Thursday night is light with just five games on the docket, but the nightly jostling for postseason positioning that occurs this time of season essentially makes every game relevant in some form. There’s an especially intriguing Bucks-Nets matchup, and even one of the two games with a double-digit spread, the 76ers-Pistons clash, could be closer than projected given Detroit’s performances this season against quality teams.
Thursday March 31 NBA odds
Here are Thursday March 31 NBA odds with point spreads, moneylines and totals.
NBA player props
Jazz G Donovan Mitchell
There aren’t many safer bets than Donovan Mitchell right now with the Jazz missing secondary scorer Bojan Bogdanovic (calf). Mitchell is averaging 30 PPG on a 37.4% usage rate over his last eight appearances despite scoring just 12 points while injuring his ankle against Dallas on Sunday. He bounced back with 33 points against the Clippers Tuesday and faces a far, far worse defense tonight with the Lakers visiting. The Lakers are 1-5 and allowing a league-high 123.3 PPG over their last six outings, and will still be without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Mitchell dropped 37 points on 13-for-24 FG shooting in his last meeting with this team and he should cruise past 25.5 points, with good odds (+200) at FanDuel Sportsbook for him to record 30-plus points in a win.
Pistons G Cade Cunningham
The Pistons continue their frisky play, as they’ve covered in 15 of their last 17 games when listed as underdogs. Cade Cunningham led the way again with 34 points in a respectable loss at Brooklyn Tuesday, and he should continue to see high usage with Jerami Grant shut down for the season. Cunningham is averaging 22.3 PPG and 7.1 APG over his last seven outings without Grant. He’s averaging 22.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 7 APG over his last nine home games overall, and the 76ers happen to allow the most RPG (9.23) and 11th-most APG (9.23) to PGs over their last seven games. Take the Over on Cunningham to score 20.5 points and consider combining that prop with 26.5 points and rebounds.
What to watch for today
76ers looking to rebound from last-second loss to Bucks: The 76ers went toe to toe with another member of the Eastern Conference elite in the Bucks on Tuesday night, and in what resulted in an instant classic, Philadelphia dropped a two-point decision when Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded a memorable block on Joel Embiid in the closing seconds. Philly is still just two games back of the top-seeded Heat, however, and they have a chance to put Monday’s disappointment behind them Thursday night when they visit the Pistons, which they’ve already recorded two wins in as many tries this season.
Defending champs visit Big Apple, look to inch closer to No. 1 seed: The Bucks’ victory over the Sixers continued a dominant stretch of play for the defending champs, which have most recently won seven of 10. Milwaukee is just a game behind the top-seeded Heat entering Thursday, and with Miami idle, the Bucks will be able to get within a half-game if they can topple the host Nets. Brooklyn should prove a tough out, however, as Kyrie Irving’s availability for home games naturally makes Steve Nash’s squad an exponentially more dangerous unit.
Cavaliers and Hawks meet with plenty of postseason incentive: Another game involving two teams that can still improve playoff positioning takes place at State Farm Arena, where the Cavaliers visit the Hawks with Atlanta riding a three-game winning streak. Nate McMillan’s squad has won the last two meetings between the teams and they also boast a 24-14 home record, helping lead to their status as 4.5-to-5-point favorites Thursday. However, Cleveland has some incentive in this scenario as well, given they’d like to ideally get to the No. 6 seed that they’re just two games back of entering Thursday.
Bulls host suddenly buoyant Clippers: It hasn’t always been smooth for the Bulls in recent weeks, but Chicago is still in good shape with their standing as the No. 4 seed and a pair of victories in the last three games. With six games left on their schedule, Billy Donovan’s crew can still move up as well, but they’ll host a potentially dangerous Clippers team Thursday. Los Angeles has only won once in the last six games, yet a 121-115 victory against the Jazz on Tuesday night that marked Paul George’s highly successful return from a three-month absence due to an elbow injury could be just the spark needed to build momentum ahead of the postseason.
Jazz look to pile on Lakers’ misfortune with LeBron likely out again: That Utah team the Clippers upended Tuesday won’t exactly be in a chipper mood Thursday night as the Lakers visit, considering the Jazz blew a 25-point lead to L.A. Consequently, Quinn Snyder’s crew will aim to take their frustration out on the other Los Angeles team, one that will once again be missing LeBron James (ankle) and which has lost seven of the last 10.