NBA Betting Picks for Thursday 3/7/24: Who Will Win the Celtics-Nuggets Showdown?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

The 82-game NBA regular season offers us a wide variety of betting options, including point spreads, moneylines, and totals. The Association features 1,230 regular season games, which can make sifting through the odds an overwhelming task.

However, various advanced statistics can help narrow the choices. numberFire's NBA power rankings and daily projections paired with advanced stats from the NBA can help give the inside track to winning big.

While utilizing some of the mentioned tools, which NBA odds from FanDuel Sportsbook look like the best bets today?

Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.

NBA Best Bets

Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers

Over 228.0 (-110)

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Indiana Pacers have an elite matchup in store as Minnesota touts the top defensive rating in the league while Indiana has the second-best offensive rating. Common sense would say that the Timberwolves get into many low-scoring games and the Pacers participate in track meets. Which side will control the style of tonight's contest? The result will likely determine the total.

Indiana has eclipsed 120 points six of their last eight games. Here's why the unit could have another successful outing against the league's top defense. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack when searching for a weakness in Minnesota's defense, but one recent trend could give the Pacers a chance.

Over the last five games, opponents have totaled 36.0 three-point shots per game; the T-Wolves have given up 32.7 three-point attempts per contest on the season (sixth-fewest). Three of Minnesota's past five opponents have also shot 37.9% or better from deep. This trend is something that Indiana should pounce on as they average the eighth-most three-point makes paired with the eighth-best three-point percentage. The Pacers also come off a blistering game from deep, converting 18 of 39 shots (46.2%) last time out.

Scoring will not be nearly as difficult for the Wolves' offense as Indiana has the fourth-worst defensive rating. There are several areas where Minnesota could thrive, one being their efficiency. Minnesota has the 10th-best effective field goal percentage (eFG%), and the Pacers have the 4th-worst mark in opponent eFG%. The advantages continue with the Timberwolves averaging the 15th-most points in the paint while Indiana surrenders the most points in the paint.

The Pacers could push the pace as they total the seventh-most steals and Minnesota averages the eighth-most turnovers. This should only aid Indiana's ability to rack up fastbreak points (fourth-most). Both teams should have the ability to score tonight; give me the over.

Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets

Nuggets -1.0 (-108)

The top matchup of the night is between the Eastern Conference's top squad -- the Boston Celtics -- and the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets. The Celtics had their 11-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday, and the Nuggets' six-game streak came to an end on the same day. Which team will bounce back with a win?

Boston's Jaylen Brown is questionable for tonight's showdown. Brown is second on the team with a 28.5% usage rate and logs 22.4 points per game (PPG). If Brown is absent, replacing this production will be no easy feat. Plus, Denver has the ninth-best defensive rating, and that will make scoring even more difficult.

The Celtics heavily rely on the three, taking 42.3 shots per game (leads the league). The Nuggets have the ideal defense to slow this attack as they give up the second-fewest three-point attempts and makes per contest. While Denver's interior defense is susceptible (14th-fewest points in the paint), Boston averages the 4th-fewest points in the paint in the Association.

Aaron Gordon (113.5 defensive rating) is an exceptional defender who can help slow the Celtics' leading scorer, Jayson Tatum (27.1 PPG). His usage rate jumps from 30.6% to 35.4% when Brown is off of the court; defending Tatum could take center stage if Brown is out. Fortunately, the Nuggets seem to have the tools to prevent Tatum from taking over the game.

Now, let's focus on Denver's offense. They total the sixth-most points in the paint. Boston giving up the sixth-fewest points in the paint could initially cause some worries. However, two of the Celtics' past three opponents reached 58 points in the paint, a huge jump compared to the Nuggets' season average of 47.6.

numberFire's nERD-based power rankings have Boston as the NBA's best team, but the Nuggets appear to have the tools to take down the league's top squad. If Brown is held out by injury, this only further supports backing Denver.

Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors

Under 223.0 (-110)

The Golden State Warriors average the seventh-most PPG (118.7) and have the 13th-best offensive rating, yet the under is 8-2 over the Dubs' last 10 games. Going away from this trend could be foolish with the Chicago Bulls visiting town. The Bulls have the ninth-worst offensive rating while playing at the second-slowest pace in the NBA.

Over the last five games, Golden State had held opponents to 44.7% shooting from the field. This is even lower than Chicago's season-long mark of 46.4% (eighth-worst). The Warriors' ability to defend the three has still been an issue as opponents have logged 14.4 makes per game during the five-game stretch. However, the Bulls shoot the ninth-fewest threes in the league.

Frankly, I'm not too worried about Chicago lighting up the scoreboard. The Bulls continue to commit a cardinal sin in modern basketball, totaling the second-most shots between 15 to 19 feet from the basket. This is your typical mid-range jump shot. Shots around the rim and three-pointers are typically viewed as the most ideal looks in today's game, and Chicago doesn't take many of those -- with the 10th-fewest shots within five feet of the rim and the 9th-fewest attempts from three.

I have little trust in the Bulls' offense. As a result, I will continue to lean on the under trend for the Warriors.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.