The NBA is back to regular season play after its week-long sabbatical for the All-Star break. There are seven games on tap, making it far from a soft relaunch. Point spreads portend a night that could be a healthy mix of lopsided results and hotly-contested games, as three of the seven lines sit at nine points or higher as of late Thursday morning.
NBA odds for Thursday, February 24
Here are the today’s pro basketball betting lines with pro basketball point spreads, moneylines and totals.
Pro basketball player props
Bulls G DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan went into the All-Star Break on an historic tear with averages of 38.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.6 APG while shooting 60% from the floor over his last seven games. His scoring prop is still too low at 28.5 points and you can get +210 odds at FanDuel for DeRozan to top 30 points in a win for the Bulls. The Hawks rank 25th in defensive rating and allowed DDR to go for 55 points and 18 assists over two meetings in late December. He’s averaging 39 PPG on a 38.6% usage rate over his last six home games and the Bulls have the best offensive rating as a team over their last 12 games.
Suns G Devin Booker
With Chris Paul (thumb) out and Cam Payne (ankle) not yet ready to play, Devin Booker should take on an increased role as a scorer and facilitator. Book produced 36 points and 8 assists in his lone game without CP3 this season and he’s averaging 31.3 PPG and 6.8 APG over his last 10 outings without Paul. While OKC has been stingy on defense over the past couple of seasons, Booker is still averaging 32.3 PPG on excellent shooting splits (52/45/94%) over his last six meetings with the Thunder and OKC will get Shai-Gilgeous Alexander (ankle) back tonight to likely make this game more competitive. Take Booker to top 28.5 points with confidence.
What to watch for today
Cavs saddled with key absences against Pistons: The Cavaliers have no shortage of optimism as they start the stretch run of the season, as Cleveland has been one of the most improved teams in the league and sits in the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, just 2.5 games behind pace-setters Chicago and Miami. However, the Cavs will have some personnel-related challenges right from the jump coming out of the break, as they’ll face a Pistons team that beat them by 10 in their most recent encounter. Cleveland will be without the services of Darius Garland (back) and Caris LeVert (foot). There is a chance they do get Lauri Markkanen (ankle) back in action following an 11-game absence in what would make for an especially timely return.
Celtics hope All-Star break didn’t cool them off as they battle Nets: The Celtics did drop a 112-111 decision to the Pistons in their last game before the All-Star break but otherwise Boston was absolutely rolling for most of the previous month. The Celts had gone 11-1 since Jan. 23 prior to that Feb. 16 loss, with eight of those wins impressively having come by at least 20 points. Consequently, Ime Udoka’s crew will hope the time off hasn’t cooled their collective hot hand, and they’ll get an immediate gauge on that in a visit to the Nets, who’ll be without Kyrie Irving due to the location of the game, on Thursday.
Bulls aim to keep grip on top seed as Hawks visit: The Bulls are another Eastern Conference squad that undoubtedly wanted to keep playing when the All-Star break hit, as Chicago won its last five games before the pause. The surge helped vault Billy Donovan’s crew back to the top of the mountain in the Eastern Conference, where they find themselves in a tie with the Miami Heat. Zach LaVine appears to be over his recent knee issues as well, leaving the Bulls at nearly full health – save for Lonzo Ball (knee) – as they welcome in the Hawks on Thursday night.
Grizzlies test their road mettle in trip to Minnesota: The Grizzlies were arguably the most dominant team in the NBA outside of the Suns over the last two months-plus of the pre-All-Star-break portion of the season, going 32-9 between Nov. 28 and Feb. 16. Memphis did close things out with a loss before the week-long pause, but they haven’t suffered consecutive defeats since Dec. 19-23. When also factoring in the Grizz’s 21-9 road record and their 2-1 mark against the Timberwolves this season, it’s not exactly surprising Taylor Jenkins’ squad is a road favorite, albeit a narrow one, of 1.5 points.
Suns begin life without Paul: Speaking of the Suns, Phoenix’s 48-10 mark has afforded an expanding 6.5-game lead over the No. 2-seeded Warriors in the Western Conference. However, recent days brought the news that Chris Paul could essentially miss the rest of the regular season and perhaps even the early portion of the postseason with his thumb injury. Therefore, that cushion Phoenix has built up could become essential if Monty Williams’ club hopes to hold on to that No. 1 spot, even as the Suns do have some reasonably capable backup options at point guard in the form of Cameron Payne, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Holiday to try and hold down the fort. The Suns will get a manageable test in their first game without CP3, as they visit the 18-40 Thunder on Thursday and are still 10-to-10.5-point favorites.