Today's Top Picks: Thunder spoil Russell Westbrook's return and more best bets for Thursday

After a brief stretch without an overarching theme to my picks, I've finally landed on some connective tissue. Tonight's games are going to be emotional. Cleveland is playing through more locker room drama, and the most serious sort it has faced yet. Russell Westbrook is returning to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Rockets. The Celtics have to recover from a frankly ridiculous ejection of Kemba Walker on Wednesday to play against a major Eastern Conference rival on Thursday. 

Things are going to get heated on Thursday, and if you can take advantage of that, you can make money on this NBA slate. All lines via William Hill. 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons: Pistons -7

Yes, I am aware that I made an identical pick on Tuesday and lost. I don't care. Asking an already bad team to win a road game only a day after their coach, accidentally or not, called them "thugs" is just a bridge too far. Overcoming the Kevin Love drama to earn a home win on Tuesday was one thing. The Pistons will not lose to Cleveland twice in three days with this new drama hanging over the Cavaliers' heads.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure got out to a blazing hot start during the NBA season, and he's back with more winners for Thursday's slate. See McClure's tournament lineups for multiple DFS sites only at SportsLine.  

2. Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers -2

The Celtics are absolutely exhausted right now. This is their fifth game in seven days and the second night of a back-to-back. They've lost their last two games, and barely eeked out wins over the lowly Hawks and Bulls in the two prior. Things weren't even close against the Spurs on Wednesday. Even without Joel Embiid suiting up for Philly, Boston just isn't equipped to play their best basketball right now.  

Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is a white-hot 17-4 on his best bets the past seven weeks, part of a stunning 44-24 run. He's back with three more locks for the divisional round; see which sides Goldberg loves only at SportsLine. 

3. Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder +2.5

Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau came up with a brilliant defensive strategy for Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. They knew that Kobe Bryant's hero complex would compel him to shoot no matter what, so they doubled him. For most of the game, it made no difference. He kept shooting. Eventually, he relented and the Lakers pulled out the win. I don't expect Russell Westbrook to relent in this one. This is his night, his grand return to Oklahoma City where a hero's welcome no doubt awaits. Would you expect anything less from Westbrook on such a night than to shoot 10 or 15 times more than he should, if only for old time's sake? That's not going to end well against Chris Paul.

The SportsLine Projection Model has generated a stunning profit of almost $4,000 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread over the last four years. Check out its picks for the CFP final, with one cashing in 68% of simulations.

Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio

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