Since winning his first MVP award in 2015, Stephen Curry has had five separate injuries that have forced him to miss at least four consecutive games. In his returns to the court afterward, he has averaged 32.4 points per game on over 55 percent shooting. When Curry returns to the lineup, he puts on a show.
And that's all the Golden State Warriors have left to play for. Their lottery destiny has already been sealed. But testing Curry's fit with the new group of young players that has led this roster all season is a worthwhile pursuit. So is treating the fans who have paid small fortunes for season tickets in gorgeous new Chase Center only to watch Ky Bowman and Eric Paschall instead of Curry and Klay Thompson. Curry will come out swinging on Thursday, and that should inform your picks.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook.
1. Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors: Warriors +7.5
Ignore Curry for a moment. Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka were only recently added to the injury report. Marc Gasol just made it off. Kyle Lowry took an elbow to the eye in Toronto's last game. The Warriors haven't been at full strength all season, but Toronto won't be in this game either. For Golden State to get this many points in a home game that will include even a compromised Curry is just too tempting to pass up.
DFS millionaire Mike McClure saw multiple huge cashes again early in the 2019-20 NBA season and got 2020 off to a blistering start with his optimal lineup returning at least 7x on DraftKings on three of the first five days of the year. See tonight's picks only at SportsLine.
2. Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets: Clippers +1
The best versions of both the Clippers and Rockets have finally begun to shine in recent weeks. Here's the difference: the best version of the Clippers is the juggernaut has not only won five straight games, but four of those victories were by at least 15 points. The best version of Houston, however, is still susceptible to losses like the one the Rockets suffered against the New York Knicks on Monday. They can still have bad shooting quarters and halves. Their size poses real limitations. The Clippers are more adaptable, and playing so well lately that betting against them would be foolish.
SportsLine pro football analyst R.J. White has absolutely nailed the XFL, going 14-2 ATS over the league's first four weeks. You can see all his picks for Week 5 only at SportsLine.
3. Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings: Kings -5
The 76ers, who are 9-23 on the road, just hit 37 combined 3-pointers in two games against the two Los Angeles contenders. They've averaged just over 11 per game for the season. Sure, the absence of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid explains the improved shooting to some extent, but 18.5 per game wouldn't be sustainable for anyone. Regression is coming for the 76ers, and now is the time to start betting on it.
SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley is up more than $18.000 in the past year on his MMA selections. He just released his predictions for Saturday's UFC 248 card, and you can check them all out over at SportsLine.