NBA Predictions and Best Bets – February 16, 2021

| February 15, 2021 3:13 pm PDT

The NBA rages on with a six-game betting slate on Tuesday night. See which teams are in action and facing off with a quick look at the schedule.

  • Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics
  • New Orleans Pelicans vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns

It’s a pretty great set-up at first glance, starting right away with a fun tilt between Denver and Boston at TD Garden.

This slate isn’t without its bad news, of course. One game already got canceled, and bettors already know massive names like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis won’t be on hand for their respective games.

Keep that in mind as you formulate your bets at the top sites for betting on the NBA. For a little guidance, consider rolling with my NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics Predictions

  • Nuggets to beat Celtics
  • Predicted total: 215-220

The Celtics are a bit of a mess right now. They’re just 3-7 over their last 10 games and just got embarrassed in a loss to the lowly Wizards.

It’s gotten so bad that some are calling for the firing of head coach Brad Stevens. At a minimum, he’s been part of the problem.

That’s a knee-jerk reaction if I’ve ever seen one, but Boston is just not cohesive on offense these days. Their trademark defense has even regressed (now 15th in efficiency), and they may be feeling the absence of star guard Marcus Smart.

Whatever the case, it feels like the Nuggets could take advantage and stretch their winning streak to four games.

Nikola Jokic just dominated a superior Lakers defense, and something tells me he’ll have his way once again. Until Boston can show some signs of life, I don’t like the idea of backing them in any regard.

I like the Nuggets to win, and the slow pace of these teams (21st and 27th in pace) makes the Under stand out as a nice secondary bet.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Grizzlies to beat Pelicans
  • Predicted total: 220-225

New Orleans is once again reeling, as they’ve dropped three in a row and are just 5-5 over their last 10 outings.

The Pels don’t seem to know who they are this year, and it’s prompted a lot of buzz around Lonzo Ball as a potential trade candidate. The Bulls have specifically become a team of interest.

Who knows what happens there. All I know is Memphis has big man Jonas Valanciunas back, and they’re at home. They grade out a bit better in terms of pace of play, while they’ve also been far better defensively.

JV’s presence down low could be problematic for New Orleans’ scorers inside, while Memphis as a whole ranks 14th in blocks per game. 

This is a tough game to call, but I like Memphis at home, and the constant losing should spark a Pels trade in the near future.

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks Predictions

  • Bucks to beat Raptors
  • Predicted total: 225-230

This should be a pretty fun game, as the Bucks put up more points per contest (121) than any other team in the NBA, and they push the pace (5th).

Toronto is 10th in that regard, and they’ve also been a top-10 offense in terms of efficiency. The Raptors could also be getting reinforcements down low, as they’ve been connected to Cleveland in a possible Andre Drummond trade.

I still like the Bucks here, as they will likely bounce back after a shocking loss to the Thunder. Milwaukee has gone 9-2 at home this year, and they badly need to end a three-game skid.

Toronto should make it interesting, but it’s been mostly Bucks (3-1) over the last four meetings. 

Bet the Bucks and the Over on Tuesday.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions

  • Blazers to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 230-235

Bettors get a fun one here, as Damian Lillard leads his Blazers into OKC to battle the Thunder. OKC has been down some key bodies, but they’ve kept fighting and are a respectable 4-6 over their last 10 games (11-15 on the year).

That stretch includes two intense OT battles with the Lakers, so this Thunder team has been defying odds across the board.

It’s a reasonable bet to assume they do so here, especially since Portland is just as banged up and struggles to defend.

I think you could lean either way here, but Lillard has the Blazers believing at 16-10, and this team is a solid 8-5 on the road. 

Their poor defense and OKC’s pace (9th) likely contribute to a pretty explosive game, though, and that highlights the Over as a solid bet.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions

  • Lakers to beat Timberwolves
  • Predicted total: 220-225

Is this a trap game? It certainly could be, as the Lakers head out on the road to take on a healthy Minnesota team.

Karl-Anthony Towns is back, and the Timberwolves notched a win in their last game, so there could be a little momentum for them at home.

It understandably helps that Lakers big man Anthony Davis is out indefinitely with an Achilles issue.

Minnesota could be a sleeper bet here, but I still find it hard to go against L.A. LeBron James is still leading the charge, and L.A. has found ways to gut out wins sans The Brow before.

Here’s a look at how they’ve done without their other superstar in five games this season.

Opponent Result
Timberwolves W, 127-91
Bulls W, 117-115
Pistons L, 107-92
Thunder W, 119-112
Thunder W, 114-113

Most of these games were very close, mind you, with the last two going into overtime. That said, I won’t be betting against King James in this spot.

A bet for Minnesota to beat the spread isn’t a terrible idea, of course.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns Predictions

  • Suns to beat Nets
  • Predicted total: 225-230

Lastly, the Nets and Suns clash for what is arguably the best game of this slate. It’s a contrast of styles, however, as Phoenix plays slow and defends, while the Nets run and play almost no defense at all.

Brooklyn is also going to be without KD in this spot, while they could be tired after playing late against the Kings on Monday.

The Nets still look like a solid ATS bet if they come in as the underdogs, but Phoenix at home feels like the better play.

Try as they might, I struggle to see how the Suns keep this from being an explosive outing, however. Both teams are still in the top-10 in offensive efficiency, and the only thing sidetracking this one is Kyrie Irving or James Harden randomly resting.

Best NBA Bets for Tuesday, February 16th

  • Grizzlies (-1) -110
  • Raptors (+6.5) -110
  • Raptors vs. Bucks Over 233 (-110)
  • Suns (-2) -110
  • Nets vs. Suns Over 230 (-110)

Memphis should have an edge down low against the reeling Pels, and they’ll be at home. They look like a reasonable home favorite to back at this -110 price at BetOnline.

That Bucks vs. Raptors game should be lit. Milwaukee is the main reason why, but their defense hasn’t really been on point lately. Both teams are capable of getting it going offensively, while the Bucks have been pedestrian (13-13) against the spread when favored.

I think Toronto can stay in this one, and they should contribute to a pretty explosive game.

Brooklyn could be a little worn down after playing on Monday, while the Suns have more defensive bite and are a stellar 10-4 on their home floor. I’ll take the Suns to win number seven in a row, but Brooklyn’s pace and offensive upside ensures the Over is a solid try.

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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