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Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – March 18th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

Will the Philadelphia 76ers get back reigning league MVP Joel Embiid before the end of the regular season? Coach Nick Nurse said over the weekend that Embiid was reevaluated by doctors, and they are “happy with the progress” he is making following meniscus surgery on his left knee. Nurse said he’s confident the big man will make it back before the postseason. Here are two intriguing early-week matchups around the NBA.

Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week (March 18th, 2024)

New York Knicks vs. Golden State Warriors

  • When: Monday, March 18th, 2024, 10:00 PM ET
  • Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM (Knicks) // 95.7 The Game FM (Warriors)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: Knicks (+5) // Warriors (-5)

The Warriors got two-time MVP Steph Curry back from injury on Saturday, and he had 31 points in leading a 128-121 win at the LA Lakers. It was the 25th time this season he scored at least 30 points. Curry leads all players in 3-pointers made this season with 293. He is seven away from 300, which would be an NBA-record fifth time reaching the single-season milestone (second with one season each is Klay Thompson and James Harden). Curry is also one point shy of tying Robert Parish (23,334) for 30th on the NBA all-time career points scored list.

Jonathan Kuminga added 23 points. He shot 4-of-6 in the first quarter, including two corner 3-pointers, scoring 10 of the Warriors’ 30 points. Kuminga scored 20 points or more in four straight and five of his last six, except for a 19-point effort against the Bulls on March 7 (the game Curry was injured in).

Klay Thompson had 26 points, four rebounds and three assists. Thompson has been alternating between the starting lineup and the second unit in recent days, but he should stay as a bench option if Curry stays healthy, as Steve Kerr wants Thompson to provide a scoring punch off the bench. Thompson posted 25 or more points for a third consecutive game off the bench. He’s averaging 20.3 points per contest when deployed with the second unit this season.

The Warriors had not won at Crypto.com Arena/Staples Center since Nov. 28, 2021, a 105-90 win over the Clippers, and had lost the last three meetings against the Lakers in that building. Since January 30, the Warriors are tied with Boston for the most wins in the NBA (16). Golden State ranks first in rebounding (48.2 rpg), third in assists (30.3 apg), sixth in scoring (118.1 ppg), and tied fourth in 3-pointers made (14.3) during that span.

Golden State has allowed 112.5 points (14th in the league) and 45.9 opponent field goal percentage (tied seventh) since January 30; prior to that, they were allowing 119.0 points per game (22nd) and an opponent field goal percentage of 47.6 (17th). The Warriors have played in a league-leading 39 clutch games this season (score within five points with five minutes remaining in the game). The Dubs are 19-20 in those games. The single-season NBA record for clutch games is 57, held by the 2002-03 New York Knicks.

The Knicks are 2-0 on their West Coast road trip following a 98-91 win at Sacramento on Saturday. Jalen Brunson scored 42 points, becoming the fourth player in franchise history with 40 or more in consecutive games. Brunson had 45 points in Thursday’s win at Portland. He has seven 40-point games this season, when he was a first-time All-Star.

“You almost come to expect what Jalen did,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s every night and it’s big play after big play. Every time you need a big bucket, he comes up with it.”

Brunson is the first Knicks player to reach 40 in back-to-back games since Carmelo Anthony on Feb. 19 and 21, 2014. Hall of Famers Bernard King and Patrick Ewing are the other Knicks to do it. Brunson also registered his 11th 40+ point game as a Knick, which ranks fifth all time in franchise history. New York remains without the injured Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.

Golden State eyes the sweep as it beat the Knicks 110-99 at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 29. Curry had 31 points and 11 rebounds. The Warriors raced to a 14-0 lead and never trailed. New York missed its first nine shots. Brunson led with 27 points.

NBA Betting Pick: Warriors

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • When: Tuesday, March 12th, 2024, 9:00 PM ET
  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • TV: Bally Sports North, Altitude
  • Radio: Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM (Nuggets) // KFAN FM 100.3 (Timberwolves)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: TBA

Potential Western Conference Finals preview with the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder all vying for the best record in the West. Denver beat Minnesota in the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Wolves are still not whole, though, with former No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns out following knee surgery. He won’t even be re-evaluated for about three weeks.

With his 31 points in Saturday’s 119-100 Timberwolves victory over Utah, Anthony Edwards passed Kevin Love for first place in franchise history when it comes to the most games with 30-plus points scored in a single season with 26. Edwards is averaging 31.2 points per game since Towns went out injured. Without KAT on the floor, it removes any ambiguity of whose offensive possession it might be to run the show, and Edwards is being aggressive early and often as a result.

“He’s been special, honestly,” Mike Conley said. “He really has. Just seeing him develop as the season has gone on has been amazing. [Saturday], he made a bunch of plays that normally he wouldn’t make in the first part of the year. He’s continually working. Continually trying to do the right things on the off days, the practice days and when people aren’t watching, and that’s what I love about him – he’ll continue to work. Hopefully he keeps setting records.”

Edwards’ 57-career 20+ point halves are by far the most by any player in the 2020 NBA Draft class (Tyrese Maxey, 26). Since the 1997-98 season, only Towns has more 20+ point halves for the Timberwolves (82 halves). The Timberwolves have shot 50% or better from the field while holding opponents to 40% or worse from the field in 10 games this season. The Wolves are 10-0 this year when doing so.

Minnesota has seven games this season shooting north of the 50.0% mark from the field while holding their opponents to 40.0% or worse from the field and 30.0% or worse from three, most in the NBA with only the Oklahoma City Thunder (five games) as the only other team with at least five such games. The Wolves have held 21 opponents under 100 points and are 19-2 in those games. They have been stellar against the top teams in the NBA this season. Minnesota is third (.610) in winning percentage vs. teams that are currently .500 or better. The Wolves rank first (.452) in the NBA in opponents field goal percentage when facing teams that are currently .500 or better.

Denver is the first team in the NBA this season to have two separate five-game winning streaks on the road. The Nuggets have joined the Celtics and Clippers as the only NBA teams to win 20+ road games five times in the last six years.

Tuesday is the second of four meetings in the regular season between the clubs. On Nov. 1, the Wolves beat the Nuggets 110-89 in the Twin Cities. Edwards had 24 points and Towns 21 points and eight rebounds. Minnesota went 26 for 27 from the foul line and led from start to finish. Nikola Jokic had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. The Nuggets shot just 6-for-33 from deep.

NBA Betting Pick: Timberwolves

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2023-24 NBA season previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest basketball betting odds on our online Bitcoin sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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