NBA Predictions and Best Bets – March 11, 2021

| March 11, 2021 4:37 am PDT

If you were disappointed in the NBA’s small two-game slate yesterday, have no fear. The games are coming on Thursday, with a whopping 11 hitting the hardwood on March 11th.

Check out everyone who is in action before you bet.

  • Detroit Pistons vs. Charlotte Hornets
  • Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls
  • Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat
  • New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings

This is a jam-packed schedule, so my advice is to just pick your spots. Yesterday you were forced into some bets perhaps you normally wouldn’t love – or you had to refrain from betting at all.

Thursday’s NBA betting slate is much more approachable, but it also could be filled with traps.

To help you gauge the best bets to target, let’s break things down with Thursday’s NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Detroit Pistons vs. Charlotte Hornets Predictions

  • Hornets to beat Pistons
  • Predicted total: 220-225

Bettors can start things off with this til in Detroit, where LaMelo Ball and the Hornets take on the Pistons.

Ball is the clear frontrunner for 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year, and is among the best bets you can make regarding NBA betting markets right now.

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He also keeps the Hornets both competitive and interesting, and they’ll be the understandable favorites here. Detroit is testing out their young talent and finally parted ways with Blake Griffin, so it’s pretty clear they don’t even care about winning these days.

The Over is viable given Charlotte’s pace of play, as well as the lack of great defense on either side. Otherwise, I’m all about the Hornets here.

Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets Predictions

  • Nets to beat Celtics
  • Predicted total: 230-235

Boston closed out with a four-game winning streak prior to their break, so bettors need to take them seriously in this spot.

Brooklyn also still doesn’t have Kevin Durant back, but they did get reinforcements with the signing of versatile forward Blake Griffin.

Griffin alone doesn’t provide a massive boost, but he does give the Nets a little more depth.

James Harden and Kyrie Irving are what really make them move, of course, and the Nets have been largely unstoppable (9-1) over their last 10 games.

The pace of play promotes the Over, but it’s hard not to love the Nets at home, where they’re a staggering 13-6 on the year.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions

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

The Hawks hope to get to 3-0 since firing head coach Lloyd Pierce. Atlanta went 2-0 prior to the break after canning their coach, with their first win displaying a tougher defensive mentality.

I’m not sure I buy into those results completely, as they barely snuck by Orlando in a 115-112 shootout in the next game.

The Hawks are talented, deep, and have a better coach now, but I still don’t know if I love them against the Raptors.

Toronto is a more balanced team in general, and should have both Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet back for this game. Give me the Raptors in this one.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New Orleans Pelicans Predictions

  • Pelicans to beat Timberwolves
  • Predicted total: 225-230

Neither the Pels or T’Wolves are easy to get behind right now. Minnesota has lost nine games in a row and just fired their head coach, so as you can imagine, they’re tough to trust.

Their rotation should get tighter, at least.

Here’s what new head coach Chris Finch had to say.

“We’re going to have a whole new reality coming out of the break with the way we approach things. We’re going to tighten (our rotation) up and we’re going to find the guys that want to compete.”

Even so, I favor the Pels here. You know who they are, they’re at home, and they’ve been the better team.

Zion Williamson has also been ascending in the league, and it feels like he’s only just scratched the surface of the player he can become. He should feast in a glorious matchup at home.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls Predictions

  • Bulls to beat 76ers
  • Predicted total: 225-230

This could be a nice spot to go with younger Bulls. The Bulls have been respectable this year, and they’re 6-4 over their last 10 games.

Chicago still isn’t a great defensive team, and they only go as far as Zach LaVine can take them, but they’re headed in the right direction.

Philly has also been very vulnerable (8-9) on the road this year, and they won’t have big man Joel Embiid for this one.

Embiid is one of the top contenders to win the 2020-21 NBA MVP, so that’s kind of a big deal.

Ben Simmons is also staying on the sidelines until the weekend, so Chicago looks like a great play at home.

Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat Predictions

  • Heat to beat Magic
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This used to be a fun matchup, but Orlando has spiraled out of control. The Magic have been weighed down by a litany of injuries, and they’re now just 13-23 on the season.

Orlando still has big man Nikola Vucevic to turn to, but they’ve dropped five straight, and keep getting blown out.

