NBA Weekend Betting Preview: Post-Trade Weekend Worth Playing

It happened! The rumored trade between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers came to fruition with the swapping of teams of James Harden and Ben Simmons (among others).

Post-trade drama aside, it’s not been a great weekend for NBA action, but the Nets and the aforementioned 76ers are both on the court Saturday. Will the restructuring improve their chances of winning an NBA title? It’s probably too early to tell, but let’s take a look at some of the weekend’s best games.

Friday February 11

Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET

Kudos to Boston for making the worst trade on deadline day. They dealt PJ Dozier and Bol Bol, two players out for the season, to the Magic for a second-round pick in a deal to cut some salaries. Ironically, these players were acquired from Denver about a week ago in a move that brought the Bryn Forbes Nuggets back from San Antonio. All that aside, we’re getting some star power in this game with Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of the Celtics. The latter lead Boston on their best run of the season, six straight wins and eight of their last nine. Jokic can keep the Nuggets in any contest, but Denver is just one game over .500 on the road this season. Two stars usually outweigh one, so stick with the hot team.

Take Boston

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET

Minnesota is a legitimate playoff threat this season. Maybe not to advance, but to qualify for the first time since the 2017-2018 season. Chicago actually has a playoff drought longer than that, but the Bulls look strong to break that this season, too, if they can get healthy. The strength of these two teams is attack, so we should have an entertaining game on Friday night. Minnesota is sixth in scoring and Chicago is seventh. In DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards, we’ll see four of the league’s top 19 scorers, in a game that’s likely the first to earn 125 points. Minnesota doesn’t play much defense and the Bulls can’t with all of their best defensive players on the shelf.

Take Minnesota (Wolves are a great live underdog, look for at least +3)

Saturday February 12

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers
7:30 p.m. ET

Sorry, Cavs fans, but this has to be more about the 76ers. The trade brought them Harden and forward Paul Milsap. To my knowledge, Harden is going to play in this game, taking the place in the starting lineup once occupied by Seth Curry. (Philly plays Friday, so maybe Harden will play his first game then.) Cleveland struck a deal earlier in the week by acquiring winger Caris LeVert, who came off the bench in a win. This is the first time these teams have seen each other this season, and although Philly has a higher cap, I like this place for the Cavs. They’re a strong defensive team and have guys who can actually stand a chance of keeping Joel Embiid. They are also more determined in how they want to play with LeVert without changing things too much. Integrating Harden effectively is going to take time for Philly.

Take Cleveland

Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat
8 p.m. ET

The other side of the Harden trade was Simmons landing in Brooklyn with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. Right now, it’s unclear what Simmons is, or even if he’s fit to play right away. In Curry and Drummond, however, the Nets are getting immediate lineup upgrades that have been missing Kevin Durant and Joe Harris — and getting slaughtered. I actually like that part of the trade better. Not knowing the status of all new additions for Saturday, it’s still easy to clear Brooklyn against the toughest team in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat. Brooklyn has been a disaster lately, and any benefits of this deal will be long term. Miami isn’t a team you want to play when you’re trying to figure things out.

Take Miami

Sunday February 13

Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
2 p.m. ET

The Hawks are still looking to find that spark that took them to the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago. They made their deal early, sending Cam Reddish to the Knicks. Consistency is the challenge for Atlanta. One night they play very well and beat the Suns, the best team in the league, but the Hawks still have two games under the .500 mark. They might have another run in them, but Boston is in the midst of its best run of the year right now. Their strength on the wing with Tatum and Brown should be enough to secure a home win over the Hawks. Atlanta is just 10-16 on the road, and that doesn’t look like a place for a surprise.

Take Boston

Sports Grp1

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