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Hello, and Happy Thursday. Unfortunately, our plans to buy the Amazon have been delayed by a day after we went 0-3 in the newsletter last night. I'll shoulder all the blame because I was really just testing to see how powerful the jinx was.

The letter was a perfect 6-0 on Tuesday, and when I mentioned that in yesterday's letter, I also wrote, "I always fear bringing this up here because it might jinx today's picks." Well, it did. Clearly. My picks were 100% right, but the jinx, oh that damned jinx!

So from now on, when we have a perfect day, we're not going to bring it up here. We'll just have to know. Whether it's through some momentary eye contact and maybe a head nod or a wry smile, we'll know. And as long as we know, that's all that matters.

Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try the reverse jinx. I mean, if bringing up a perfect day leads to a winless day, then science dictates that bringing up the winless day will lead to a perfect day. Unless, well, if I bring up both simultaneously, does that put a tear in the time-space continuum and ruin everything? Oh man, OK, I need to figure this out. So what I'm going to do is go tweet Neil deGrasse Tyson with these critical questions and see what he says. While I'm doing that, read these stories, and I'll get back to you with what I've learned on Friday.

OK, onto tonight's winners, unless they're jinxed.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Heat at Rockets, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Rockets +2 (-110)
: We took the Knicks against Miami on Tuesday night because the Heat just aren't that good right now. Injuries combined with the hangover of reaching the NBA Finals is impacting this team, and while I believe Miami will be much better come playoff time, it's not there yet. Meanwhile, Houston is being undervalued in this spot. The general public has somewhat written off the Rockets after trading James Harden, but this is a terrific defensive team.

The Rockets are tied with Utah for third in the league in defensive efficiency, and they've been better at home, where their 101.5 points per 100 possessions leads the league. That's not good news for a Miami team that has struggled offensively, as the Heat rank 24th in the league in offensive efficiency, just one spot ahead of the Rockets. Houston's defense is what makes the difference tonight.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by Mike McClure and Larry Hartstein to dish out the best bets in hoops for Thursday on The Early Edge. Download and subscribe to The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Key Trend: Miami is 2-8-1 ATS in its last 11 as a favorite.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's projection model generated selections for Thursday's matchup between the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets. It likes the total more than the spread.


💰 The Picks

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🏀 NBA

Pacers at Pistons, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Pacers -2.5 (-110) -- 
OK, so the Pacers let us down last night. You never want to take a team total over and then see that team score 30 points in the first half. Still, as bad as it was, I'm not going to let that affect how I feel about them in this matchup tonight.

The Pistons just beat the Nets, but that was more of a fluky result due to Brooklyn not stopping the Pistons in the paint. Indiana can. The Pacers defense ranks seventh in the NBA in shooting percentage allowed from two-point range at 50.5%. Detroit's on the other end of the spectrum, ranking 28th at 54.5%. That's something the Pacers will take advantage of with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.

Key Trend: The Pacers are 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 as a road favorite.

🏒 NHL

Flames at Canucks, 10 p.m. | TV: NHL.TV
The Pick: Over 6 (-115) -- 
I introduced you to one of my NHL system plays earlier this week, and it didn't work out. Well, I promise you that the early results are still encouraging, and since there isn't a lot on the board tonight I'm fond of besides the two NBA plays I've already shared, we're going back to the NHL well.

The Flames have been in a lot of high-scoring games lately, with an average of 6.4 goals scored in their last five games. Tonight they're facing a Vancouver team that loves to allow goals! The Canucks have lost five straight, allowing 5.2 goals per game during the losing streak.

Key Trend: The over is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: European soccer insider Martin Green just revealed his best bets for Manchester City vs. Tottenham on Saturday.


💸 The DFS Rundown

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Star Plays

PG: Damian Lillard, Blazers
SG: Victor Oladipo, Rockets
SF: Jimmy Butler, Heat
PF: Bam Adebayo, Heat
C: Joel Embiid, Sixers

Value Plays

PG: Kemba Walker, Celtics
SG: Seth Curry, Sixers
SF: Kelly Oubre, Warriors
PF: Daniel Theis, Celtics
C: Enes Kanter, Blazers

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here


 🏀 NBA Player Props

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