It is a fairly busy night for a Thursday on a week when ordinarily slow nights have had a full slate of games. Seven games in all, with the Raptors and Bulls kicking off the night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Three 10:00 games with the Suns and Clippers tangling in LA as the marque must-see matchup. Make sure you get those lineups locked and loaded for an unusually busy Thursday night.
But don’t stop your fantasy fix there. Also, check out FanDuel to put a team together for tonight’s action on the hardcourt. We’re in dire need of an undefeated night going through a bit of a cold spell knocking our season mark down to 55-44. As always, we stand behind our predictions, but take a look to see if any other players jump out at you by using the SportsGrid Player Prop Tool. Ensure you always check back throughout the day, as odds and projections may change with news and starting rotations. When you’re looking to see what’s what, our good friends at the FanDuel Sportsbook have all the up-to-date and best odds in the industry waiting for you.
Los Angeles Lakers Andre Drummond vs. Miami Heat
The Bet: Under 14.5 Points (-112)
Andre Drummond is re-making his Lakers debut tonight when LA hooks up with the Heat in Miami. Drummond left his official debut with the team just over a week ago after playing just 14 minutes against the Bucks before injuring his toe. The former Piston then missed three-straight games before being slated as good to go for Thursday. Drummond has played in part of just one game since February 12, so you have to think he’s not exactly in midseason form. Going two months without really any game action would rust up the best of players. It’s hard to imagine the already injury-plagued Lakers will push Drummond’s minutes tonight and risk him getting hurt. It’s also unclear exactly how LA plans to use the big man and where he fits into the offense. The only thing we have to go on is his two of six shooting performance for four points in the only 14:20 he’s played in his Lakers career. Miami isn’t exactly the team to figure it all out.
The Heat give up the third-fewest points in the NBA, giving up just 107 points per game. They also boast the second-lowest opponents’ field goal percentage at under 45 percent. Where they are especially good at matching up with a player like Drummond is in the key. Miami gives up the fewest points in the paint in the league by almost 1.5 points per game. Their 40 points inside per game is an NBA best, and they do it by holding teams to the seventh-lowest two-point field goal percentage in the league. Expect Miami to come out aggressive in the paint and the rusty Drummond to struggle against the Heat on Thursday night.
The Lakers are +9 point road dogs with a +340 moneyline, so a blowout is not out of the question. The FanDuel Sportsbook’s total is one of the lower numbers we’ve seen this year at 203.5, giving props to the Heat D keeping LA under wraps.
Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The Bet: Over 15.5 Points (-122)
From one center going under a middling point total, we go to another set to go above it. Rudy Gobert and the Jazz look to continue their magical season going against another tough team in the west, but one the Frenchman has played well against already once this season. The seven-footer put up a massive double-double against the Blazers in the first game of the season this year. Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds on a night he shot a ridiculous 80 percent from the floor. The big man did all of this in just 28 minutes in the 120-100 blowout.
Those types of performances are nothing new to the rebounding machine. Gobert has double-doubles in five of his past seven and has scored at least 16 in five of his past eight games. The Jazz defensive wizard averaged over 19 points in those games against defenses much more potent than his Thursday night opponent.
Portland has been a run and gun, give a hit, take a hit team all season. The Blazers give up the fifth-most points in the league, allowing over 115 a game. They also are in the bottom ten in points in the paint allowed and allow the second-highest two-point field goal rate at over 55 percent. Those struggles inside also lead to more fouling which equates to Portland allowing the seventh-most free throws in the NBA. It is good news for a player leading the league, shooting 66 percent from the floor and getting to the line almost six times a game. It looks like Blazers’ starting center Jusuf Nurkic will miss his second straight game meaning swiss cheese defender Enes Kanter will start for Portland. All signs point to Gobert getting his inside and having a solid game.
Utah is a -6 point home favorite, a place where Gobert scores three points more per game, with a -245 moneyline. Primarily thanks to the Blazers’ lousy defense, the FanDuel Sportsbook’s total is fairly chunky at 232.5, with our man Rudy getting his looks.