NBA betting: Five picks for Thursday

Terry Rozier stands to benefit from LaMelo Ball's extended absence and should be a target for player props Thursday night. Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Contrary to what can often be a limited Thursday night in the NBA, this week we get a nine-game slate rife with avenues and angles to pursue for props, totals, and spreads.

The night includes some influential injuries, such as the absences of LaMelo Ball and Tyler Herro, with rising star Anthony Edwards listed as doubtful. This means the likes of Terry Rozier, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Karl-Anthony Towns (who is due for a massive usage spike without Edwards) all become intriguing plays.

With a lens on finding the sharpest angles ahead of Thursday night's schedule, let's dig into the matchups and find some opportunities to win.

McCormick's favorite bets for Thursday night

Darius Garland over 29,5 points, rebounds, assists; Donovan Mitchell over 4.5 assists

The Cleveland Cavaliers host the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday evening. This play stands out given Garland's potential to thrive against a Portland defense that lacks stoppers at the point of attack. The Trail Blazers have yielded the eighth-most DraftKings points per game to point guards this season. Their soft backcourt defense and the consolidation of creation touches to Cleveland's star backcourt also plays into Mitchell's assist prop.

Saddiq Bey over 6.5 rebounds

Bey has been cleaning the glass efficiently since Jalen Johnson went down with a wrist injury, collecting nearly 72% of his rebounding opportunities over the past four games. Bey has at least seven rebounds in four of his past six games and has averaged nearly six boards (all while playing with Johnson active). He faces a San Antonio Spurs team that ranks 26th in rebounding percentage.

Terry Rozier over 2.5 3-pointers made

The Charlotte Hornets won't have Ball in the lineup for several weeks because of an ankle injury. Ball ranks ninth in the league in usage rate (a measure of offensive possessions consumed) while lofting nearly nine 3-pointers per game (13th in the NBA). Such rich opportunity rates should filter into Rozier's profile, especially facing a Nets team surrendering over four 3-pointers made per game to opposing point guards. Rozier's shooting volume has dipped this year, but it's safe to call this an outlier given he's averaged at least eight attempts per game from beyond the arc over the past three seasons for Charlotte.

LA Clippers (+5.5) over Golden State Warriors

The Clippers played last night, so the team's injury report won't be submitted until later in the day. Even with this element of mystery priced in, we do have some actionable information for this contest. Both Gary Payton II and Chris Paul are ruled out for Thursday night because of respective injuries. Paul's absence could have real impact on the competitiveness of this California-centric contest. The Warriors are appreciably worse on both offense and defense (by a measure of five points per 100 possessions) with Paul out of the lineup. He carries Golden State's second unit offensively, while Payton is a top perimeter defender. It's also worth noting that Stephen Curry has seen his scoring volume and efficiency dip with Paul off the court.

There is also momentum to consider; the Clippers just delivered one of their most complete games of the James Harden era in downing the Kings on Wednesday. Even if the Clippers do rest some key names, the elements for a tight game are present.

Tonight's lines and BPI predictions

Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics, Odds by ESPN BET

Portland Trail Blazers at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

Records (Against the Spread)
Blazers: 5-12 (8-9-0)
Cavaliers: 10-8 (7-11-0)

Line: Cavaliers (-11.5) Total: 218.5
Money Line: Blazers (+425), Cavaliers (-550)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers by 11.5, straight up 85.7%, 219.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Blazers: Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee); Anfernee Simons, (OUT - Thumb); Ish Wainright, (OUT - Knee)
Cavaliers: Ricky Rubio, (OUT - Personal); Dean Wade, (OUT - Ankle); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)

Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. Barclays Center, New York

Records (Against the Spread)

Hornets: 5-11 (6-10-0)
Nets: 9-8 (13-3-1)

Line: Nets (-8.5) Total: 224.5
Money Line: Hornets (+250), Nets (-300)
BPI Projection: Nets by 12.2, straight up 86.6%, 226.5 total points.

Injury Report:
Hornets: Brandon Miller, (GTD - Ankle); Frank Ntilikina, (OUT - Lower Leg); Nick Richards, (OUT - Concussion); Cody Martin, (OUT - Knee); LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle)
Nets: Cam Thomas, (GTD - Ankle); Dennis Smith Jr., (GTD - Back); Ben Simmons, (OUT - Back); Noah Clowney, (OUT - Shoulder)

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. Kaseya Center, Miami

Records (Against the Spread)
Pacers: 9-7 (9-7-0)
Heat: 10-8 (8-10-0)

Line: Heat (-1.5) Total: 238.5
Money Line: Pacers (+105), Heat (-125)
BPI Projection: Heat by 1.2, straight up 54.1%, 236.6 total points.

