NBA Week Eighteen Betting Tips
As much as we enjoyed the All-Star break allowing us to focus on the uk casino side of 21.co.uk, we're overjoyed at the return of our 21.co.uk NBA betting tips. Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic are up first, with both teams looking to hold onto their respective playoff berths. Then there’s Milwaukee Bucks, who are dominating this campaign, and they make the journey to last year’s champions Toronto Raptors. Elsewhere, Utah Jazz entertain Boston Celtics, still looking to close down Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers, who clash in Florida on Saturday morning. Before that though, top meets bottom in the Western Conference, as LA Lakers travel to Golden State Warriors in what appears to be a huge mismatch. Read on for our previews and sports betting tips.
Orlando Magic @ Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday 25th February, 00:30 GMT
Both Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic look fairly certain of securing a playoff berth, but now their focus will be on securing the best finish possible for the easier draw. The Nets have had a lot to contend with this season, having lost Kevin Durant before the first tip-off, and now without Kyrie Irving due to surgery on his injured shoulder, but the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert have really stepped up when required. To that end, the Nets have now won eight of twelve games since they lost five in a row in mid-January, and if they can have a solid week that also features three road games at Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat, they could even be on course to take their win percentage above 50%.
Orlando Magic are on a different trajectory to the Nets, having won just four of their most recent fifteen games, but in spite of that slump they still seem to be too far ahead of the Wizards. However, knowing that in all likelihood an 8th placed finish would see them come up against the formidable Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference playoffs, they must arrest their nosedive in order to have a chance of closing down the Nets. Games away from the Amway Center have hardly been rewarding for the Magic though, and with seven of their next nine coming away from home, they will be understandably nervous. The only saving grace is that they beat the Nets 101-89 earlier this campaign, but this is likely to be a lot more difficult.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors, Wednesday 26th February, 01:00 GMT
This clash at the Scotiabank Arena could conceivably be Toronto Raptors’ last meaningful opportunity to close down the Bucks at the top of the Eastern Conference, although even a win would see that particular feat remain unlikely. The reigning NBA champions have improved upon last year’s regular season performance, recently going fifteen games unbeaten, which is a record for the Raptors as a franchise. The likes of Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Fred VanFleet, Kyle Lowry, and Norman Powell have been crucial to their recent dominant displays, and they’ll be keen to not only prove that they fear no-one in this league, but also to restore the bragging rights having lost 115-105 in Wisconsin back in November.
Milwaukee Bucks have developed a winning formula this season, as they boast the best defense in the league, and statistically the third-best offense as well. Giannis Antetokounmpo is rightfully given most of the plaudits, but the sterling contributions of Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe on the front end, and Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez at the back can not be overlooked, as the Bucks frequently display the bullishness required to make it to the NBA Finals. The concern for them is that they were in a similar boat last year, and were ultimately derailed in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Raptors, despite having a 2-0 series lead. It’s going to be an interesting contest whatever happens, but it’s a tough one to call for online betting fans.
Boston Celtics @ Utah Jazz, Thursday 27th February, 03:00 GMT
Utah Jazz have looked like a solid team for much of this season, and 36 wins from 56 games sees them looking likely to secure a playoff spot of some description. The exact way in which the Western Conference top eight will be assembled is likely to go right down to the wire, with no-one other than LA Lakers being quite assured of a top four place. The Jazz will need to put successive home losses to San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets firmly behind them though, as they welcome Phoenix Suns before this fixture, and Washington Wizards later in the week. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have looked the most efficient for them in February so far, and the team will be further buoyed by the fact they’ve beaten the Celtics twice already this season.
Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter has been wondering aloud whether he or fellow former Jazz player and current teammate Gordon Hayward will receive the more raucous reception from the crowd at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. It’s a difficult one to call, as both are seen as villains, and both are likely to post decent points tallies, but the main focus of each will be overcoming the hostility to secure a win for their team. A narrow two-point loss at LA Lakers in their last game was only the Celtics’ second in eleven outings, and if they can cap of their run of four games on the road with wins at Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz, they’ll remain in serious contention to finish in the top two of the Eastern Conference.
LA Lakers @ Golden State Warriors, Friday 28th February, 03:30 GMT
If ever you needed a reminder of how quickly the fortunes of an NBA franchise could change, these two are a great example. Over the past five years, Golden State Warriors have reached the NBA Finals on five occasions, winning three of them, and they looked likely to continue adding to their dynasty this year too. Those early indications couldn’t have been further from the truth, as they now find themselves as the worst team in the league, with just twelve victories from 57 games. Many will point to the injury sustained by Steph Curry as the catalyst for the downturn, but the problems predated that, and they look set to continue as the Warriors have now lost each of their past six, and haven’t shown much to indicate the slump will stop any time soon.
LA Lakers on the other hand have gone from merely making up the numbers to being one of the most intimidating sides in the NBA. Having not made the playoffs since a 7th placed finish in 2013 that ultimately saw them dumped out 4-0 by San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers look set to finish the campaign at the summit of the Western Conference, having lost just twelve games so far. They’ve managed to overcome some off-court trauma to have won seven of eight during February so far, including each of the last five, and the Anthony Davis-LeBron James juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down. The Warriors should be easy fodder, especially if they can make it six wins in a row by beating New Orleans Pelicans ahead of this contest.
Denver Nuggets @ LA Clippers, Saturday 29th February, 03:30 GMT
LA Clippers look to be on course for their most successful regular season since 2015, although four losses in their past five games will be something of a concern. Those results leave them on the worst streak in the Western Conference beyond the bottom two of Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves, and has caused the eyes of Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz to light up in anticipation as they now have a chance of closing them down. Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams have tried their best to lift the Clippers, but they’ve come up short against sides who they should be beating on paper. Paul George’s frequent injuries haven’t helped things, but they will be keen to return to winning ways at the Staples Center, where they’ve generally had a lot of success this year.
Denver Nuggets have built themselves on a system that relies on contributions from all of their players, and for the most part it’s working. Attempting to prove that last season’s successes weren’t just a flash in the pan, they’ve set themselves up as a side that plays risky offense against the bigger teams, and sensible possession tactics against “lesser” opposition. Those strategies have lifted them up to 2nd place in the Western Conference, and if they can build momentum as they overcome fatigue and injuries, they’ll be guaranteed a top four berth. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic continue to dominate the scoring stats, and if they can have a decent showing against Detroit Pistons, they’ll be full of confidence travelling to California.
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If you’re looking for more previews and analysis ahead of the biggest sporting events, you could always check out the horse racing betting tips we offer, especially with Cheltenham just around the corner. Failing that, 21.co.uk’s Premier League betting tips may be more up your alley, as each week two of our expert go head to head. If you’re looking for something a little different though, we have some outstanding new casino games that include both popular live casino options and the biggest slots such as Genie Jackpots. For further information about what we have in our collection, consult our online casino blog.
*All odds from the 21.co.uk online sportsbook are correct at the time of writing. Players must be 18+. begambleaware.org.