Today’s introduction is a PSA: don’t jump the gun. The best line yesterday, by far, was Rockets -3.5. It didn’t reveal itself until Frank Vogel announced in the afternoon that LeBron James would be sitting out to rest his sore right groin. The Lakers without LeBron, from a matchup standpoint, are no match for the Rockets. Rest is going to be a common feature of the next week of games. Teams are going to clinch different things at different points and will react differently to one another. 

In other words, keep refreshing your Twitter page. These picks make sense right now, but for all we know, a late scratch is going to put a far more enticing line on the board at the last second just as LeBron’s absence did yesterday. Be patient. Value will present itself. Here are today’s best bets.

Lines via William Hill Sportsbook and SportsLine

Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs: Over 227

The Jazz are resting four starters in this game: Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale. Gobert is the one that matters here. The Spurs have the third-best offense in the bubble as they’ve scored a robust 118.2 points per 100 possessions with their small-ball lineup. That guard-heavy unit is going to get to the rim at will against the Jazz without Gobert. Fortunately, the Spurs have the third-worst defense at Disney as well, so even Utah’s offense should be able to put up enough points to do their part here. 

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Thunder -4.5

The Thunder have the best net rating in the bubble at +9.8. The Grizzlies have the fifth-worst at -5.8. The Thunder probably aren’t quite as good as their shellacking of the Lakers suggests, and the Grizzlies probably aren’t as bad as their 0-4 record suggests, but these are two teams trending in decidedly different directions, and a 4.5-point line is extremely generous considering the net rating gap of over 15 points. The Grizzlies are without arguably their best player in Jaren Jackson Jr. They are without the backup point guard that led the bench lineups that were actually winning them games before the shutdown in Tyus Jones. They are overvalued based on their regular season, and now is the time to take advantage. 

So who wins Thunder vs. Grizzlies? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Thunder vs. Grizzlies spread you need to jump on Friday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.   

Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors: Raptors -3

The Celtics beat the stuffing out of Brooklyn’s backups on Wednesday, but their bubble performance otherwise has been pretty underwhelming. Their close loss to the Bucks looks worse in light of their inconsistent play in Orlando, and losing to the Heat without Jimmy Butler is pretty unforgivable, especially after Toronto beat that same Heat team at full strength. Whether its due to finally having a healthy roster or the extra training camp time they got together in Florida, the Raptors have been firing on all cylinders since the season restarted. Until Boston proves it is back up to speed fully, this line is a bit low for a Raptors team that, frankly, is probably slightly better than the Celtics even when both are at full strength. 


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