Basketball Betting Preview for Thursday February 25

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
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Basketball Betting Preview for Thursday February 25

Carrie Stroup here with your Basketball betting preview for Thursday that features three great games, one in College Basketball, the other two in the NBA.


Duke -9.5, Total: 156.5

No. 15 Duke looks to sustain its ascent up the ACC standings as it hosts reeling Florida State on Thursday.

Duke is 13-2 SU at home this season (7-6-1 ATS) and has won three straight at home since dropping back-to-back efforts in Cameron Indoor against Notre Dame and Syracuse in January. Duke had won five straight overall before dropping an emotional affair at Louisville on Saturday (71-64, Duke +7).

Coach Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles have slipped in the standings while Duke has surged, as Florida State has dropped four straight (0-4 ATS) including road losses at Syracuse and, most recently, at Virginia Tech (83-73, FSU -3) on Saturday. The Seminoles are uncharacteristically weak on defense this season and have allowed just under 77 PPG on the road, including allowing the Hokies to shoot 58% from three in Saturday’s loss.

Historically, Duke is 14-6 SU (7-13 ATS) over its past 20 contests against the Seminoles dating back to 2003. The Blue Devils are 7-3 SU at home (3-7 ATS) in that span. Duke most recently beat Florida State 78-56 (Duke -8.5) at home in Jan. 2014, while Duke won last season’s contest in Tallahassee (73-70, Duke -10.5). The total between Duke and Florida State has gone UNDER in the last four meetings between these two teams, and Duke’s last four games overall have also gone UNDER. Six of Florida State’s last seven games, however, have gone OVER.

Duke withstood a few injuries this past weekend, but hopes to have G Matt Jones (11.2 PPG, 41% 3PT) and G Derryck Thornton (8 PPG) available to play through ankle and shoulder injuries, respectively. Jones did not play at Louisville on Saturday.

The Seminoles have relied on the scoring punch provided by the dynamic freshman duo of G Malik Beasley (16.2 PPG, 48% FG) and G Dwayne Bacon (15.7 PPG, 45% FG). Predictably, Beasley and Bacon have run into troubles during the Seminoles’ four game slide, as the rigors of their first college basketball season – especially with an offense on their shoulders – has seemingly come to a head (Beasley – 10 PPG, 28% FG; Bacon 13 PPG, 36% FG in last four games).

If Florida State isn’t going to be able to outscore its opponents, they find themselves in tons of trouble, as they’re in the bottom third of all D1 teams in points allowed (73.7 PPG), opponent FGM per game (25.9), and opponent 3PM 7.7). They’ll have a tough time exposing Duke’s biggest weakness, rebounding, as nobody on Florida State has averaged over 5 RPG in their past four games. Duke also does not foul often, and the young backcourt of Beasley, Bacon and G Xavier Rathan-Mayes (11.8 PPG, 4.7 APG) shouldn’t be traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium with the intention of getting favorable calls and handfuls of trips to the free throw line.

Reserve G Devon Bookert (9.6 PPG) did score 23 points (6-8 3PT) in last season’s meeting with the Blue Devils and is averaging 12 PPG (42% 3PT) over his last four.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils have jumped on the backs of G Grayson Allen (21.0 PPG, 44% 3PT) and F Brandon Ingram (17.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.5 3PT) to a resurgence in the national polls and an honest threat at the ACC regular season title. Just last month pundits had pushed Duke into “bubble team” fodder, but then came five straight wins (three over top 25 opponents) before Saturday’s loss at Louisville. Duke has shot better than 41.5% FG over its last eight games and scores 82.4 PPG overall (14th NCAA).

While Ingram did put up an 8-point dud at Louisville Saturday, it was his first single-digit scoring output this season since November 29th. The 10 turnovers from the lanky freshman, however, are definitely cause for concern, as while Louisville has some of the best pressure defense in the nation, Florida State does have some quick hands (7.3 SPG, 48th NCAA).

Allen was brilliant against Louisville, even in defeat, as he ended up fouling out with 29 points (5-8 from three). While defenses can take Ingram out of a game, Allen has proven to be a consistent catalyst for Duke’s offense with his fearless drives and ability to get points at the charity stripe when all else is failing (7 FT/game).

Duke should welcome the return of the aforementioned Jones and Thornton to lessen their depth issues, and Duke’s Achilles heel in clearing the glass won’t be tested by Florida State’s frontcourt. With the Seminoles’ backcourt struggling recently and the Blue Devils focused after four days to recover from the loss at Louisville, Coach Krzyzewski shouldn’t have issues getting his Blue Devils back in the winning column on Thursday night.


Oklahoma City -6, Total: 221

The Pelicans will be looking to get back into the win column with a home win over the Thunder on Thursday.

Oklahoma City most recently traveled to Dallas and came away with a 116-103 victory as a 5.5-point favorite. The Thunder have now won-and-covered in three of their past five games, but they did lose two straight before beating the Mavericks. The Thunder shot less than 44% from the field in each of those losses and better than 48% in each of the three wins. It’s important that the team continues to take good shoots moving forward.

The Pelicans are coming off of a 109-89 loss as five-point road underdogs against the Wizards on Tuesday. New Orleans turned the ball over 16 times in that game and will need to be a lot more careful against Oklahoma City on Thursday.

