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Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – March 25th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

With the end of the NBA’s regular season now that far off, we are going to see some unusual lineups at times with those teams out of playoff contention. For example, on Saturday the Portland Trail Blazers started five rookies in a loss to Denver, only the second time that has happened since starters were first tracked on NBA box scores more than 50 years ago. Portland is in full tank mode. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups.

Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week (March 25th, 2024)

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets

  • When: Monday, March 25th, 2024, 8:00 PM ET
  • Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
  • TV: Space City Home Network, ROOT SPORT
  • Radio: Rip City Radio 620 AM (Trail Blazers) // SportsTalk 790 AM (Rockets)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: Trail Blazers (+12) // Warriors (-12)

The Blazers on Saturday started Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft, alongside fellow rookies Duop Reath, Kris Murray, Toumani Camara and Rayan Rupert against the reigning NBA champions. It was the first time an NBA team sent out five rookies to start since the Golden State Warriors did so on April 26, 2012.

Starters were first tracked on NBA box scores during the 1971-72 campaign. Henderson played one of his better games of the season with 22 points, six assists and four rebounds. Camara is one of only two rookies this season who have recorded at least 350 points, 300 rebounds, 60 steals and 35 3PM (Victor Wembanyama).

Portland has the second-worst record in the Western Conference and is missing key players Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton, Shaedon Sharpe and Malcolm Brogdon because of injuries. The Blazers are tied for fourth in the NBA this season in deflections per game (15.5), fourth in total deflections (1,097) and fifth in opponent turnovers per game (14.6).

Houston is making a late push for one of the West’s two play-in tournament spots as the Rockets won their eighth game in a row Saturday, 147-119 over Utah. Jalen Green blew up for 41 points. He’s surpassed the 25-point mark in each of his last five outings while averaging 29.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game during the team’s winning streak.

Fred VanVleet had 34 points and made 10 three-pointers, tying the franchise record previously co-held by James Harden and Chandler Parsons. The 34 points were a season high for Van Vleet. During Houston’s ongoing eight-game winning run, VanVleet is averaging 18.9 points, 10.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

Houston is outscoring foes by an average of 14.6 ppg (125.1 ppg to 110.5) during this run. The Rockets are 8-2 over their past 10 home games after going 1-3 the 4 games prior. Houston is 30-5 overall when leading after three quarters of play this season (15-12 in 2022-23) and 5-30 when tied or trailing (7-48 in 2022-23). The Rockets are 9-10 in games decided by five or fewer points.

Houston and Portland are tied 1-1 this season and this is the last meeting. They last played on March 8 in Portland and the Rockets won 123-107 – the first game of this eight-game winning streak. Green had 27 points and Van Vleet had 18 points and 10 assists. Dalano Banton had a career-high 30 points for the Trail Blazers, who were very short-handed that night as well. Since sweeping Portland 4-0 in 2017-18, Houston hasn’t won any of the past five season series.

NBA Betting Pick: Rockets

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks

  • When: Tuesday, March 26th, 2024, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
  • TV: TNT
  • Radio: ESPN LA 710 AM (Lakers) // WTMJ 620 AM (Bucks)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: TBA

The first game of a TNT doubleheader Tuesday is this potential NBA Finals preview, although it would be a pretty big upset if the Lakers actually come out of the Western Conference. They aren’t even sure things to make the play-in tournament, but it would be an upset if not. Milwaukee has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and will not catch Boston for first but probably not slip to third.

This will be the 146th overall meeting between the two teams. The Lakers hold an 85-60 all-time series advantage. In Milwaukee, Los Angeles has a record of 30-41 in the series.

They met on March 8 in Los Angeles and the Lakers won 123-122. D’Angelo Russell scored 21 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and hit a go-ahead jumper with 5.9 seconds to play. Spencer Dinwiddie blocked Damian Lillard’s step-back jumper right before the buzzer to preserve a stirring win for the Lakers, while LeBron James sat out to rest his sore left ankle. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for Milwaukee. Lillard scored eight of his 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Last week, Russell became the Lakers’ all-time franchise leader for most 3-point field goals in a season. Russell passed Nick Van Exel, whose record of 183 3-pointers had stood strong since the 1994-95 season. Russell also holds the record for the most made 3-pointers in a season in Brooklyn Nets history, when he made 234 3-pointers in the 2018-19 season.

LeBron now has 550 career games having scored at least 30 points, 12 behind Michael Jordan’s league record. James passed Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most 30-point games in NBA history with a 33-point performance on Dec. 13 vs. Boston. James has scored at least 10 points in an NBA-record 1,213 games. James’ streak – which began on Jan. 6, 2007 – has far eclipsed Michael Jordan’s previous NBA record of 866 consecutive 10-point performances from 1986-2001. James has finished with 10+ points in all but eight regular season contests in his career.

Since taking over as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks mid-season, Doc Rivers has done a lot of good things. He’s hammered home the importance of the two-man game between Antetokounmpo and Lillard, has gotten the team playing much better defense, and has helped get Bobby Portis back on the right track following a struggle-filled first portion of the season.

The Bucks are 15-0 this season and 10-0 under Rivers when holding an opponent under 110 points. Since Rivers took over on Jan. 29, Milwaukee is allowing 111.7 ppg, a huge improvement from under former coach Adrian Griffin (120.1 ppg).

NBA Betting Pick: Bucks

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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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