Magic vs. Grizzlies, Rockets vs. Jazz Thursday


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When we wrote about Tuesday’s NBA picks against the spread – which went 2-1, by the way – we predicted we’d see another phenomenal performance from one of the league’s myriad stars. We were proven right: Giannis Antetokounmpo set a new career high with 55 points in the Bucks’ blowout win over the Wizards.

There are only four games on the docket for Thursday, so the potential for history is limited. That said, we still love the value of a couple of games on the board featuring frisky home underdogs in intriguing spots.

Here’s what we’re betting at BetMGM ahead of Thursday’s action:

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Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic
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NBA Thursday odds and picks (via BetMGM)

  • Magic +7.5 vs. Grizzlies
  • Rockets +6.5 vs. Jazz

Magic vs. Grizzlies prediction and analysis (7 p.m. ET)

Memphis has been one of the hottest teams in basketball since early December and is riding a four-game win streak – including a 24-point victory in Charlotte on Wednesday – to climb up to the No. 1 seed in the West. But this feels like the quintessential trap game against a Magic squad that loves to play spoiler.

The Grizzlies are just the 10th team in the last six years to win by 20-plus in the first leg of a back-to-back on the road and be favored by this much in the second leg. Those previous nine teams went 3-6 ATS, which included more outright losses (five) than double-digit wins (three). Translation: tired legs coming off a big blowout often don’t return the favor two nights in a row.

Meanwhile, Orlando owns one of the NBA’s best records as a home underdog (12-4 ATS), having covered six of its last seven in that spot with a shocking five outright wins in that stretch. That may or may not be on the menu on Thursday, but don’t expect a cakewalk for Memphis.

Ja Morant
Ja Morant
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Rockets vs. Jazz prediction and analysis (8 p.m. ET)

I’m always skeptical when a lousy team is laying this many points on the road. You should be, too.

Utah has been favored just five times in 21 road games this year, boasting a 1-4 ATS record with four outright losses to show for it. That includes a 6-point loss in Houston on Oct. 24 to deliver the Rockets their first win of the season, even with key players sidelined for the home side.

Houston has nearly its entire rotation healthy for this one, and while it’s lost five straight entering Thursday, so have the Jazz. This line feels skewed a point or two too far in Utah’s direction, so I’ll gladly take the points here in a game that could legitimately go either way.

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