This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Nick Whalen: Thunder (-1.5) vs. Raptors and UNDER 213.0 points (DK Sportsbook, 9:35AM)
The Thunder come in having won eight of 10 and looking like a team that's separated itself from the bottom-tier of the Western Conference. I like Toronto to keep this close, but OKC is rolling right now, and I think the Raptors will continue to feel the absence of Fred VanVleet – even if they do get Marc Gasol back tonight. The Thunder have been the best team in the NBA against the spread this season, and they're a league-best 16-6 ATS following a win. Meanwhile, Toronto – which hasn't played since Sunday – is bizarrely a worse team when coming off of extended rest, holding just a 2-8 record ATS with 2-3 rest days. The Raptors are also 2-8 ATS when they hold the rest advantage. Toronto is 5-6 ATS on the season as a road underdog, though it is slightly above .500 ATS (7-6) following a loss.
As far as the total goes, these are two teams that tend to hit the under, and that's only exacerbated in cross-conference matchups. Oklahoma City has gone under in seven of 12 games against the East, while Toronto has gone under in nine of 14 matchups against the West. In their first matchup this season (Dec. 29), the total stayed under 200, with both teams shooting under 44 percent from the floor. Of course, Toronto did not have Siakam for that game, but it did have VanVleet, who accounted for 20 points and eight assists in the 98-97 Thunder victory.
Bonus bet: Ben Simmons UNDER 0.5 made three-pointers (-3335)
Bet $100,000 to win $3,000. Gotta do it.
Alex Barutha: Mavericks moneyline (-155) at Kings (DK Sportsbook, 12:33 PM CT)
The Mavericks are on a road back-to-back, but the impact has been dampened. They're only traveling from San Fransisco to Sacramento, and no player saw more than 27 minutes during Tuesday's win over the Warriors. It's also possible that Kristaps Porzingis returns, but I like this line even without him available.
Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating System gives the Mavericks a 7.5, which is good for third-best in the league. The Kings have a -2.8, which is ninth-worst. By those numbers alone, I feel good about getting Dallas to win for -155, and the spread is as low as -3.5 in some places.
Dallas also rarely loses to bad teams. They're 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 games as road favorites, and they're 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven contests against teams with a winning percentage below 40. Meanwhile, the Kings are a disturbing 2-10 ATS in their past 12 home games.