NBA February Preview
The battle to secure a place in the playoffs will heat up during an action-packed February for the best teams in the NBA. It may be the shortest month of the year, but the games will come in thick and fast. We have highlighted the most exciting clashes to look out for and provided betting trends and a futures update.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns
Tuesday, February 1, at Footprint Center
The Phoenix Suns will bid to extend their remarkable winning streak when they host a star-studded Brooklyn team in the desert on Tuesday night. The Suns have stormed to the top of the Western Conference standings after winning 10 games in a row, leaving them with the best record in the league. Devin Booker and Chris Paul are leading the charge, but the entire team was tremendous during January.
Yet they will need to be at their best to beat the Nets, who remain the clear favorites to win the NBA championship this year. Kevin Durant was enjoying another MVP-caliber season before he was injured, but he will miss another four to six weeks with an MCL sprain. James Harden continues to impress, but he is a doubt with a hamstring injury and a right hand strain. Kyrie Irving will be available for this game. He put up 32 points in the Nets’ 110-106 loss to the Warriors at the weekend, but he ultimately could not prevent the team slipping to a fourth straight defeat.
The Suns beat the Nets earlier this season, with Durant and Harden both on the court, so they will be confident of repeating the feat on Tuesday. Most sportsbooks make Phoenix the 7.5-point favorite for the game, but DraftKings has a tempting -110 on the Suns -7. If you like the Nets to cover, you can get -110 on Brooklyn +7.5 at FanDuel. The total points line has been set at 222.5, and it should be an entertaining affair.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls
Sunday, February 6, at United Center
The Chicago Bulls are just about clinging onto top spot in the Eastern Conference standings after losing six of their last 10 games. DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic have all been strong over the past week, ensuring that the Bulls have already exceeded their win total from last season
However, the Bulls are now just one win ahead of the 76ers, who have been on fire recently. The Sixers are on a five-game winning streak and they are 8-2 in their last 10. Ben Simmons continues to be conspicuous in his absence, but Joel Embiid is averaging 34 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists over his last 15 games. This game will be an interesting test of each team’s title credentials.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns
Thursday, February 10, at Footprint Center
A repeat of last year’s NBA Finals will take place in Phoenix this month. The Bucks got the better of the Suns in that series, but they have been inconsistent this season. They remain near the top of the standings in a wide open Easter Conference, but they are 5-5 in their last 10 and they have only gone 13-12 straight-up on the road this season.
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton halt the Phoenix juggernaut? Or can the Suns gain a small measure of revenge for last year’s defeat. It will be exciting to see how this one unfolds.
LA Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
Saturday, February 12, at Chase Center
The Lakers have slipped down to ninth in the standings after losing seven of their last 10 games. LeBron James is injured, and their short-term prospects look bleak. The schedule gets easier now, as they spend most of February in California, but they face some tricky opponents, including the Dubs on February 12.
It finished 121-114 to the Warriors when these teams met in LA back in October. The Dubs have now welcomed Klay Thompson back into the fold to play alongside Steph Curry, making Golden State a very dangerous prospect as we approach the business end of the season. The Warriors are currently on a long winning streak, and they should cement their status as contenders for the championship by taking the Lakers apart in this game.
NBA All-Star Game
Sunday, February 20, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Cleveland hosts this year’s All-Star Game on February 20. Trae Young, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named starters in the east, while Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic, LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins were named starters in the west.
Durant and LeBron are the captains for the second straight year. Durant is injured, but LeBron should recover from a knee issue in time to play. The NBA-All Star draft will take place on February 10. The first eight players drafted will be starters, while NBA head coaches will choose seven players from each conference.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Wednesday, February 24, at Target Center
Ja Morant continues to light up the season for the Memphis Grizzlies, who have nailed down third place in the Western Conference standings. They are one of just four teams in the league to rank in the top 10 on both ends of the floor, and it will be fascinating to see if they can maintain their high standards in February.
The Wolves are 25-25 straight-up for the season, and they need to discover greater levels of consistency in the months ahead. Anthony Edwards recently declared himself to be “unstoppable” and said the Wolves could beat anyone in the playoffs, so it will be fun to see how he fares against an elite team like Memphis.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
Friday, February 26, at Madison Square Garden
Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has averaged 23.6 points, 8.8 assists, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals in his last five games. Miami has a chance to pull away from the rest of the pack in February if Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry can stay healthy.
They face an interesting trip to Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks towards the end of the month. The Knicks have lost six of their last seven games and they now rank 29th offensively, and they remain a talented team, but Miami has won its last four games against them, and it should leave the Big Apple with another victory here.
- The Memphis Grizzlies now have a 34-19 ATS record this season, meaning they have covered the spread in 64.2% of their games. Just two other teams have covered more than 60% of the time: Oklahoma City Thunder (63.8%) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (62.5%).
- The Cavs have covered the point spread in the most emphatic fashion this season, averaging 5.4 points over the spread they have been assigned. That leaves them ahead of Golden State (+2.8) and Memphis (+2.7).
- The Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards have the joint worst ATS record of 19-29-1, meaning each team has covered just 39.6% of the time.
- The Portland Trail Blazers and LA Lakers have each averaged 3 points fewer than the point spread over the course of the season, the joint lowest mark in the league.
- The Miami Heat have covered the spread 76.5% of the time as an underdog, eclipsing the spread by 10.9 points on average. They have a 13-4-0 record as underdogs, which is the best in the league.
- The Toronto Raptors are the best team with no rest, as they have gone 6-2-0 ATS, covering 75% of the time, at an average of +7.3 points. Brooklyn and Houston are the worst, having gone 1-6-1, failing to cover by 9.7 points and 6.5 points respectively on average.
- Over has paid off in 32 of the Miami Heat’s 51 games this season, meaning it has landed 62.8% of the time. That is the highest in the league.
- At the other end of the spectrum, over/under is 17-32-2 for the Dallas Mavericks, meaning under has paid off 65.3% of the time.
Futures Betting Update
The Golden State Warriors remain the favorites to win the Western Conference, despite falling behind the Suns in the race for the No. 1 seed. They are on a six-game winning streak of their own, and they have the second best straight-up record in the NBA. The Splash Brothers have reunited, and they are expected to power the Dubs to a deep postseason run. Caesars Sportsbook has +240 on the Warriors to win the west, while the Suns are now +300. The Utaj Jazz are out at +550, and the Lakers are now +900 underdogs with PointsBet.
The Brooklyn Nets are +160 favorites with PointsBet to win the Eastern Conference, although some sportsbooks will only go to +130. The Nets need their star triumvirate to be healthy to justify those odds. The Bucks are priced at +330 with Caesars, while the Miami Heat are +600 and you can find +1100 on the 76ers.
Injury to Kevin Durant has blown the regular season MVP race wide open. Sixers star Joel Embiid is now the favorite, best priced at +240 with Caesars. Nikola Jokic is now the second favorite, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, while Stephen Curry has drifted out from +125 a month ago to +450 after his performance levels dipped. Yet Curry scored 40 points in a 122-108 win against the Rockets at the weekend – the sixth game in which he has scored at least 40 points this season – so you cannot write him off.