Another Thursday rolls around meaning we have a light schedule but two nationally televised games. Our free NBA picks have the winner, winner against the spread and over/under for all five games.
Philadelphia travels to Brooklyn in a battle of two Eastern Conference heavyweights while the other headliner sees two struggling sides in Dallas and Denver go head to head in the Mile High City.
We have picked an underdog in one of them, so you’ll have to read on to see who we have picked!
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30PM ET
What a game Philadelphia had last night, hosting Washington for a 141-136 win! A massive 49-43 second quarter where both teams couldn’t miss kicked off the night that ended in Philly’s league high seventh win.
The Sixers had six players score at least 15 points, led by Joel Embiid’s monster 38 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist, 3 steal and 3 block night. Seth Curry had his best game in a Philadelphia uniform with 28 points on 11/14 shooting and the Sixers shot over 60% from the field and from three.
They would love to keep the offensive momentum going but might want to tighten up on defense as they are on the quick back up in Brooklyn. The Nets defeated the Jazz by 34 points on Tuesday night even though Kevin Durant was missing. He will be out for this one again but the Nets may not need him the way they played. A 35-14 first quarter where Kyrie Irving had 18 points on 100% shooting set the tone and they never looked back.
The artistry is real.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 31, 2020
This is a tough one as Philadelphia is the best team in basketball right now but had four players play over 35 minutes last night and Brooklyn looked great on Tuesday. With that being said, we are sticking with the form and Philly should be able to win again.
Note while writing: Joel Embiid has sat out one leg of back-to-backs in the past and could very well miss this one, if he does (currently not on the injury report) then the Nets may be the play.
NBA Pick – Philadelphia 76ers (-131)
NBA Spread – Philadelphia 76ers -2 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 224 (-105)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Memphis Grizzlies – 8PM ET
The Cavaliers head from Orlando to Memphis overnight hoping to break a two game skid after they lost both their games against the Magic.
The Grizzlies are on a two game losing streak themselves after hosting the Lakers for back-to-back games and coming up short in both. The second performance was a lot better, only going down by just two points.
Memphis went deep into the rotation with 10 different players getting at least 15 minutes of court time and having five different players score between 10 and 15 points. Jonas Valanciunas played well with 13 points, 11 rebounds and will be important in slowing down Andre Drummond in this one.
Drummond had 19 points and 15 boards, but the Cavaliers fell by double digits to Orlando for the second straight game. Collin Sexton led the team in points yet again with 21, but the team is struggling on the back of some injuries to key players.
Memphis played some really good basketball against the Lakers in their most recent game and with Cleveland being banged up on the second night of a back-to-back, the Grizzlies should get the win at home.
NBA Pick – Memphis Grizzlies (-171)
NBA Spread – Memphis Grizzlies -4 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 212.5 (-105)
Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets – 10PM ET
The Mavericks have had two nights off on their back of their 13-point victory in Houston and head to Denver to take on a struggling Nuggets side.
Denver just had a two game set with Minnesota who had lost their previous three games by an average of 27 points. Denver won both games but only managed to win by 15 and 7 points. Nikola Jokic continued his incredible form with 35 points, 15 boards, 6 assists and 3 steals while Will Barton had his best game of the season with 20 points and seven boards.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 5, 2021
The Nuggets will need to play a lot better if they want to beat Dallas who has won two of their last three and looked impressive on both ends of the floor against Houston. They kept them to just 100 points while Luka Doncic looked in fine form with 33 points, 11 boards and 11 assists.
Dallas won two of the three games last season, Doncic is in fine form and with an extra day’s rest they should be raring to go for this one
NBA Pick – Dallas Mavericks (+135)
NBA Spread – Dallas Mavericks +3.5 (-115)
Game Totals Pick – Over 225.5 (-115)
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10PM ET
This is the third matchup between these two sides with the Lakers taking both games in San Antonio by an average of 10 points.
San Antonio have been in LA for a couple of days now, defeating the Clippers by three points on Tuesday night. While the Clips were missing Paul George, you can only play the team in front of you and the Spurs put up a 19 point lead at half time.
Greg Popovich will be getting stuck into them for giving up a 22-40 third quarter, but they held on in the end with Patty Mills staring off the bench with 27 points on the back of 8/12 shooting from deep.
They will have to play a lot better if they want to overcome the Lakers who have won four straight including the two in San Antonio followed by two in Memphis. The last matchup was a bit too close for comfort, heading into the fourth quarter behind and winning by just two points.
Late turnovers nearly cost them the game but behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ big nights, they held on. James had 26 points, 12 boards and 7 assists while Davis put up 26 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in the win.
.@DejounteMurray got after it last night 😤
21 PTS | 5 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL pic.twitter.com/9nMFVxOhNM
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 6, 2021
While the Spurs showed great fight against the Clippers, they have already put in two losses against the Lakers so far this year and we are picking that this will be a third.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Lakers (-221)
NBA Spread – San Antonio Spurs +5.5 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 223 (-105)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Portland Trail Blazers – 10PM ET
One side that has been very disappointing in the early stages of the season is hosting a side missing their best player and just finding their groove without him.
The Timberwolves have played five games without Karl-Anthony Towns now, losing their first four by at least 15 points, but looked impressive in their last game against the Nuggets. Only losing by seven points, Minnesota put in a big team four quarter effort, led by D’Angelo Russell’s 33 points and 11 assists.
They will need to play even better again in order to beat a Portland team who has dropped two straight now, both being to teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season.
Their most recent was a three point loss at home to Chicago where they had a 39-21 lead after the first quarter and still held a lead heading into the last but gave up too many threes down the stretch.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 50 points and four other players scored in double figures but they won’t want to be giving up more than 110 points if they want to win.
Minnesota has been trending upwards lately while Portland haven’t looked great, but the Blazers play with a chip on their shoulder and won’t want to drop a second straight at home to teams with losing records.
NBA Pick – Portland Trail Blazers (-530)
NBA Spread – Portland Trail Blazers -10 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Over 232.5 (-115)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.