We’re almost a week into the NBA’s bubble basketball experiment and it’s fair to say it has surpassed expectations so far. The viewing experience may be a bit strange for fans but the basketball has been played at playoff intensity for the duration.
In the Western Conference the race for the 8th seed has caught the attention with current occupants Memphis Grizzlies struggling in the opening week. Behind them the Portland Trail Blazers have recaptured some of their 2019 form with two important wins while the Phoenix Suns are undefeated so far in Orlando after close wins over the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. In contrast, the final seedings are all but wrapped up in the Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic taking the final two spots.
Now, lets take a look at the betting for this week’s games.
Toronto Raptors @ Orlando Magic
5th August 2020 8:05PM
Last season’s NBA champions Raptors are many people’s dark horse picks for this season and they have definitely impressed winning both games since the restart. Great defence was the mark of their 107-92 win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday while Fred VanVleet’s career-high 36 points led the team to a 107-103 victory over the Miami Heat. They are expected to win again against the Magic at -265 with CanPlay.
They should have the fresher legs against an Orlando Magic team that suffered an 11-point defeat to the Indiana Pacers last night. As we already mentioned, it looks as if the Magic have already clinched their playoff seeding and they will most likely face the Milwaukee Bucks or the Raptors in the opening round.
There are plenty of markets available to bet on in this one with CanPlay. Fred VanVleet’s scoring line might catch the eye for some bettors. He scored 13 points against an elite Lakers defence before dropping 36 against the Heat. You can back him to score 17 or more tonight against the Magic at -125.
Another trend that is emerging in the bubble is the ability of teams to make big second half comebacks. There have been very few blowouts and we fancy this one to be another close run thing. Back the Raptors to win by 1-5 points at +370 with CanPlay.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets
6th August 2020 9PM
Confirmed Western Conference 1st seed Los Angeles Lakers face the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at the HP Field House in Orlando. The Lakers secured the No.1 seed in the West with a 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night. The Rockets have moved above the Jazz in the standings with wins against the Mavericks and the Bucks although they did fall to a 110-102 loss against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
The starting five for the Lakers will have a big impact on the betting for this one. With first place already secured, Frank Vogel may look to rest some of his big name players including James and Anthony Davis. If that’s the case then the odds will swing heavily in the Rockets’ favour.
The Rockets may well have the advantage in this one anyway. This is the second game of a back-to-back for the Lakers while Houston have had an extra night to prepare. As expected James Harden and Russell Westbrook are dominating the ball for Mike D’Antoni’s team and we expect this to continue on Thursday. Back both men to have big games in the player betting with CanPlay.
The Rockets will just shade this one.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers
8th August 2020 1PM
We have another key Western Conference match-up in the early game on Saturday afternoon. At the time of writing, the Portland Trail Blazers sit in 9th position while Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers hold on to the 2nd seed.
However, that could all change by Saturday with both teams in action on Thursday night. Portland face the Denver Nuggets while the Clippers play the Dallas Mavericks. Portland have been one of the most impressive teams in the bubble with Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic showing out on the floor.
In contrast the Clippers have been largely underwhelming with defeats to the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. That loss to the Suns came courtesy of a buzzer beater from Devin Booker. Both Leonard and Paul George struggled to contain the former No. 13 draft pick who led his team with 35 points. Their task will not be any easier on Saturday afternoon against two of the best offensive players in the league in the shape of Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum.
The Trail Blazers are desperately trying to return to the playoffs and a win here will go a long way to helping them achieve that. Back Portland to win in the moneyline betting with CanPlay.