The NBA has only five games on the schedule Thursday, but it’s a very intriguing slate. The big news revolves around James Harden being sent home from practice Wednesday. This game will be our first glimpse of what the Rockets will be without him. John Wall was also listed out more than a day in advance, so they will be very thin in the backcourt and thirsty for scoring and playmaking.
It makes it tough to predict without a decent sample size of how minutes and usage will be distributed to the remaining players with the two leading the team not in uniform. That does still leave four other games we can potentially bet on and here are some intriguing facts to know before you do.
The Indiana Pacers have the second-best record against the spread this season.
The Pacers are not 100% healthy, but they still are rolling. They have a 7-4 record against the spread, which is behind only Chicago at 8-3. Indiana has beaten the spread by an average of +1.5 points, top 10 in the league. They face off against Portland, which has just a 4-6 record against the spread with an average loss of -1.2 points vs. the closing line. Bettors have been higher on Portland and lower on the Pacers so far this season.
The Charlotte Hornets have a bottom-five record against the total this season.
The Hornets are a young, exciting team with solid guard play. The kind of team people just assume plays a fast-paced high-scoring type of game. This could not be further from the truth to start the year. The Hornets are in the bottom third of the league for pace. That means they tend to have a few less possessions than other teams do. They are also in the bottom 10 for points per 100 possessions, a number that goes right to the heart of offensive efficiency. Slow-paced teams that do not average many points per 100 possessions are rarely going to be in high-scoring games. So far, the Hornets have gone over in just three of 11 games. The perception of this team and their production are far apart, which means the trend should continue until bettors and books start adjusting their totals downward.
The Denver Nuggets have the best record to the over this season.
The Nuggets have gone over in 81% of their games this season. That 9-2 mark is the best in the NBA. Will it continue? The Nuggets’ offense ranks third in points per 100 possessions, so they have been extremely efficient on that end of the floor. The Nuggets' defense has allowed the fifth-most points per 100 possessions in the league at 114.3. Teams that can score and allow points are always going to see the overs hit more than the unders. This will be especially true against opponents that play at high paces and push the Nuggets above 100 possessions in a game. They have a game against a top-three-paced Golden State Warriors team on Thursday, which is the perfect recipe for another high-scoring affair.