NBA 2021: Best bets for biggest games on packed Thursday slate

NBA players, pictured here on the court.
The best bets for Thursday's NBA games.

Another day of the NBA, so let’s see if we can keep going from yesterday’s positive start with 11 games on the slate.

Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons

It’s a shame we don’t get to see Cade Cunningham play in this one, but we do get to see the new-look Bulls who really loaded up on offence this offseason.

The game total has come down from 220 to 218.5 (for $1.95 at Sportsbet) and I think Chicago is going to be able to score a lot in this contest.

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If Detroit can just get past 100, I think there is a chance this goes over.

This also implies I like the Bulls at -5.5.

Best bet: Total points - Chicago v Detroit Over 218.5

Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors

No Pascal Siakam for Toronto, but Chris Boucher is suiting up and ready to go while Washington will not have Rui Hachimura for the season opener.

Toronto has one of the NBA’s best home-court advantages and they are playing in Toronto for the first time since March 2020 and the crowd will be raucous.

I usually go in with a baseline of three points to give to a team playing at home, yet Toronto is only a 2.5 point favourite. Get it at Ladbrokes for $1.90.

I’m also really interested in rookie Scottie Barnes. He was dishing dimes in the preseason and it isn’t like Fred VanVleet and Goran Dragić are elite passers.

Barnes’ game assists are set at only 3.5, so I will take the over for $1.60 at Sportsbet.

Best bet: Handicap betting - Toronto -2.5 ($1.90 at Ladbrokes)

Best bet: Player assists - Barnes over 3.5 assists

Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks

This could be a matchup of two top-five NBA defences.

We know Tom Thibodeau is going to press his team on that end while a Celtics team with Rob Williams and Marcus Smart is always going to be good on that end.

Throw in the Knicks offensive struggles and snail-like pace and this game looks primed to go under.

You can find the total for 217.5 at Sportsbet

Best bet: Total points - Boston v New York Under 217.5

Kemba Walker, pictured here in action for the New York Knicks.
Kemba Walker in action for the New York Knicks. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers

The Kings had the NBA’s worst defence last year. Yes, they should be improved there this season, but I wouldn’t expect a big leap.

The Blazers are introducing a new scheme and it looked terrible in the preseason.

I expect a lot of defensive miscommunications in this game, so I immediately am drawn to the game total.

The total sits at 235 currently, and I like the look of that. This could easily exceed 240 or even 250.

Best bet: Total points - Sacramento vs Portland Over 235

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