Betting preview for Thursday's NBA games

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It was a somewhat boring night in the association on Wednesday. Seven teams won their games by double-digits, and favorites won the day with a winning 8-4 record, including 7-5 against the spread.

The biggest story emerging from last night should probably be Joel Embiid cementing his status as an MVP candidate with 28 points, six rebounds and two assists in the 76ers’ 107-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Embiid was incredible, getting to the line almost at will, finishing with 13 free throw attempts while consistently going at Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol in the post in one-on-one situations.

Having said that, keep an eye on Embiid’s status in the next couple of games. He took a hard fall on his ailing back last night, and while he finished you’d assume the 76ers will allow him to rest when he can over the next few contests.

The Utah Jazz also improved to 12-2 SU/ATS in the month of January with their beatdown of the Dallas Mavericks last night. Utah winning has become such a normality that it is barely worth a mention.

On to tonight’s four games!

Note: * indicates that team is on second leg of a back-to-back.

Updated injury reports can be found here.

L.A. Clippers at Miami Heat* (-5.5, 215.5)

This might come as a surprise, but the Clippers without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley are not good! The lack of shot creation without Leonard and George was apparent on Tuesday night as the Clippers managed just 1.021 points per possession, shot 54.8 percent at the rim and 30.8 percent from deep. The ability to create open looks is vital in halfcourt sets, and Los Angeles struggled immensely there, managing just 0.866 points per play.

It wasn’t just the offense, either. Atlanta averaged 1.102 points per possession against Los Angeles, and without a high-level perimeter defender the Clippers couldn’t contain Trae Young who scored 38 points on 12-of-23 shooting while getting to the free throw line 11 times. Luckily, Miami does not have that dynamic scoring guard on its roster to take advantage of poor on-ball defenders like Reggie Jackson or Lou Williams.

In fact, Miami still might not have anyone at all.

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