If you’re ever had a dream about what a day full of basketball might look like, Thursday’s slate is probably exactly what you had in mind. Not only will we have NBA action from lunch to midnight snack, but the matchups on today’s schedule are nothing short of delicious. Heat-Bucks? Clippers-Mavericks? Lakers-Rockets? Why even get up off the couch at all?
Making matters even more delightful is that DraftKings has a $500 free-to-play pool on DraftKings Sportsbook that enables their users to get in on the action. You can make your pool predictions here at DraftKings Sportsbook Pools and you can also simply scroll down to see my thoughts on the contest. Sound good? Then let’s get into it.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings
While the early games in Orlando can get a little weird, this matchup seems pretty cut and dry. The Kings have been playing horrible basketball in the bubble, with their -10.1 net rating representing the worst mark of any of the 22 active teams. Yes, you could make the case that the Pelicans haven’t exactly been playing much better; however, New Orleans is coming off a huge 109-99 win over Memphis on Monday and they should be well rested coming into this spot. It’s also important to note that Zion Williamson logged 25 minutes in that victory, meaning the rookie is almost back to full strength. The Pelicans have outscored opponents by 7.5 points per 100 possessions in 2019-20 with Williamson on the floor.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets
For as admirably as the Nuggets have played while missing the likes of Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip), you’d have to imagine that such a lengthy injury report will take it’s toll sooner or later. In this case, I’m banking on sooner. With Denver seemingly shorthanded and playing on the second leg of a back-to-back on Thursday, give me Portland to emerge victorious. The Trail Blazers might not be able to defend anyone, but that doesn’t matter all that much when you’re scoring 118.7 points per 100 possessions in your last three games.
Pick: Trail Blazers
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
I can certainly understand if people are a little skittish to trust the Bucks after losing to the zombie Nets on Tuesday. Still, unless we hear that Milwaukee plans on resting some of its starters again on Thursday, I’m willing to give the squad the benefit of the doubt. That being said, the Bucks’ inconsistency is definitely easier to swallow once you take a look at the Heat’s injury report. Jimmy Butler (foot) has already been ruled out on Thursday, while Goran Dragic (ankle) is questionable. That’s two of Miami’s most important three players. Give me 30 minutes from Giannis Antetokounmpo and give Milwaukee the one-seed in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks
You don’t want to put too much stock in a three-game sample, but I think it’s fair to suggest that the Mavericks have been underwhelming so far in the bubble. After blowing a late lead and losing against Houston on Friday, Dallas has dropped a matchup with Phoenix and barely survived an overtime contest versus Sacramento. Now, you could argue that the Mavericks are a few bounces away from being 3-0. You could also point out that the Clippers lost to those same Suns on Tuesday. Still, I’ll put my faith in the squad that’s been superior all season long, not the one that’s mustered a microscopic 88.7 offensive rating in the fourth quarter down in Orlando.
Which Team Will Score the Most Points on 8/6?
The smart money is taking the field in this situation, mostly because the field includes the Pelicans. Only San Antonio has put up a worse defensive rating than Sacramento so far in the bubble, with the Kings having surrendered a whopping 117.9 points per 100 possessions to their opponents in three games. New Orleans and Sacramento have also been two of the more uptempo squads when it comes to pacing, which is always a crucial thing to factor when looking for a high scoring environment. Plus, even if the Pelicans have an off day, you can still bank on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to pick you up later. I hear they’re pretty good.
Pick: Any Other Team
My quick picks on the rest of the props:
Indiana Pacers vs. Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets
Who Will Score the Most Points in This Group of Players on 8/6?
Pick: Damian Lillard
Play the free pool here: DraftKings Sportsbook Pools
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO) or 1-800-BETS OFF (IA). 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.