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Tipico Tips: Betting the Thursday NBA slate (March 25)

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This is a special primetime Thursday around the NBA, as we have not one but two nationally televised games on TNT. The late game is one many fans had circled early in the season, a matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. When those fans circled the game, the thought process was that this is one of the few times you would get to see Joel Embiid vs. LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Of course, the problem now is that none of those guys is expected to play. The remaining 76ers have loads more talent than what is left in LA right now, so this went from a potential game of the year to one I probably will not be watching. You definitely want to be on the 76ers side of this game. A 5.5-point spread is a little bit of an insult to Philly honestly, even with this game being in LA. 

The better game to discuss is Thursday’s TNT opener. The Portland Trail Blazers travel to Miami to take on the Heat. The home team is favored at -4.5 on Tipico Sportsbook with a total of 218.5. Miami has been struggling recently, losing four straight games and averaging only 100.25 points per game over this stretch, while giving up an average of more than 111. This recent scoring drought has dropped Miami down to 27th in the league for scoring at just over 106 points per game on average. They do play slow, so that has a slight effect on the low scoring, but they rank 23rd for points per 100 possessions, so the slower pace only further exacerbates the lack of offensive efficiency. The silver lining here is that they do draw one of the best matchups in basketball as Portland is horrendous defensively. They are allowing the second most points per 100 possessions at 118.3, so this should be an above-average game for Miami’s offensive output. 

On the flip side of this game, we have one of the most efficient offenses in the league with the Blazers currently sitting sixth in points per 100 possessions at 117.7. This is the strength vs. strength matchup as Miami’s defense is the sixth stingiest in the league, giving up just 110.1 per 100. The Blazers have a very good record this year despite suffering a slew of injuries to starters and key rotation pieces. That 25-18 record has them sixth in the west behind Utah, Phoenix, the two LA teams and Denver. 

When it comes to betting this game, I’m not touching the spread or moneyline here. These are two good teams, and this game could honestly go either way. If Portland’s defense steps up, they could blow out a Miami team that struggles to score. If Portland’s defense remains the turnstile it has been, we should see Miami be able to score at will and force the Blazers to keep up. I think this is the more likely scenario, and so far the betting public agrees. This line has already moved up to 220 at other books, so playing over that 218.5 on Tipico Sportsbook is the way to go. At FTN Bets, we project this game at 222.5. Any total below 220 is worth putting a wager on the over. 

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