Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM
NBA Bubble Bets - Thursday
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns – 4:05 PM ET
DAL: 42-31 Straight-Up, 37-34-3 Against the Spread
PHX: 33-39 Straight-Up, 36-35-1 Against the Spread
Is it possible the Suns can put together a perfect 8-0 record in the bubble and not make the playoffs? Yes. But Phoenix proved that were not going to pack it in when invited to Orlando for the restart by making up a six-game deficit on eighth-seeded Memphis with the possibility of qualifying for the play-in series.
The Suns have knocked off the likes of the Clippers, Heat, 76ers, Jazz, Pacers, and Mavericks, all playoff teams, while managing to cover in all seven games. Phoenix most recently topped a limping Philadelphia squad on Tuesday, 130-117 as 9 ½-point favorites behind a 35-point effort from guard Devin Booker. The Suns’ offense has been the key during the restart by scoring at least 114 points a game in all seven wins, while drilling the OVER five times.
The Mavericks have nowhere to move in the playoff race as Dallas will begin next week’s postseason as the seventh seed in the West. Dallas has posted a 3-4 record in the bubble with two of those victories coming in overtime against Sacramento and Milwaukee. The Mavericks lost a shootout to the Blazers on Tuesday, 134-131 in spite of knocking down 20 three-pointers, including nine treys and 36 points from Kristaps Porzingis.
Phoenix has already defeated Dallas in the bubble back on August 2 in a 117-115 triumph as six-point underdogs. The Suns erased a 13-point halftime deficit to pick up the upset in spite of Luka Doncic scoring 40 points for the Mavericks and Porzingis adding 30. Phoenix needs to win and have both the Grizzlies and Blazers lose to lock up the eighth seed, but would be eliminated from playoff contention with a defeat or wins by both Portland and Memphis on Thursday.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 4:05 PM ET
MIL: 56-16 Straight-Up, 39-33 Against the Spread
MEM: 33-39 Straight-Up, 35-36-1 Against the Spread
The Bucks are set as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they may be without MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo. The “Greek Freak” was ejected in the second quarter of Tuesday’s 126-113 victory over Washington after he head-butted Wizards’ forward Moritz Wagner following a confrontation. Anteokounmpo will likely sit at least one playoff game for his actions as he is coming off an odd scoring line against the Wizards in which he scored 12 points on only one field goal, while making 10 free throws.
While the Bucks have nothing to play for, it’s the exact opposite scenario for the Grizzlies, who are scratching and clawing for an opportunity to make the playoffs. Memphis began this bubble experience as the eighth seed in the West, but the Grizzlies have compiled a 1-6 record and are on the verge of elimination if they lose to Milwaukee and either Phoenix or San Antonio win.
The good news for the Grizzlies is a victory guarantees them a spot in the play-in series this weekend for the eighth spot in the West. The bad news is they have to do it in spite of losing four times in the past 10 days by nine points or more and are coming off a 39% shooting performance from the floor in Tuesday’s 122-107 loss to the Celtics. Memphis has not covered the spread in any of its six losses, while the only ATS win came in the impressive 29-point rout over Oklahoma City as three-point ‘dogs last Friday.
Milwaukee defeated Memphis in the lone meeting this season at FedEx Forum, 127-114 as heavy 12-point road favorites in mid-December. The Bucks picked up the miracle cover by outscoring the Grizzlies, 37-19 in the fourth quarter, but Memphis played without Rookie of the Year favorite Ja Morant.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz – 6:35 PM ET
SA: 32-38 Straight-Up, 30-39-1 Against the Spread
UT: 43-27 Straight-Up, 33-36-2 Against the Spread
The Spurs still have work to do if they want to extend their NBA-record playoff streak to 23 consecutive seasons. San Antonio has won five of seven games with the only losses coming to Denver and Philadelphia, but the Spurs are currently riding a three-game winning streak. Gregg Popovich’s squad needs a win and plenty of help, mainly two losses from the trio of the Grizzlies, Blazers, and Suns to have a shot at least the ninth seed and the play-in series on Saturday.
San Antonio’s most recent victory came in blowout fashion over Houston on Tuesday, 123-105 as 4 ½-point favorites. James Harden sat out for the Rockets, while the Spurs spread the scoring around with seven players posting double-figures led by rookie Keldon Johnson’s 24 points. In three bubble games of totals of 236 or higher, the Spurs have finished UNDER the total, while all four games with closing totals of 227 ½ or lower have all eclipsed the OVER.
Utah will likely slide into the sixth spot of the Western Conference playoffs, which would put them against division rival Denver in the opening round. The Jazz have been a major disappointment in the bubble by going 2-5 in their first seven games with the wins against the Pelicans and Grizzlies. Utah needed a late rally to edge New Orleans, while Memphis has also struggled mightily since the restart. The Jazz are riding a four-game OVER streak, as Utah has allowed at least 110 points in six consecutive contests.
These teams met last week but the Jazz should have a different cast of characters playing this time. Utah sat out Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley in a 119-111 setback to San Antonio, but the Jazz managed the cover as 8 ½-point underdogs.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets – 9:05 PM ET
POR: 34-39 Straight-Up, 32-38-3 Against the Spread
BKN: 35-36 Straight-Up, 36-35 Against the Spread
The best individual story early on in the bubble was Indiana’s T.J. Warren, who scored 53 points in the opener against Philadelphia, followed by 32 and 34-point performances. However, the one player who has completely taken games over is Portland’s Damian Lillard, who followed up a 51-point showing against the 76ers with a 61-point barrage in Tuesday’s 134-131 victory over Dallas.
Lillard is already a proven star in the league, but the Blazers’ All-Star guard is looking to take his team to the playoffs following a terrible start to the season. Portland is 5-2 in the bubble and needs a win to guarantee a spot in this weekend’s play-in series for an opportunity to face the Lakers in the opening round of the playoffs. The Blazers have drilled the OVER in six of seven games, as Lillard hit nine three-pointers and drilled all 18 free throw attempts in the victory over Dallas.
Brooklyn has nothing to play for, but its not the final game of the season for the Nets, who face the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. The Nets have posted an impressive 5-2 bubble mark, including upsets over the Clippers and Bucks. Brooklyn is fresh off a 108-96 victory over Orlando as four-point underdogs, while limiting an opponent to under 100 points for the first time in the bubble.
It seems like a hundred years ago when these teams last met, which was actually November 8 at Moda Center. Brooklyn edged Portland, 119-115 as three-point underdogs, but Lillard lit up the Nets for 60 points, the first of three games this season in which he scored at least 60 points. However, the Nets’ two leading scorers that night are currently injured as Spencer Dinwiddie put up 34 points and Kyrie Irving tossed in 33 points.
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