For this Thursday’s edition of the NBA on TNT, the spotlight is on the Western Conference. The leaders of the West as well as a pair of teams battling for a playoff spot will be featured. The final spot goes to one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a look at the two NBA betting with predictions:
Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs
Odds: Spurs -8
The West-leading Spurs have won and covered in four of the last five meetings with their Texas rivals, including a 113-107 win in Dallas in January. However, San Antonio is still trying to figure out how to play without Tony Parker as the point guard is out with an ankle injury after putting up an MVP-type season to date, and the Spurs have struggled without him.
Dallas is 4.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the West and they’ve won four straight, including the first three games of a four-game road trip that ends in San Antonio. However, the Mavericks won at Detroit, Milwaukee and Minnesota and even without Parker at the controls, beating the Spurs on the road is a tall feat to ask of any team.
The Mavs has lost four of their last five trips to San Antonio, failing to cover on four occasions as well and they’ll be looking for a win to keep their momentum going as they try to chase down the Lakers, who have stepped up their game after a terrible start.
Pick: Mavs +8
New York Knicks @ Portland Trailblazers
Odds: Trail Blazers -5
The Knicks are tied with Indiana for second in the East, but they could be behind the eight-ball for this contest as it’ll be their third game in four nights and also, the third of a five-game swing through the West. It’ll also be the night after Carmelo Anthony’s first game in Denver since the Nuggets traded him to New York in 2011, so the Knicks will have to find energy from somewhere after a taxing game in the high altitude of Colorado.
The Trailblazers have lost three of their last four heading into this showdown with the Knicks, and with the same record as Dallas, they’re also trying to keep pace with the Lakers in the race for the postseason. Portland has battled their own injury problems with LaMarcus Alridge being bothered by various ailments, but the Trailblazers are hanging around and they’re a much better team at home than on the road, winning 20 of 31 contests on their own floor while covering on 16 occasions.
Overall, the Blazers have won three of their last five against the Knicks (covering twice, along with a push) and in Portland, New York has lost three of their last five, but they’ve managed to cover four times. The Knicks are going to have a big night on Wednesday and their biggest task will be fighting off fatigue from the game against the Nuggets. Portland is off Wednesday, so they’ll be well rested and looking to jump on the Knicks from the opening tip. Take the Trail Blazers on the betting lines.
Pick: Trail Blazers -5