NBA Predictions and Best Bets – April 8, 2021

| April 8, 2021 7:26 am PDT

The NBA keeps trucking along on Thursday, as seven games hit the hardwood. It isn’t quite as exciting as normal, of course, as this schedule is absent some serious star power.

Already missing Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Thursday will also fire off with Giannis Antetokounmpo likely sidelined.

It should still be an advantageous spot for sports bettors, though. Before I dive into Thursday’s NBA picks and predictions, take a look at the schedule.

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat
  • Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers
  • Detroit Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings
  • Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz

This would have been an amazing schedule if everyone was healthy. Even though that’s not the case, bettors should still see some areas where they can find some value.

For the best bets, let’s break each game down and come away with a prediction.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat Predictions

  • Heat to beat Lakers
  • Predicted total: 210-215

This should be a fairly easy game to project. The Lakers haven’t been themselves without their top two players, as they’ve slid to the 5th seed in the west, and are just 4-6 over their last 10 games.

Miami is heating up, as they’ve won four of their last five. They host here, and their slow pace should establish control early.

I expect a low-scoring game and Miami to win here, but it’s pretty arguable the 204 total is a bit too low. 

Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions

  • Bulls to beat Raptors
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This is another game where one side is down several key bodies. Toronto wasn’t winning consistently even when at full strength, so bettors should be concerned that both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet aren’t available here.

Chicago is also a bit banged up, but they’re trending in a better direction with two straight wins. Nikola Vucevic is also finding his footing after going off in Chicago’s last game.

I love the Bulls here, and the total feels a bit low when you consider Chicago’s pace. Give me the Bulls and the Over.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions

  • Cavaliers to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 210-215

This should be another slow-moving game. Cleveland ranks just 24th in pace of play, and they’re missing some of their key big men in Larry Nance and Jarrett Allen.

Kevin Love is slowly ramping up his playing time, though, and Cleveland still has solid guard play to lean on. From a talent perspective, the Cavs are easier to get behind here.

OKC is finally starting to unravel, too. They’re at home, but they’re down a slew of bodies, and they’ve lost four straight. I like the Under as the priority bet here, but the Cavs also look good.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks Predictions

  • Mavericks to beat Bucks
  • Predicted total: 220-225

Normally I’d like the Bucks here, but they’re doing business without Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight.

Dallas could also rest Kristaps Porzingis, so it’s arguable things even out somewhat. Of course, the Mavs are on fire these days, as they’ve won seven of their last 10, and are now working their way up the Western Conference standings.

I favor Dallas here. They’ll still have Luka Doncic, they’re at home, and they’ve been trending in the right direction.

This game is priced as a pick’em as I write this, which gives me two thoughts; I’m taking Dallas now, but if the line thickens once Giannis is officially ruled out, the Bucks ATS would be pretty interesting.

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers Predictions

  • Suns to beat Clippers
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This could easily be a trap game for the Suns. They are riding off a high after taking out Utah, and their seven-game winning streak has to end eventually.

That said, the Suns feel like a team on a mission. They’re 9-1 over their last 10 games, they are now 1.5 games back from the league’s best record, and they boast a top-5 defense.

L.A. is 19-8 at home and they’re also quite the groove (8-2 over their last 10 games), and they’re also starting to get healthy.

You could go either way here, but betting against the Suns feels a bit silly.

The nice thing is they’re on the road, and BetOnline has them priced as a +5.5 underdog. I like them just fine as a tantalizing +185 underdog, but I don’t think I’ll be able to bypass that spread.

Detroit Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings Predictions

  • Kings to beat Pistons
  • Predicted total: 225-230

This game should have plenty of points. Sacramento is 11th in pace, they put up over 114 points per game, and they own the NBA’s worst defense.

That’s contributed to the Over hitting in 29 of their games this year.

That’s good news for Detroit, but the Pistons aren’t exactly ripe for an upset with Jerami Grant on the shelf.

Detroit could be a fine ATS play (Kings are just 5-7 ATS as home favorites), but I won’t be chasing the upset here. I would go Pistons against the spread as a nice secondary bet, but I’m smashing the Over.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz Predictions

  • Jazz to beat Blazers
  • Predicted total: 220-225

This is probably the second best game of the night, as the 30-20 Blazers take on the best team in The Association.

Utah will look to lick their wounds after losing to the Suns, but let’s keep in mind that this team is an insane 22-2 on their home floor.

The Jazz have also still gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, and lead the league with a nasty 9.4-point win differential. Utah is dominant, they’re tough to beat at home, and they’ll be itching for a win after just losing.

Portland does make for a fine ATS play, but I’d monitor their injury status before committing to that bet.

Best NBA Bets for Thursday, April 8th

  • Raptors (+4) -110
  • Cavaliers to Win (-160)
  • Mavericks to Win (-110)
  • Bucks vs. Mavericks Over 228.5 (-110)
  • Suns (+5.5) -110
  • Blazers (+6) -110
  • Pistons (+7)
  • Pistons vs. Kings Over 225.5 (-110)

There are just an insane amount of bets to like on this slate. You know it’s a good NBA betting slate when you love more bets than there are games.

Starting from the top, Toronto stands out as an intriguing ATS play. I like Chicago to get the win, but it should still be a good game. Chicago is just 9-8 against the spread as favorites, after all.

Cleveland is a fine favorite to back at -160, and this is the best price you’ll get for Dallas all day. I’d hop on those bets and not look back. I also love the Over for the Mavs game, as the Bucks play fast, and both teams are efficient offensively.

Phoenix is honestly a really nice upset play, but I’d rather just get the win ATS. The lines are just too thick to ignore for them, Portland, and Detroit.

That Pistons game should also be on fire, thanks to Sacramento’s pace and terrible defense.

I love all of these NBA picks, but that doesn’t mean you need to bet on them all. As always, incorporate your own research, track line movement, and go with the bets that make the most sense to you. 

If you need a little more help beyond my NBA predictions and picks, check out this page on how to bet on sports online.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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