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NBA Thursday best bets: Back both New York squads

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

There are 18 teams playing Thursday night, so let's get right to the best bets for a loaded slate.

Nets team total: Over 116.5 points

The Nets average 115.3 points per game, good for 11th best in the league. They've won three straight and are beginning to make a push toward a top-eight seed in the East.

They don't have any superstars, but, between Mikal Bridges, Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonnie Walker, and others, they have enough offensive firepower to post a top-10 offense.

The Hornets, meanwhile, have the NBA's second-worst defense and are traveling to the Barclays Center on Thursday night.

Brooklyn is due for a scoring explosion.

Odds: -115 (playable to -130)

Knicks team total: Over 115.5 points

This bet follows identical logic. It's more about the opponent than it is the Knicks.

New York's hosting the Pistons, who have the league's eighth-worst defense.

After a bumpy start offensively, the Knicks are playing exceptionally, particularly against weaker opponents.

They are averaging 120 points per game in their last five contests against teams with a bottom-10 defense. Detroit's not only bad, but broken and frustrated amid a 15-game losing streak.

Expect a beatdown in the Big Apple.

Odds: -125 (playable to -140)

Damian Lillard: Over 38.5 PRA

Damian Lillard's finally settling into his new role with the Bucks and showing everyone why Milwaukee jumped to title favorites following his arrival.

The Bucks have won eight of their last nine, and Lillard has three straight outings with over 30 points. While his scoring and efficiency appear to have returned, he's also filling the stat sheet.

He's combined for at least 39 points, rebounds, and assists in four of his last six games.

The Bulls are one of the league's worst defensive teams, so Lillard should be able to create for himself and his teammates. The only potential problem is if the Bucks dominate the Bulls and Lillard plays fewer minutes than usual.

Odds: -120

Obi Toppin: Under 11.5 points

Obi Toppin's having a career year in a new role with the Pacers. He's averaging 11.8 points per game, and his shots are almost exclusively coming at the rim or off catch-and-shoot threes.

The overwhelming majority of Toppin's points come in transition. The Heat, however, have the sixth-best transition defense.

It'll be difficult for Toppin to reach 12 points when the Heat take away what he does best.

Odds: -125 (playable to -140)

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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