Today's Top Picks: Dabbling in some NHL picks and identifying a value play in the NBA tonight

The playoffs are here, and man do they feel wonderful. Hockey is a fantastic sport, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs are an entirely different animal. The NBA playoffs might last 742 days, but it's 742 days of fun. 

Unfortunately we haven't seen a ton of great action in the NBA so far, but that doesn't mean we can't find a little value in terms of what teams are playing on Thursday night. It's not on the docket tonight, but you want to take a little risk on some value in a series bet, might I recommend the Oklahoma City Thunder series price? They got blown out by Portland in the last game but have played horrible basketball in terms of shooting the ball. They should improve moving forward with some home matchups. 

Additionally, we're going to go for gusto and dabble in some of the NHL matchups. We will not be taking the Tampa Bay Lightning, because oh my goodness they were swept by Columbus. 

Instead we'll stay local with my Carolina Hurricanes. I trust them to help me stay hot, which is imperative since I've got a tough act to follow after Chip Patterson went a scorching 3-0 earlier this week and Tom Fornelli continued to #TrustTheProcess with these picks.

All lines are via Westgate.

1. Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs: Spurs -4.5

Don't love how this line moved -- would prefer it to be 3.5 -- but I still like the Spurs in this spot. Were it not for a Jamal Murray explosion, the Spurs should be up 2-0 in this series and looking to close things out in San Antonio. Maybe Murray can carry that over, but it feels more likely the Spurs would be able to put additional pressure on Denver in this series and force Murray to play hero ball.

Nikola Jokic is an incredible player but he's not necessarily an explosive offensive player who can simply take over with scoring. If the Spurs can put the clamps on Murray, or if he has a bad shooting night, we could see San Antonio really manage to pull away in this game.

SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh also has a pick on this game as part of his Thursday best bets, which you're going to want to hear with Oh on a sizzling 90-70 run in the NBA. Check out his best bets over at SportsLine.

2. Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes: Hurricanes -120

The Hurricanes are missing a number of different players thanks to the, ahem, issues stemming out of the first game against the Capitals. But I think they're going to thrive again at home against Washington here -- they've looked very much like they're as good, if not a better team throughout the series -- especially with a wild crowd amped up to create a Game 7 like atmosphere for the 'Canes. Monday was a zoo at the PNC Arena and I think Thursday will be even wilder.

The 'Canes thrive off their home crowd and they know they can hang with Washington. This game will be closer, and I think still high scoring, but the 'Canes come out on top again.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure has tournament lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings that you're going to want to check out before you lock in your selections. Head over to SportsLine to see what McClure has to say.

3. Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks: Over 6.5

Have you seen the scores in this series so far? It looks like a bunch of baseball games taking place, with a pile of goals being scored in each game. Only once has there been less than six goals so far in this series, with the Knights taking a 3-1 series lead with a 5-0 victory.

And that's kind of the key thing for me here too: I believe the Sharks will be selling out to keep the series alive. Good luck slowing down Vegas completely. And if Vegas gets a lead at all late, the Sharks should pull the goalie in the third period and potentially allow one or two extra goals.

How about over in baseball? SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh is on a 22-7 heater in the MLB, and he has three more best bets for Thursday's action, including one moneyline underdog that you're going to want to check out.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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