NBA weekend betting preview: Jazz will dispatch shorthanded Lakers
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We nailed both of our NBA picks against the spread for a modest Thursday slate, and we love the value heading into a packed weekend schedule. Here are our favorite plays over the next three days.

Thunder @ Pistons (-3.5, 216)
April 16, 7 p.m. ET

Sometimes a team playing poorly must be faded until something clicks. That's the case with the Thunder, who have now lost 10 of their last 12 games ATS after Wednesday's 38-point loss to the Warriors.

Somehow, it was only Oklahoma City's second-worst loss in that 12-game span; the team has been outscored by 21.3 points per game over its woeful stretch. The Pistons are hardly juggernauts, but they're coming off two impressive ATS wins against the Clippers and are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against teams below .500.

Pick: Pistons -3.5

Magic @ Raptors (-2.5, 212)
April 16, 7:30 p.m.

How are these teams going to score? One has gutted its roster of all offensive creators; the other has fallen victim to a lengthy injury report that includes most of its primary scorers.

Neither squad has been impressive offensively since the trade deadline - the Magic rank 28th in offense rating (104.2) since March 25, while the Raptors rank 20th (110.7) and are scoring almost two points fewer per game since dealing away Norman Powell.

Toronto will also be without Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and likely Gary Trent for Friday's affair, while the already thin Magic will be missing Michael Carter-Williams, too. First to 100 wins?

Pick: Under 212

Jazz @ Lakers (N/A)
April 17, 4:30 p.m.

The Jazz don't mess around when it comes to matchups with bad teams. They're 9-5 ATS with a 13-1 record straight up as double-digit favorites this year, winning by an average of 19.1 points in those contests.

This game may not ultimately touch double digits, but it probably should while the Lakers are still without Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and potentially three of their key big men, who are all day-to-day. That won't fly against Rudy Gobert and Co.

Pick: Jazz (TBD)

Trail Blazers @ Hornets (N/A)
April 18, 7 p.m.

You'd be forgiven for thinking the Trail Blazers have fallen into a bit of a slump. After all, they've lost five of their last seven games and covered just two during that stretch.

Take a look at the competition, though: Portland lost those games to the Bucks, Clippers, Jazz, Heat, and Celtics while beating the Thunder and Pistons by a combined 63 points. The Trail Blazers have covered four of their last five as favorites and are 18-12 ATS this year against teams with losing records.

Pick: Trail Blazers (TBD)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

NBA weekend betting preview: Jazz will dispatch shorthanded Lakers
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