NBA Best Bets: Thursday, Feb. 24

Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics

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The NBA regular season is back after what has felt like an eternity of an All-Star break. I’m rather uninterested in All-Star festivities and opted to watch the end of the Olympics, but I am glad that my man Obi Toppin won the dunk contest. Mostly, I’m happy that we have a seven-game slate tonight for the first time in a week (really has felt like a long time) as we move into the final stretch of the 2021-22 NBA regular season. The games featured on TNT’s national broadcast include the Boston Celtics at the Brooklyn Nets and a West Coast matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now let’s take a look at the top NBA wagers to make tonight.

Please note that all odds and lines are current as of 1:30 PM EST from FanDuel Sportsbook on Thursday, February 24.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5)

The Grizzlies remain the team that covers spread more than any other NBA team, and by a fairly significant margin. Memphis is 40-20 against the spread this season. They also happen to be one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They are a highly explosive, young, and dynamic team that can devastate opponents. Karl-Anthony Towns just showed the world he can shoot the three and while the T-Wolves can create some issues for Memphis guards on defense, the Grizzlies should win by at least a bucket despite being on the road. In fact, the Grizzlies are even better against the spread when on the road. They are 22-8 as the away team against the spread and cover a league-high 73.3% of their road matchups. Ja Morant and Desmond Bane win the matchup against D’Angelo Russel and Patrick Beverley in the backcourt and Jaren Jackson Jr. is becoming one of the most versatile and explosive big men in the NBA. Both teams are very healthy, with Dillon Brooks being the only noteworthy player missing on both rosters at the moment. Bettors should back the red-hot Grizzlies until something changes.

Bet: Memphis Grizzlies -1.5

Game: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets (+9)

The Eastern Conference battle schedule on TNT tonight between the Celtics and the Nets will be a fun one to watch. Well, not so much for Nets fans. Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, and Kyrie Irving will all be sidelined for tonight’s home matchup against a divisional rival. In sharp contrast, the Celtics do not have a single injury in their entire rotation and are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are in sync with one another while Robert Williams III continues to impress as a young big man in the NBA. Marcus Smart has been playing with defensive ferocity all season, while the recently acquired Derrick White is off to a good start in Celtic green after being traded from San Antonio. The Celtics should destroy the Nets and should cover the nine-point spread. After all, the Nets are 22-36-1 against the spread this season. They cover the spread less than any other team in the NBA (37.9%). Brooklyn is even worse at home with a 6-21-1 record ATS at Barclays. Meanwhile, Boston has the eighth-highest cover percentage (57.1%) on the road.

Still, the Nets have some offensive power in Cameron Thomas and Seth Curry who could easily drop 20 points respectively. Even if this game is a blowout and pure garbage time by the fourth quarter, the Nets’ bench is capable of scoring at least 100 points tonight against Boston’s 115. I see a score that high to be likely, especially when Brown and Tatum can combine for 40 points a half. This means that this game could also hit the over in total points set at 214.5. I think a 120-100 blowout is more likely than a 110-90 blowout for this particular game.

When these two teams met under similar circumstances earlier this month on Feb. 8, the Celtics covered the 9.5-point spread by defeating Brooklyn, 126-91. They also combined to hit the Over (214). Expect this game to play out in the same fashion.

Bet 1: Boston Celtics -9

Bet 2: Over 214.5 Total Points

Game: Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder (+10)

This is the riskiest bet of the night, but hopefully a profitable one. I’m taking OKC at home against the Phoenix Suns without Chris Paul for a +410 moneyline betting odds. Without Chris Paul, who is averaging a whopping 10.7 assists per game this season, the Suns will struggle to move the ball efficiently on the road. Especially in the first few games without CP3, Phoenix should struggle on offense and in transition.

What’s more is that the Suns will also be without their backup point guard, Cameron Payne, who is out of tonight's lineup due to lingering injury issues with his wrist. This leaves third-stringer Elfrid Payton and the recently acquired Aaron Holiday as the Suns’ best available point guards against the Thunder tonight. Holiday is expected to start but he’s more of a hybrid guard. Devin Booker may be manning the point more than usual, which may make it difficult for him to find easy paths to open shots when CP3 is the one bringing the ball up the court.

Finally, Shai Gildeous-Alexander is expected to make his triumphant return to OKC’s rotation after missing a month due to a right ankle sprain. Although the Thunder will be without Luguentz Dort, the return of SGA against the guardless Phoenix Suns should go a long way. CP3’s absence won’t just be missed on the offensive end of the floor. He probably would have spent a decent number of minutes guarding SGA. Now, the undermanned Suns will be out of rhythm on both ends of the court. The favorites to win this game remain the Suns, but OKC has a good chance to hand the Paul-less Suns their 11th loss of the season.

Bet: Oklahoma City Thunder Moneyline (+410)

Same Game Parlay of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets (+9)

I will stick away from the point props for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum at the moment due to the potential for a blowout. Brown and Tatum are 50/50 in my book to each hit the Over or Under tonight in points scored. Instead, here are three other legs you can use in your parlays for tonight’s contest between Boston and Brooklyn.

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Leg 1: Al Horford Over 8.5 Points

Al Horford continues to shoot well from the field playing less than 30 MPG this season. Over his last 10 games, he’s played at least 20 MPG and shot 50.7% from the field. He scored a minimum of nine points in five of the contests through this stretch. Finally, he is coming off a 19-point (8-10 FG) effort in 34 minutes against the Detroit Pistons in the Celtics’ last game before the All-Star break. Especially if the Celtics steamroll the Nets, Horford could see more than 30 minutes of playing time and perhaps score in double-figures. He’s averaged an exact 8.5 PPG against the Nets this season.

Leg 2: Robert Williams III Over 10.5 Rebounds

Robert Williams is quickly becoming one of the dominant big men in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics have been on this hot stretch in large part because of Williams' power as a rebounder in the post. In four of his last five games, Williams has recorded at least 11 rebounds. He’s combined for 30 rebounds in his last two games (16 boards on Feb. 11 and 14 boards on Feb. 13). He should be a lock for 11+ boards against the undermanned Brooklyn Nets.

Leg 3: Seth Curry Over 15.5 Points

Especially without Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry should see 30+ minutes of action in at least the first three quarters against the Celtics. If the Celtics start to blow Brooklyn out of the water before the end of the third quarter, Curry's night might end without any additional minutes in the fourth. Even if that is the case, Seth should have a good chance of scoring 16 points tonight. The Nets are very limited at the guard position right now, which means Curry should have the green light from Steve Nash to shoot at will.

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