Top NBA Betting Pick & Predictions of the Week - February 26th

Top NBA Betting Pick & Predictions of the Week – February 26th

Written by on February 26, 2018

Sometimes it’s challenging to bet on the NBA because you can never be sure when a coach might rest his star player. Apparently, you won’t have to worry about that with the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. He hasn’t missed a game all season and Coach Ty Lue says he has no plans to give James any nights off. Here’s a look at the TNT doubleheader on Thursday, both of which could be first-round playoff previews. Check back for the latest NBA betting odds around gametime.

Top NBA Betting Pick & Predictions of the Week – February 26th

Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers

When: Thursday, 8 PM ET (TNT)LeBron is on pace to play in all 82 games for the first time in his 15-year career because, according to Lue, James feels obligated to be out there every night for his teammates.“I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,” Lue said. “So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example … I think we still got to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff] say he feels good.”Cleveland lost Sunday at home to the Spurs, 110-84, despite 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for LeBron. The Cavs are now 3-2 since overhauling their roster with three trades. James passed Rod Strickland (7,987) for 11th place on career assists list.

How Will Cleveland End the Season?

I believe Cleveland will finish third in the Eastern Conference standings as the Cavs won’t catch Toronto or Boston for a top-two seed. There’s a solid chance that the 76ers finish in the sixth spot, meaning a Cleveland-Philly first-round offering could happen. That would be arguably the most interesting first-round matchup possible in the entire NBA. LeBron remains the East’s best player and biggest personality but could be soon surpassed in both by 76ers big name Joel Embiid.The Sixers haven’t been in the Cavs’ class yet in losing both matchups. It was 113-91 on Nov. 27 in Philadelphia. James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. The four-time MVP James had four points, including an emphatic dunk, and J.R. Smith hit three 3-pointers early in the third as the Cavaliers took a 14-point lead. Embiid had 30 points and 11 rebounds to pace the 76ers. Ben Simmons struggled and left in the fourth with an injury.On Dec. 8 in Cleveland, the Cavs won 105-98.  James had a triple-double of 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. He scored or assisted on Cleveland’s last 22 points. Embiid was out injured. Robert Covington and J.J. Redick scored 19 points each for Philadelphia.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers

When: Thursday, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)I had projected Minnesota to finish third in the West behind Houston and Golden State but ahead of San Antonio and Oklahoma City – but that could change now because of a key injury. Portland is right in the mix for spots 5-8 – or missing out entirely. But this could also be a first-round matchup.This will be the last meeting of the season if they don’t face off this spring. The Wolves lead 2-1 but lost in Portland in the last meeting, 123-114 on Jan. 24. Damian Lillard had 31 points. The Blazers broke it open by scoring 43 in the third to Minnesota’s 30. It was the most points Portland has had in a single quarter all season. Andrew Wiggins had 24 points for the Timberwolves. All-Star Jimmy Butler was out with a sore right knee.Are the Trail Blazers a safe bet vs. the Timberwolves?

What Will Happen to Jimmy Butler?

Butler is going to perhaps miss the rest of the regular season now. He had surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on Sunday and is projected to miss 4-6 weeks. Butler suffered the noncontact injury in the third quarter of the Timberwolves’ road loss to the Houston Rockets last Friday. He is averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Could be tough for the Wolves to hang on to a top-four spot in the West now and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.Butler was leading the NBA in minutes played per game at 37.3 per night. He was the linchpin of the NBA’s most-used five-man lineup, a starting group that logged 1,086 minutes so far this season, 331 minutes more than any other lineup in the league. He led the Timberwolves in scoring and usage. One beneficiary of the injury could be Portland as the Blazers perhaps could overtake the Wolves now for the Northwest Division title.We might see more from Wiggins because of the Butler injury, though. Wiggins has averaged 16.8 points per 36 minutes when Butler is on the court. Without Butler, that rate has improved drastically to 20.2 points per 36. It’s not enough to make up for the loss of Butler, but it shows that he is capable of stepping up after the injury.

Expert NBA Betting Predictions of the Week

Cleveland will continue its success against the 76ers, and Portland hold serves at home against the short-handed Wolves.