This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Thursday's three-game slate of games is intriguing for both DFS and gambling. The Hawks will be without Trae Young, the Pelicans will be getting Jrue Holiday back but are still down Derrick Favors, and the Spurs are visiting Staples Center to take on Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.
Jeff Edgerton: Clippers (-5) vs. Spurs – DraftKings, Wednesday 4:10 PM Pacific
Kawhi Leonard will look to enact secondary revenge on Gregg Popovich and the Spurs in his new home, Staples Center. You can bet Doc Rivers will be keenly aware of Leonard's desire to stick it to his former team, and the rest of the offensive machine will be there to back him up. The Spurs are a surprising 3-0, but if you take a look at who they've played, the jig is up. They beat the Knicks by 9, the Wizards by only 2 points, and they barely squeaked by the Trailblazers, 124-122. If you look behind the curtain, the Spurs are still exactly as advertised – a team that will struggle to compete in the West.
James Anderson: 2-Team Parlay (+264), Heat (-7), Spurs (+4.5) – FanDuel at 10:17 AM 10/31
The Heat line could be -10 and I would still feel good about it. Obviously the Hawks are without Trae Young, and I think you could argue he is one of the five most valuable players in the NBA, just in terms of how important he is to his team's success. He is the engine. Without him, they have role players setting up rookies. John Collins is great, but he's a second banana from a team success standpoint. He can't create offense for his teammates and he is a subpar defender. The Heat are at close to full strength, and I don't think this game will be close at all.
The Clippers are playing the second game of a back-to-back while the Spurs haven't played since Monday. Kawhi Leonard will play after sitting out the first game of the back-to-back, and I fully expect Leonard to go off in this one, but the Spurs will have the edge in every other matchup from a rest and preparation standpoint. The Spurs are fully healthy and generally underrated. This is basically a bet on this being at least a very close game, and I think that's a reasonable expectation. Can you picture a Gregg Popovich team getting blown out on three day's rest? I can't either.
Alex Barutha: 2-Player Prop Parlay (+373): Alex Len over 5.5 rebounds, JJ Redick over 2.5 threes – DraftKings, Wednesday 10:30 AM CT
Let's get weird. Both of these are fueled by teammate injuries and some early on/off court data, and none of the game lines really stand out to me – though the Heat moneyline is nice. Len has been, admittedly, hard to trust so far this season. He's seeing 20.0 minutes and averaging 4.3 rebounds per game. However, I think the Hawks will struggle to generate offense with Trae Young out, which could lead to a lot of misses, creating rebound opportunities. Notably, with Young off the court this season, Len is averaging 6.7 more rebounds per 36 minutes.
Redick's workload isn't inspiring, either, as he's seeing 25.5 minutes per game. However, he's launching 7.0 threes per contest, and he averages 5.3 more attempts from deep per 36 minutes with Derrick Favors (who is doubtful to play) off the court. An over/under of 224.5 also creates some optimism for Redick's shot opportunities. In all, I like getting nearly 4-to-1 odds on both Len and Redick hitting the over.
Nick Whalen: Heat (-6.5) at Hawks – DK Thursday, 11:15am CT
This is a rematch from earlier this week, and I'm expecting a similar result. On Tuesday, the Hawks had Trae Young for only 11 minutes, and in those 11 minutes, they trailed by four points. Once Young went down, it was virtually over, and Miami cruised to a 15-point win – and that was with Justise Winslow having by far his worst game of the season. With Young out altogether tonight, the Hawks will likely turn to... DeAndre' Bembry? at point guard. Not exactly someone I'm worried about carving up what's been one of the NBA's best defenses in the early going. I like Miami to cruise to another relatively easy win.
Ken Crites: John Collins over 20.5 points (-110) – DK/FD 11:35am CT Thursday
It was versus the Heat two days ago in Miami where Trae Young hurt his ankle. Now the two face each other in Atlanta and Collins will be scoring option number one for the Hawks. Over 413 minutes of Collins on the court without Young this year and last, Collins averages 21.8 points per 36 minutes. Collins scored 30 in Miami on Tuesday and I expect him to keep it rolling. Take the over.