NBA betting: Five picks for Thursday

How many points will Giannis Antetokounmpo score tonight against the Indiana Pacers? Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

After over a month of competitive games and colorful courts, the NBA's inaugural in-season tournament finally makes its way to Las Vegas for the semifinals. Both games are exciting matchups, but I am particularly looking forward to one.

After delivering a knockout blow to the Boston Celtics in Monday's quarterfinal, who isn't looking forward to seeing what the Indiana Pacers can do against Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered an epic performance against the Knicks on Tuesday. He scored 35 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had 10 assists. Antetokounmpo is well positioned to deliver another masterful performance for bettors, which leads me to my first recommendation.

Giannis Antetokounmpo over 32.5 points

Over the last six games, he has averaged 19.2 field goal attempts and 31.7 points. As a team, the Pacers rank 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions and must stop Antetokounmpo, but I don't believe they're equipped to do so.

Last time Indiana faced the Greek Freak, he scored 54 points. Against the Knicks on Tuesday, Antetokounmpo scored 35 points in a dominant performance. On Thursday night, he should continue to dominate.

Anthony Davis over 12.5 rebounds

He's surpassed this line in four consecutive games. Also, Davis has played 29 minutes or more in each of those games, giving him plenty of time to snag a bunch of rebounds.

The Lakers and Pelicans are 11th and 12th in pace, which bodes well for Davis. To top it off, the Pelicans also allow the sixth most rebounds per game to centers.

Trey Murphy III over 12.5 points

This is one line that immediately caught my attention: Murphy III's played in two games so far this season with a usage rate of 22.4%, surpassing 12.5 points in each game. He has played more minutes in each game, which is also noteworthy. Murphy III plays a key role in the Pelicans' rotations, and with Thursday's semifinal game carrying so much significance, he should totally be actively involved against the Lakers.

CJ McCollum over 22.5 points and assists

Having returned to the fold, McCollum has surpassed this line in three consecutive games. As an important member of the Pelicans rotation last season, he remains a vital part of the team this year. The Lakers have given up the seventh most points and the 13th most assists per game to point guards. McCollum is in a great spot here.

New Orleans Pelicans +1.5

Considering this game is in Las Vegas, there is a strong chance more Lakers fans will show up than Pelicans fans. But hey, don't sleep on the Pelicans. They have Murphy III and McCollum back in the rotation, giving their offense a boost.

Defensively, they're no slouch, ranking 15th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Just look at how they handled De'Aaron Fox in the quarterfinals. Herbert Jones can make life tricky for the Lakers, be it guarding LeBron James or Austin Reaves. The Pelicans' depth might just be the game changer here. They'll keep it close, but New Orleans could outright win. The Pelicans are 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games.

Projections and Injury Reports

Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com.

Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks
5:00 p.m. T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Records (Against the Spread)
Pacers: 11-8 (11-8-0)
Bucks: 15-6 (9-12-0)

Line: Bucks (-5.5) Total: 257.5
Money Line: Pacers (+170), Bucks (-200)
BPI Projection: Bucks by 5.2, straight up 67.1%, 253.3 total points.

Injury Report:
Pacers: Jalen Smith, (OUT - Heel)
Bucks: Jae Crowder, (OUT - Groin); Pat Connaughton, (OUT - Ankle)

New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers
9:00 p.m. T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Records (Against the Spread)
Pelicans: 12-10 (13-8-1)
Lakers: 13-9 (10-12-0)

Line: Lakers (-1.5) Total: 231.5
Money Line: Pelicans (+110), Lakers (-130)
BPI Projection: Pelicans by 3.3, straight up 61.4%, 231.9 total points.

Injury Report:
Pelicans: Matt Ryan, (OUT - Elbow); Larry Nance Jr., (OUT - Ribs)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD - Hip); Jarred Vanderbilt, (GTD - Heel); LeBron James, (GTD - Calf); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee)