As we approach the halfway mark of the NBA regular season, two teams have laid down a marker for the rest of the league to follow. The Los Angeles Lakers lead the Western Conference with a 29-7 record while the Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the East at 32-5. Unsurprisingly, both franchises lead the way in the betting for the Larry O’Brien trophy too. You can back the Lakers, Bucks and Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers at +320 with CanPlay.
There are some great games on the slate this week – lets have a look.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Philadelphia 76ers
6th January 2020 7:05PM
The Thunder hit the road to face the 76ers in Philadelphia hoping to continue their great run of form. Billy Donovan’s side have won their last five in a row and nine of their last 10. Veteran guard Chris Paul has been a driving force for this young team with Dennis Schroeder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander providing the scoring.
That rich vein of form has put the Thunder right in playoff contention and they currently sit 7th, six games ahead of 8th placed San Antonio Spurs.
They will face a team with similar playoff aspirations in the Philadelphia 76ers. An impressive Christmas Day victory over league leaders Milwaukee Bucks has been a high point of Philadelphia’s season but four straight defeats makes this game a must-win encounter for Brett Brown’s team.
Looking at the betting for this one, Philadelphia are favoured by the bookies on homecourt. You can back them to win at -325 with CanPlay. However, we fancy the Thunder to cover the 7-point spread at least. That can be backed at -106 and it’s our tip of the week.
If player betting is your thing then Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to score under 18.5 points looks interesting at -105. The Canadian has had a hot hand lately but Ben Simmons should have enough defensively to keep him under 19 points.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Toronto Raptors
Tuesday 7th January 7:05PM
Reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors have performed above expectations without last year’s talisman Kawhi Leonard. The Raps are 4th in the Eastern Conference with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanFleet impressing for the young side. They face last year’s beaten Western Conference finalists Portland on Tuesday night.
The Trail Blazers have struggled to capture their form from the last few seasons and have stuttered to a 15-22 record. Damian Lillard leads the team in points and assists while Carmelo Anthony has been added to the roster to provide some shooting.
Toronto have a kind stretch of games on the horizon and a win here could set them up for a run up the Eastern Conference standings. They have only lost five games at home this season and they should have too much in the locker for the Trail Blazers.
Back the Raptors to win with CanPlay.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks
Friday 10th January 9:45PM
These two franchises meet for the fourth and final time in this regular season with LeBron James and the Lakers currently leading the series 2-1. They last faced each other on the 30th December with the Lakers coming out of that one as 108-95 winners.
The Mavericks haven’t been able to maintain their blistering start to the season but they are comfortable in the playoff positions with a 22-13 record. Luka Doncic is averaging 29.4 points-per-game and the man leading the NBA All-Star vote will be required to score 30 or more if the Mavericks are to have any chance of knocking off James, Davis and the Lakers on Friday night.
The Lakers still have their doubters despite their league-leading form. They have played and lost to the Clippers twice already this season and many will be backing Doc Rivers’ Clippers team to be the Western Conference representative at this year’s NBA Finals.
We fancy the Mavericks to pick up a win on home court in this one. Back Dallas to win with CanPlay.