Thursday NBA Betting Preview

Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks made easy work of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. His 35 points led the Mavs to a 3-2 lead in the only first round series in the Western Conference still going on.

On Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves are at the Denver Nuggets in one Western semifinal, while the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder wait for either Dallas or L.A.

In the Eastern Conference, only the Boston Celtics have moved on to the semifinals. Three other series continue, and two of those games are Thursday night.

Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers (-8)

Pacers lead series 3-2

Somehow, the Milwaukee Bucks managed a win in Game 5 to stay alive in their series with the Indiana Pacers. Without their stars Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and being held together by bubble gum and tape, the Bucks won Game 5 by an impressive 23 points.

It was an historic performance by Milwaukee. Until that win, no team in history had won a playoff game without their top two scorers. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the only way to stay alive is to repeat that historic achievement. Both Lillard and Giannis are listed as doubtful for Thursday’s Game 6.

As you can see from the point spread, bookmakers do not see another upset coming. But is getting eight points enough to put money down on the Bucks?

The Pacers have covered the spread twice in the series, while the Bucks have covered three times, including two of the three games that they have played without their two stars. When Milwaukee covered in Game 1 and won, Lillard scored 35 points.

New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers (-3)

Knicks lead series 3-2

As if there wasn’t enough of a rivalry between New York and Philadelphia, Game 6 of the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers comes with multiple storylines.

Sixers star Joel Embiid was not happy with the number of Knicks fans that invaded his home court for Game 4, a 97-92 New York win. For Thursday’s Game 6, in order to avoid a similar embarrassment, the owners for the Sixers bought 2,000 tickets for the game to give to Philadelphia fans, and to keep out of the hands of New Yorkers.

Further fueling the desire by Knicks fans to get over on the Sixers was the NBA admitting to a big mistake at the biggest moment in Game 5 in New York. The Knicks were up by six points when Tyrese Maxey converted a four-point play for Philadelphia. The Sixers ended up tying the game in regulation and then winning in overtime.

Referees now say that they missed a traveling call on Maxey right before the four-point play. The three-pointer and called foul never should have happened, and instead it should have been a turnover, which would have made it next to impossible for New York to lose. Instead of being in Philadelphia for Game 6, New York would have closed out the series.

The Knicks are three-point underdogs for Thursday’s game, and three times in the series the underdog has covered the spread, including the Knicks the last time the series was in Philadelphia.

Even as underdogs in Game 6, New York is still the heavy favorite to win the series at -390.

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