. Sun star Devin Booker is more than capable of scoring from the point, and Phoenix just has too much talent and drive. In the first game after the break, they take care of business in a definitive fashion.