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NBA on TNT Thursday Preview: Celtics at Mavericks, Clippers at Nuggets

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics look to bounce back against the Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, followed by a potential Western Conference Finals preview in Denver

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Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The NBA on TNT returns tonight, kicking off at 6:30pm CST with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown bring the Boston Celtics on the road for a meeting with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Boston took a beating from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, so rest assured they’ll be fired up for this one. Following the conclusion of that one, TNT will head to Mile High, where Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers face their playoff demons against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:

DraftKings Odds

(As of 10pm CST Wednesday night)

You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Boston Celtics vs Dallas Mavericks Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Celtics (-2, -130 ML) at Mavericks (+2, +110 ML) | Total: 230

As of writing 57% of bets are on the Celtics to cover the spread, and 46% of the handle (money) is on Boston according to VSiN. This indicates that while the average bettor slightly favors Boston, professional, sharp bettors slightly prefer Dallas as a home underdog. Dallas is 7-11-2 against the spread at home this season. As for the total, the public strongly favors the over, as 84% of bets are on over 230 points. Sharps are less sure, with 67% of the money on the over. As always, the pros are less enthused about the total going over than guys like me.

The Picks: Mavs +2 | Under 230

I’m not concerned about the Celtics in the long-term. This is a long season, after all, but they are in a bit of a rut right now. Boston enters this one a mediocre 5-5 in their last 10 games, which is poor for a team with title aspirations. On top of that, Luka Doncic has just been on another level right now, which is why he was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for December. Given the idea that role players shoot better at home, I’ll take the Mavs as home dogs.

I do think this game will be lower scoring, though. I’m not super enthused about Dallas’ defense, but Luka just tends to slow the game down to a halt. The combination of a slower pace with Boston’s affinity for locking in defensively, I could see this one being just a bit more low-scoring than the bookmakers suggest. Something in the low/mid 220s sounds more likely to me than busting into the 230s.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Clippers (+4.5, +160 ML) at Nuggets (-4.5, -190 ML) | Total: 225

As of writing, 73% of bets have been wagered on the Nuggets, along with an astounding 97%. Seriously, 97%! My guess is that much of that came amidst speculation that Paul George will miss the game due to a hamstring injury. George is officially listed as questionable for the game, but the Clippers are notoriously cautious with injuries. While the public likes the Nuggets in this game regardless, it seems that the sharps are trying to get an early edge in the event that George is ruled out.

We are seeing heavily skewed action on the total as well, with 90% of bets and 97% of the money on the over tonight. Everyone expects there to be a lot of points here.

The Picks: Nuggets -4.5 | Over 225

Look, I’ve been around the block enough times to know when not to fade the sharps. When they’re this heavy on one side of each bet, I have to put my pride aside and admit that there are people who are much better at this than I am. With that in mind, we’re looking for a Nuggets win in a bit of a shootout. This total being lower than the appetizer is a bit confusing to me, so I suppose that part at least adds up, in my opinion.

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