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Sean B’s Best NBA Bets Today: Free Expert Betting Picks | Thursday 3/31/22

Sean Blazek

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The Miami Heat took down the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday to stay atop the Eastern Conference, dropping the Celtics to the No. 4 seed. The Dallas Mavericks rise to third in the Western Conference after the Suns took down the Warriors on the road. With 10 days left in the regular season, the NBA playoff picture is starting to shape up. There are five games scheduled across the league on Thursday. Bucks – Nets kick it off on TNT followed up by the Lakers vs. Jazz. Let’s dive into the best NBA bets today, picks and NBA betting tips for Thursday, March 31.

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Best NBA Bets Today: Game Tips & Betting Predictions

76ers vs. Pistons Best Bet

The 76ers and Pistons meet Thursday in some Eastern Conference action inside Little Caesars Arena. Philadelphia is coming off consecutive losses to the Suns and Bucks, sliding to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Detroit is already eliminated from playoff contention and dropped eight of their last 10 games. These two teams have met twice this season, with the 76ers winning comfortably in both matchups.

The Sixers had won three straight games prior to losing back-to-back games against Phoenix and Milwaukee. They are first in the Atlantic Division with a 46-29 record. Philadelphia is averaging 108.9 points on 46.1% shooting and allowing 106.8 points to opponents. The 76ers’ scoring totals are down roughly six points compared to last season, but that can be contributed to their slow pace and inside-out game with James Harden and Joel Embiid. Despite their lowing scoring totals, the Sixers lead the NBA in free throw percentage and rank third in free throw attempts. Embiid is the most important piece for the 76ers in the playoffs and he has been a monster this year, averaging 29.9 points and 11.4 rebounds. The Sixers cannot overlook a Pistons squad that is at home with nothing to lose.

The Detroit Pistons enter Thursday on the first end of a back-to-back and third game in four nights. The Pistons’ playoff hopes disappeared a while ago and the team is looking forward to a lottery draft pick, as they are tied for last in the league with Orlando and Houston sitting at 20 wins apiece on the season. Cory Joseph (back) is questionable for Thursday’s contest and Jerami Grant (calf) is out for the season. Cade Cunningham is the centerpiece for the Pistons’ future and should continue to see big minutes in the last few remaining games. The Detroit Pistons are averaging 104.5 points on 43% shooting and allowing 112.3 points to opponents. They rank bottom 10 in the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Tonight will not be an easy time trying to stop Embiid and Harden from getting to the free throw line, as Detroit ranks 29th in free throw attempts allowed going up against a Sixers squad that attempts 23.6 free throws per game. The Pistons will need to try to limit the fouls and force Philly to take quality shots from the field and beyond the arc.

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Detroit has been keeping games close and covering the spread, but in their last five matchups vs. a top 10 defense, the game total is averaging just 212.8 points. In their two matchups this season the total ended at 207 and 212. Given there was no Harden in either of these matchups, this line is still set 15 points higher than their last matchup which seems a few points too high. Philadelphia is 34-39-2 over/under on the season. Detroit is 37-37-2 over/under, cashing the under in five of their last six games. The 76ers should be as motivated as any team in the league, as they are just 1.5 games out of first place in the conference. If the Pistons get down by double digits early in this game, you may not see them throw in the towel and struggle to reach 100 points on offense. They are without their leading scorer due to injury and this is a hit to an offense that ranks 28th in offensive rating on the year. Expect the Sixers to lock in and take care of business on the road. Ride the under with confidence on Thursday.

Best NBA Bet for Today’s Game: Total Under 223.5

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Clippers vs. Bulls Best Bet

The Los Angeles Clippers are entering their final road trip with back-to-back games against Chicago and Milwaukee. The Clippers are coming off a 121-115 comeback win against Utah in Paul George‘s first game back from an elbow injury. Los Angeles is locked into the eighth seed barring an epic collapse and a perfect finish by the Pelicans. The Bulls are back at home after finishing off a five-game road trip with a 107-94 win in Washington in their previous contest. These teams faced off once at the beginning of the season with the Bulls coming out on top 100-90.

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Coach Tyronn Lue and the Clippers showed some major grit on Tuesday rallying back from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Jazz in Utah. George came out scoring buckets, posting 34 points in 31 minutes of play in his first game back in action. Watch his minutes, as the team may be cautious with his playing time after he saw over 30 minutes in his first game back in action. George’s return to the team provides a major boost to an offense that ranks 25th on the season in offensive efficiency. George joining the lineup means some open space for Reggie Jackson (16.9 ppg). Lue discussed capping some of the veterans’ minutes down the stretch in order to keep them fresh for the play-in game. The Clippers are currently eighth in the West and would be playing Minnesota in the first play-in game for the seventh seed. Should they lose, they would then play the winner of the 9/10 seed game. The Los Angeles Clippers are averaging 106.8 points on 45.4% shooting and allowing 108.4 points to opponents.

The Bulls are currently fifth in the East and are 2.5 games back of fourth and 4.5 games back of first. They are 4-6 in their last 10. The Bulls are unlikely to get first place but are doing anything they can to try to get home-court advantage, as they are 26-10 at home compared to an 18-22 record on the road. The team is led by DeMar DeRozan (27.7 PPG) and Zach LaVine (24.6 PPG). Lavine is dealing with left knee soreness and is listed as probable for this game. The Chicago Bulls are averaging 111.4 points on 48.1% shooting and allowing 110.9 points to opponents. Chicago’s offense has been the bright spot this season, especially at home where they are averaging 114.5 points per game. They rank third in both field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage and if they can get hot off the jump, the Clippers may have trouble keeping pace with scoring.

The Bulls’ backcourt should make a difference in this one, as the Clippers will have a tall task trying to slow down DeRozan and LaVine, who combined for 64 points in their first meeting. The Clippers’ last game sailed over the total by 18 points and line makers will have a harder time setting this total with George providing a considerable boost to the Clippers’ offense. Look for the Clippers to use their momentum from the win over the Jazz to put up a hard-fought battle against the Bulls inside United Center. Head-to-head, the over is 4-1 in the last five meetings with three of those five games surpassing 220 points. The total is predicted to end in the 223-228 range. Take the over in Thursday’s showdown.

Best NBA Bet for Today’s Game: Total Over 220.5

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Sean Blazek (aka SweatBets) has contributed to Awesemo since November 2021 and is currently an NBA Betting Content Creator. His articles can be found on Awesemo as well as OddsShopper under the NBA Betting Articles section. Sean has a knack for identifying value in spreads and totals using an analytical approach to find his Best Bets. Follow him on Twitter @SweatBets and get ready to cash.

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