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  • The Pacers are 0-3 since its star guard suffered a season-ending injury, but have a good matchup against the Magic on Thursday.
By Sam Chase
January 31, 2019

Here are Three at 3's top plays for Thursday:

1. Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic (-3)

7:00 pm ET

Life without Victor Oladipo continues to be difficult for the Pacers, who lost 107-89 in Washington last night (WAS -1). Tonight's game, however, may present an opportunity for Indiana to grab its first win since its star was ruled out for the season with a serious knee injury. The Wizards attacked the Pacers on the wings last night, with Bradley Beal and Jeff Green combining for 48 points. No other Wizard scored more than 13. But Thursday's opponent, the Orlando Magic, does less attacking on the perimeter: Leading scorers Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon operate primarily around the basket. That should be a better matchup for Indiana's defense without its best perimeter defender. Plus, the Pacers won 112-90 in Orlando (IND +4) the last time these two teams played on Dec. 7, and were without Oladipo for that game. Don't be surprised if they pull off the road upset once again tonight.

Pick: Pacers +3

2. Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons (-2.5)

7:00 pm

Despite whiffing on a Mavericks fade on Wednesday—Dallas won 114-90 as a seven-point favorite at MSG—we're going to double down on betting against the Mavericks on the road tonight. After last night's win and cover against the Knicks, the Mavs are still only 5-20 on the road this season. Plus, they're only 1-7 in the second leg of back-to-backs. These two teams last played only six days ago, with the Pistons hanging close in Dallas before ultimately losing 106-101 on Friday. Given that Detroit was nearly able to knock off Dallas in the building where the Mavs are 18-7 this season, it seems likely that having home-court advantage and better-rested legs tonight will give the Pistons a comfortable victory.

Pick: Pistons -2.5

3. Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers (-5)

10:30 pm

What would have been the most anticipated game of the night on Thursday lost an awful lot of its intrigue yesterday when it was announced that LeBron James would not, in fact, make his return from a month-long injury absence against the Clippers. With James and Lonzo Ball sitting—and Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart questionable to play—it's going to be a tough matchup for the Lakers. They've only won one of their last five games, a home win over the last-place Suns, and their last three losses have come by an average of 16.7 points. The Clippers are 8-2 against Pacific Division opponents this season (8-2 ATS), and 21-7 as a favorite (19-9 ATS). Coming off a home loss to the lowly Hawks in the second leg of a back-to-back on Monday, they should come out ready for a bounce-back performance having now had two full days of rest.

Pick: Clippers -5

Overall Record: 117-103-4