The Thunder have dominated the Pelicans in their two meetings this season. Oklahoma City won the first game 110-103 as a 12.5-point home favorite on Nov. 18, 2015, and then won 121-95 as a 12-point home favorite on Feb. 11, 2016. The Thunder are, however, just 5-4 SU and 4-5 ATS when facing the Pelicans over the past three seasons.

The Pelicans come into this game a miserable 4-14 ATS when revenging a road loss this season. Fortunately for them, they do get to face an Oklahoma City team that is just 2-11 ATS in road games after playing five straight games as a favorite this season.

The Thunder are coming off of a solid win in Dallas and both PG Russell Westbrook (24.0 PPG, 10.2 APG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 SPG) and SF Kevin Durant (27.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG) played well in that one. Westbrook finished the game with 24 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds in 36 minutes of action. Durant, meanwhile, had 24 points, eight boards six assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes. Both players are going to really need to play well against the Pelicans on Thursday. Westbrook has the size and speed to make things very tough on Jrue Holiday and Durant should be able to take advantage of a Pelicans team that is very weak at the small forward position.

Other guys to keep an eye on in this one are PF Serge Ibaka (12.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.1 BPG) and C Enes Kanter (11.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG). The last time these teams met, Ibaka and Kanter combined for 29 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots. Oklahoma City will need some solid play inside and it’s up to those guys to provide it.

The Pelicans have played a lot better since the break, but they are coming off of a bad loss against the Wizards and will be looking to get back on track against the Thunder on Thursday.

One guy that must play better than he did in Washington is PF Anthony Davis (24.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG). Davis followed up his 59-point, 20-rebound performance with a dud against the Wizards. He had just nine points on 3-for-9 shooting in that game and will need to be a lot better moving forward. He scored 23 points in 31 minutes the last time he faced OKC, but he did grab just three boards in that game. His team needs him to be better on the glass on Thursday or it will be tough for the Pelicans to win.

PG Jrue Holiday (15.4 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG) is also going to need to be on top of his game in this one. Holiday has been playing extremely well for the Pelicans lately, averaging 21.6 PPG and 8.6 APG over the past five contests. If he can keep it up and hold his own in his matchup with Russell Westbrook then New Orleans has a real shot to pull off this home win.

PF Ryan Anderson (16.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG) can also help by knocking down some outside shots. He is shooting just 27.3% from the outside over the past five games and he will need to break out of his slump on Thursday. His floor spacing could be huge in this one, as it would open up more space for Davis to operate around the paint.


San Antonio -3.5, Total:192.5

The Spurs will be going for their fourth straight victory when they take on the Jazz in Utah on Thursday.

San Antonio is coming off of a 108-92 victory over the Kings in Sacramento on Wednesday night. The Spurs were an eight-point road favorite in that game and have now won three straight games SU and nine of their past 10 as well. One thing worth noting in this one is that the team has shot over 50% from the field in three straight contests. That number will be tough to reach against the Jazz on Thursday. Utah has held its opponents to 44% or worse from the field in each of its past three games.

The Jazz have won two of those three contests and will be hoping to make a statement against the Spurs in this one. Utah should have a good chance to do it as well. The Jazz have lost both games they’ve played against the Spurs this season by an average of 31.0 PPG, but those games were played in San Antonio. Utah is actually 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS when hosting the Spurs in this head-to-head series over the past three seasons. The Jazz also happen to be an impressive 17-4 ATS after failing to cover the spread in four of their past five games in that span.

The Spurs are coming off of a solid victory over the Kings on Wednesday night and PG Tony Parker (12.7 PPG, 5.1 APG) was a huge reason the team was able to win that one. Parker was excellent in that game, finishing with 23 points and six assists on 11-for-17 shooting from the field. He should be able to play another good game on Thursday, as the Jazz are not very strong at the point guard position. He scored 18 points and dished out five assists in just 21 minutes the last time he faced this team and should be in for an even better outing this time around.

SF Kawhi Leonard (20.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG) was a major boost for his team against the Kings on Wednesday, finishing with 18 points, eight boards and four steals in 28 minutes of action. He’ll need to be locked in defensively in this one, as he can’t afford to let Gordon Hayward get too comfortable. If he can shut Hayward down then it’ll be tough for the Jazz to score enough points to win this one.

PF LaMarcus Aldridge (16.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG) had just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting against Sacramento last game. The Spurs need him to turn it around and put forth a good effort on Thursday.

The Jazz have flown under the radar all season, but they will be looking to open some eyes with a victory over the Spurs in this game. One guy that will need to find his game in this one is SF Gordon Hayward (20.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.2 SPG). Hayward had one of the most impressive games of the NBA season in a win over Houston on Tuesday, scoring 28 points on just seven shots. He was 6-for-7 from the field and went 13-for-15 from the line in that one. It won’t be as easy on Thursday, though, as Kawhi Leonard is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. If Hayward can’t get it going then his team will be in trouble.

PF Derrick Favors (16.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.4 BPG) could give Utah a big lift in this one. He’s averaging 20.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.8 BPG over the past five games and has a big matchup with LaMarcus Aldridge in this game. If he can outplay Aldridge then it would be big for the Jazz. It’s very possible too, as Favors is very athletic and plays physical around the rim.

- Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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