NBA Thursday Preview

Kobe sits, the Lakers keep on winning…scaring the heck out of the rest of the league.

Kobe Bryant has been out since February 5th (nursing a sprained ankle), but missing one of the best players in the world hasn’t tripped up the odds-on Championship favorites.

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LA boasts a spiffy mark of 4-0 straight up since he was sidelined, posting a profitable mark of 3-1 against the spread in those games. Over/Under bettors might want to take note that the Lakers have played “Under” the total in all four of those games.

Online sportsbooks saw an immediate reaction from sports bettors after it was clear Kobe would be out of the lineup, seeing instant action against the Lakers in the first game and the same scenario took place in the second game. After two straight wins, against good teams, bettors starting coming back the other way and backing LA.

In the defending NBA champions last game against the Golden State Warriors, they came away with a 104-94 home win and Shannon Brown recorded his first double-double ever with 27-points and 10 rebounds.

As the Associated Press so aptly put it, the Lakers, “gave another example of how much championship depth they have.”

The L.A. Times says that Bryant isn’t sure if he’ll play in the Lakers’ next game, on Thursday at home against the Boston Celtics, although MSNBC hints that he might.

In the L.A. Lakers’ last 10 games overall, they are 8-2 SU and have recorded seven Unders.

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Now they face the Celtics…the Purple and Gold have struggled ATS in their last 11 games against the Celtics, going 2-8-1 against the line.

At home they have only managed to put together a 4-8 ATS mark the last 12 times they’ve hosted Boston.

Look for Kobe to play and the line to move a little on this one throughout the day, as news trickles in and bettors take their shots.

Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Denver Nuggets received some bad news on Wednesday when they learned that head coach George Karl has cancer in his throat.

It is a very treatable form of cancer but the treatment he will receive will be taxing — he expects to miss a game against Golden State on Feb. 25 and another game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Mar. 10 according to ESPN.

How will this news impact the Nuggets in their game Thursday vs. the Cavaliers in Cleveland? Will they be distracted, or extra motivated?

The Nuggets have performed well in their last seven overall against the Cavs, going 5-2 both SU and ATS.

The game against the Cavaliers will be Denver’s first of back to back games and in that situation, they are a very impressive 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS.

Over/Under bettors note that the Nuggets have posted 10 Unders in their last 12 in this situation.

Staying with the Over/Under trends, the Nuggets move on to the nation’s capital on Friday to play the Washington Wizards and in Denver’s last 13 overall against the Wiz, they have a record of 11 Unders and only 2 Overs (and they’re 10-3 ATS on those games).

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Posted: 2/18/10 2:45PM ET

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