NBA Best Bets Today (Predictions for Jabari Smith-Paolo Banchero, Thunder-Sixers and Grizzlies-Jazz)

Paolo Banchero and Adam Silver.
Paolo Banchero and Adam Silver. / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League kicks off on Thursday with the Houston Rockets and No. 3 overall pick Jabair Smith taking on the Orlando Magic and No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero. 

Get ready for some fireworks, folks. 

We also have the final two games of the Salt Lake City Summer League to dive into, which is plenty of basketball for us starved NBA fans. 

Here are my picks and leans for Thursday’s action:

NBA Best Bets Record to Date

  • NBA Best Bets Record: 264-244-6 (+12.0547 units)

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record in the NBA in the 2021-22 season here.

NBA Best Bets Today

  • Houston Rockets -2.5 vs. Orlando Magic (-110)
  • Memphis Grizzlies-Utah Jazz UNDER 171.5 (-110)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder Moneyline vs. Philadelphia 76ers (+105)

Houston Rockets vs. Orlando Magic: Rockets -2.5 (-110)

Banchero passed Smith as the No. 1 selection right before the 2022 NBA Draft, and he will look to show that he is the best player in this class in this matchup. 

Houston will have its three first-round picks, Smith, TyTy Washington and Tari Eason in this matchup, but last year’s No. 2 pick Jalen Green will not play in Summer League. 

Jalen Suggs, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, won't suit up for Orlando. 

On paper, Houston has the more talented roster, with four first-rounders from the last two drafts in action. 

While we haven’t gotten a chance to see either of these team’s play in the California or Utah circuits, I wouldn’t be shocked if Smith comes into this game with something to prove after Orlando passed him over at No. 1. 

I’ll side with Houston as a short favorite with more NBA talent on the roster. 

Lean: Rockets -2.5 (-110) 

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz: UNDER 171.5 (-110)

The Utah Jazz have yet to pick up a win in the Salt Lake City Summer League, and now they face a 1-1 Memphis Grizzlies team that struggled against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. 

The Grizzlies decided to sit almost all of their key players against OKC, including Ziare Williams, Xavier Tillman and first-rounder Jake LaRavia. 

This line indicates to me that Vegas expects at least a few of the Grizzlies’ top players to be in action on Thursday. 

It makes sense that the team doesn’t want to play NBA-proven players every game or on back-to-backs, but it burned anyone who took the Grizz to beat the Thunder on Wednesday. 

While both teams went OVER this total in their first SLC Summer League games, they went UNDER on Wednesday and I think some tired legs could lead to another UNDER tonight. 

The Grizzlies may rest players, and the Jazz have really struggled offensively as a team, putting up just 77 and 82 points in their two games. 

I’ll roll with the UNDER since Memphis is picky with its lineups. 

Lean: UNDER 171.5 (-110)

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Thunder ML (+105)

I’ll start by saying this: 

Josh Giddey is too good to be playing in the NBA’s Summer League. 

Giddey has looked a step above everyone else ahead of his second NBA season, but as long as he and Holmgren play, I can’t see a case for the Thunder being underdogs in this matchup. 

OKC has outscored its opponents by 37 points in the first two games of the SLC Summer League, and now they face a Sixers team that sat its top two players, Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe, on Wednesday. 

I think OKC is worth a shot as a moneyline dog tonight. 

Lean: Thunder ML (+105)