Injury Report:
Pacers: Isaiah Jackson, (GTD - Illness); T.J. McConnell, (GTD - Hamstring); Jalen Smith, (OUT - Heel)
Heat: Dru Smith, (OUT - Knee); Bam Adebayo, (GTD - Hip); Duncan Robinson, (GTD - Thumb); Haywood Highsmith, (GTD - Back); Jimmy Butler, (GTD - Ankle); Tyler Herro, (OUT - Ankle); R.J. Hampton, (OUT - Knee)

Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

Records (Against the Spread)
Pistons: 2-16 (7-11-0)
Knicks: 10-7 (10-6-1)

Line: Knicks (-13.5) Total: 218.5
Money Line: Pistons (+700), Knicks (-1000)
BPI Projection: Knicks by 13, straight up 88.1%, 225.6 total points.

Injury Report:
Pistons: Monte Morris, (OUT - Quadriceps); Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD - Calf); Joe Harris, (GTD - Shoulder)
Knicks: Ryan Arcidiacono, (GTD - Ankle)

Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. United Center, Chicago

Records (Against the Spread)
Bucks: 13-5 (7-11-0)
Bulls: 5-14 (5-13-1)

Line: Bucks (-9.5) Total: 228.5
Money Line: Bucks (-350), Bulls (+280)
BPI Projection: Bucks by 6.6, straight up 72.0%, 235.7 total points.

Injury Report:
Bucks: Jae Crowder, (OUT - Groin); Pat Connaughton, (OUT - Ankle)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Alex Caruso, (GTD - Toe); DeMar DeRozan, (GTD - Ankle); Zach LaVine, (GTD - Foot)

Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. Target Center, Minneapolis

Records (Against the Spread)

Jazz: 6-12 (9-9-0)
Timberwolves: 13-4 (9-5-3)

Line: Timberwolves (-10.5) Total: 221.5
Money Line: Jazz (+400), Timberwolves (-525)
BPI Projection: Timberwolves by 10.9, straight up 82.7%, 233.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Jazz: Kris Dunn, (GTD - Personal); Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Hamstring)
Timberwolves: Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles); Anthony Edwards, (GTD - Hip); Jaden McDaniels, (OUT - Ankle); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT - Knee)

Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder
8 p.m. Paycom Center, Oklahoma City

Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 11-8 (8-11-0)
Thunder: 11-6 (12-4-1)

Line: Thunder (-5.5) Total: 233.5
Money Line: Lakers (+180), Thunder (-210)
BPI Projection: Thunder by 6.5, straight up 71.1%, 237.6 total points.

Injury Report:
Lakers: Jarred Vanderbilt, (GTD - Heel); Jaxson Hayes, (GTD - Elbow); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee); Rui Hachimura, (OUT - Nose)
Thunder: None reported

Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m. Frost Bank Center, San Antonio

Records (Against the Spread)
Hawks: 8-9 (5-12-0)
Spurs: 3-14 (5-11-1)

Line: Hawks (-7.5) Total: 247.5
Money Line: Hawks (-300), Spurs (+250)
BPI Projection: Hawks by 9.2, straight up 78.4%, 243.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, (OUT - Thumb); Mouhamed Gueye, (OUT - Back); Jalen Johnson, (OUT - Wrist)
Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, (GTD - Knee); Victor Wembanyama, (GTD - Hip)

LA Clippers at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. Chase Center, San Francisco

Records (Against the Spread)
Clippers: 8-9 (7-10-0)
Warriors: 8-10 (6-11-1)

Line: Warriors (-4.5) Total: 227.5
Money Line: Clippers (+160), Warriors (-190)
BPI Projection: Warriors by 2.5, straight up 58.9%, 229.0 total points.

Injury Report:
Clippers: Mason Plumlee, (OUT - Knee); Brandon Boston Jr., (GTD - Quadriceps); Norman Powell, (GTD - Leg)
Warriors: Gary Payton II, (OUT - Calf); Chris Paul, (OUT - Lower Leg); Usman Garuba, (OUT - Finger)