The NBA season is heating up as we approach February’s trade deadline and All-Star Weekend. This league never fails to entertain us and Wednesday night was another example.
The Phoenix Suns improved their winning streak to seven after another impressive showing against the Dallas Mavericks.
Devin Booker went on a tear in Dallas as the Suns came out on top in their #NBARivalsWeek matchup with the Mavs 🏜️
73% FG pic.twitter.com/c4imEFCKhk
— NBA (@NBA) January 25, 2024
The Rookie of the Year battle between Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren came to a head, with the Thunder ultimately getting the better of the Spurs.
Wemby stared down Chet after the dunk 😳 pic.twitter.com/BgxntQawEu
— ESPN (@espn) January 25, 2024
Thursday night’s schedule features seven matchups as we continue with NBA Rivalry Week. The New York Knicks host the defending champion Denver Nuggets at MSG. Joel Embiid will look to follow up his historic 70-point performance with another strong showing when the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Indiana Pacers.
The TNT doubleheader pegs Eastern Conference rivals against one another when the Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics. The Golden State Warriors will battle the Sacramento Kings on the second leg of a back-to-back.
The night will be capped off by two teams with trade talks surrounding both locker rooms when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Chicago Bulls. There are plenty of NBA player prop bets to select from for Thursday, and I’ve done the research, so you don’t have to.
Best NBA Player Props Today
76ers C Joel Embiid Over 36.5 Points
Call me crazy for wanting to back the guy who just scored 70 points the last time we saw him. This NBA betting line is inflated, but it’s for a good reason. The Pacers will be without Tyrese Haliburton for a few more games as he returns from a hamstring injury. Newly acquired Pascal Siakam has played in three straight games, and he will play in this matchup with the 76ers, but not much has changed for the Pacers on defense since Siakam made his debut.
The Pacers’ interior defense remains nonexistent. Indiana is allowing a league-high 60.8 points per game in the paint. Embiid scored 37 points behind teammate Tryese Maxey, who poured in 50 points in the first meeting. In the second matchup, Embiid finished with 39 points. Embiid is getting high-percentage looks all over the floor on a nightly basis and should always be considered for online sportsbook betting.
The Pacers allow the most free throw attempts per game, and Embiid gets to the line at the highest rate in the NBA. The one thing the Pacers do well defensively is not allowing many fast-break points. This doesn’t hurt Embiid because he gets to his best spots in half-court sets. Since the start of December, Embiid has exceeded 36 points in nine of 16 games.
Last season, Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points on record-setting nights. Both guys had average nights the following game (Lillard scored 25 and Mitchell 20). Going back, Kobe Bryant followed up his masterful 81-point game with a 30-point performance. History isn’t on our side, but the matchup doesn’t get much better in this scenario for Embiid to continue his magical run and hit his NBA player prop pick.
Wizards SF Kyle Kuzma Over 20.5 Points (-126)
The Wizards’ season is off the rails once again. I expect them to continue to be heavily involved in trade talks until the deadline. Kyle Kuzma is the team leader, averaging 21.7 points this season. He’s had a poor month in January, but the matchup at home versus the Utah Jazz should get him back on track.
Kuzma scored 17 points in Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota, the fifth straight defeat for the Wizards. On Thursday, the team announced that coach Wes Unseld is being moved to the front office and promoted assistant Brian Keefe to interim head coach.
Utah has allowed the second-most fastbreak points per game (17.2). Like many young teams, the Wizards love to run and gun. Utah has struggled to defend the 3-point ball, allowing the seventh-highest 3-point shooting percentage, and is tied with the most threes allowed per game overall (14.2). The Jazz have allowed the fifth-most threes per game to small forwards and the seventh-most points per game to the position.
In two healthy games against the Jazz since joining Washington, Kuzma has scored 21 and 23 points. I expect him to lead the way for the Wizards. We should expect a strong showing, with the game total up over 240 points on NBA betting odds.
Kings PG De’Aaron Fox Over 2.5 Made Threes (-136)
I’m going to keep taking this until the line adjusts in NBA betting predictions. Fox had one of his worst games the last time out all season, making this an excellent buy-low spot. De’Aaron Fox has been lighting it up from beyond the arc this season. His year-over-year improvement is outstanding.
He continues to double his output from downtown in 2023, averaging 3.2 made threes compared to 1.6 last season. The Kings will be on the road against Golden State, which has allowed the seventh-most threes to opposing guards over the previous month. Fox shoots better on the road, hitting 3.8 threes per game in away games with a higher shooting percentage of 41.8%.
Questions Of The Day
Which matchups boast the most enticing over/under props?
The matchups that present the best betting opportunities for offensive explosiveness on Thursday night are the Indiana Pacers vs. Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings.
The only revenge game worth noting is Alex Caruso’s return to LA to face the Lakers.