Thursday, December 5

OKC Thunder vs Indiana Pacers, 12 pm
Pacers +1

The Pacers have quietly been a very effective team this season, compiling a 13-7 record thus far. Things haven’t been as good in OKC, although some decent recent form has them at 8-11.

The Thunder are 1 point favourites in this one, getting roughly 40% of the early action. I’m going to go with the public in this one, taking Indiana as small road underdogs.

On a day where there are a ton of back-to-backs and injury concerns, there is a fair amount of certainty in this matchup. Neither side is dealing with any major injury (aside from the pre-season Oladipo one) and both enter this clash relatively healthy.

Where I see the advantage for Indiana here is on the interior. Although they haven’t been perfect defensively, Turner and Sabonis is a very strong offensive duo.

Both possess solid outside shooting range and should bring Steven Adams out of the paint. This will in turn open up driving lanes for Brogdon and Lamb, both of whom have impressed in the early-going.

I also like Indiana’s depth and see a clear advantage for their second unit here. The Holiday brothers and McDermott have formed a nice offensive trio, which should work well against OKC’s Schroeder led bench unit.

This is a relatively even matchup but I think the Pacers have the matchup advantages and closers to get the job done here. 1.5 points is nice insurance, although the outright win may be better value.

Chicago Bulls vs Memphis Grizzlies, 12 pm
Grizzlies +6

The Bulls have been awful in the early-going, managing a 7-14 record despite a cakewalk schedule. Things admittedly haven’t been any better in Memphis, who actually enter this contest at only 6-14.

Nevertheless, I still intend to take the Grizzlies here, getting a relatively healthy 6 points. This is a terrible spot for Chicago, their first game back home after an extended West Coast trip.

Their body clocks are completely out of sync and they’re likely vulnerable to begin this homestand. They’ve also been terrible after a win this season, an indicator that Jim Boylen probably isn’t doing a great job.

I’ve backed the Grizzlies a lot this season but they’re often catching some big spreads and they tend to play very hard. They’ve got some definite matchup advantages here, especially on the interior against a weak Bulls frontcourt.

They also enter this clash largely healthy, with both Valanciunas and Anderson expected to return here. I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Ja Morant in the early-going and he has a favourable matchup against Chicago’s terrible perimeter defence.

I don’t anticipate Memphis being too fatigued here, with this being the first game of their road trip and a relatively short flight. This should give them a noticeable energy advantage, allowing them to push the pace in transition.

While Chicago is probably the slightly better side, the situational spot really favours Memphis in this one. I think they’re very live underdogs here, but the prospect of 6 points is too good to ignore.