Miami, meanwhile, doesn’t travel far for this road game, and are trending upward (7-3 over their last 10), and have someone in Bam Adebayo that can check Vuc down low.

The Heat look like a good bet across the board in this one.

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Predictions

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

New York shockingly downed the Bucks earlier this year, and it wasn’t particularly close. This time they’re in Milwaukee, of course, and Jrue Holiday is back in the fold.

Milwaukee has certainly endured their ups and downs this season, but they’re now looking like a legit title contender again at 22-14.

New York slows things down and can defend, but their offense can be like pulling teeth. That won’t fly in this matchup. Look for a Bucks blowout win. 

Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions

  • Mavericks to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This is admittedly a potential trap game for Dallas, who played against the Spurs on Wednesday. Fatigue and travel could be problematic here, and this could be a spot where some Mavs rest.

OKC is somewhat appealing for those reasons, but keep in mind that they’ve regressed (4-6 over their last 10), and are the rightful underdogs in this spot.

I still like Dallas, but OKC against the spread will be interesting, depending on pricing.

Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers Predictions

  • Clippers to beat Warriors
  • Predicted total: 225-230

The Warriors have slid out of the Western Conference playoff picture, and I can’t help but think their free fall only continues on Thursday.

Golden State have lost three in a row, and getting back on track against the Clippers on the road feels like a reach.

They do have Stephen Curry, of course, and he’s probably feeling it after winning this year’s Three-Point Contest.

Paul George could be back after missing L.A.’s last game, but as always, bettors need to consider the Clips could rest him or anyone else.

It’s tentative, but the Clippers are the better team and are 12-6 at home. They have a three-game skid of their own they’d like to snap, too.

Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers Predictions

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

Just when you think the Blazers are starting to unravel, Damian Lillard steps up his game and marches into the All-Star break with a three-game winning streak.

Doubting Portland is not always wise, but they’re hosting a seasoned and defensive-minded Phoenix squad.

I mean, seriously, this team just keeps climbing the standings, yet they’re disrespected left and right when you look at the latest 2020-21 NBA Futures.

Chris Paul can be any point guard’s Kryptonite, and the Suns have ridden a four-game winning streak to the second best record in the west.

The Blazers should put up a fight, but I like the Suns and the Under in this one.

Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Predictions

  • Rockets to beat Kings
  • Predicted total: 230-235

I’ll go the opposite and hammer the Over here, as the Kings do not stop anyone defensively. Sacramento has a solid offense, but their games tend to be pretty wild.

Houston’s defense isn’t any better, and the Rockets have lost an insane 13 games in a row.

Overall, these teams are a combined 2-18 over their last 20 games. Something has to break in a sense, and it’s worth wondering if a loss to Houston would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Luke Walton.

Houston has to win eventually, and they couldn’t ask for a better spot. I (kind of) like the Rockets, and the Over will be very tempting.

Best NBA Bets for Thursday, March 11th

  • Rockets (+4.5) -110
  • Bulls (-2.5) -115
  • Timberwolves (+8.5) -110
  • Celtics vs. Nets Over 234 (-110)
  • Bucks (-10.5) -105

There are a lot of good NBA bets to consider for this huge slate, and my interest starts with Houston at +4.5. They can’t seem to get a win right now, but any losing streak has an expiration date, and they have the best possible matchup.

I also like the Bulls (-2.5) for reasons broken down above. Philly is just too banged up right now. I like the Pelicans to beat the Timberwolves, too, but by 8.5 points?

Minnesota is under new guidance, and the Pels are just 15-21 against the spread this year.

Boston is interesting at +3.5, but I like Brooklyn to get the win at home. More than anything, I expect a high-scoring affair here. The Nets average over 121 points per game, and they’ve allowed at least 113 points in three of their last four games.

Milwaukee is going to be well rested following the break, so a rematch with the Knicks should work in their favor. New York surprised them the first time around, but they’re down some key players, and are on the road.

This is obviously a thick spread, but the Bucks have the third best point differential (+6.3) in basketball, and are a solid 11-8 ATS as home favorites.

Like these bets? Consider trying your hand at betting on the NBA at the best basketball betting sites.

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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