Big NBA Wednesday returns tonight with a massive 11-game slate. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are in action versus Chris Paul to cap the night, while we also get stars like Anthony Davis, James Harden, Paul George, John Wall, Damian Lillard and others on a fully loaded night.
It comes a day after a strong 6-0 straight up run and a 6-1 record the night before. You could say we’re in a groove right now. Can it last through a tricky 11-game schedule? Who knows? But we’re game. Let’s get to it, as we break down tonight’s NBA slate in Wednesday’s NBA betting preview:
Bulls @ Magic
Line: Magic -4 Total: 210
Chicago and Orlando clash for the second of four meetings, with the Bulls taking the previous meeting in the United Center back in November. These teams are very different now than they were then, as the Bulls come in without Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic or Joakim Noah and could even be without Derrick Rose if he decides to rest. Orlando just happens to be at their best at the Amway Center (16-15 at home), too, while the Bulls have slid into a three-game losing streak and are just 11-18 on the road. I expect Pau Gasol to have a huge game and if Rose plays the Bulls have a chance, but they just aren’t very good right now. It’s right to side with the home team in this one and I like Orlando to cover.
Pick: Magic 103, Bulls 98
Blazers @ Celtics
Line: Blazers -4.5 Total: 217
Portland is scorching hot right now, as winners of three straight and 9 of their last 10 games. Beating the Celtics at TD Garden is a tall order, but Damian Lillard (30+ points in 7 of last 8 games) is unstoppable and the rest of the Trail Blazers are following suit. That being said, Boston is quite strong on their home floor (20-10) and is riding a nice three-game winning streak of their own. Look for Boston to flex their defensive muscle at home and stage the upset.
Pick: Celtics 104, Blazers 102
Pacers @ Bucks
Line: Pacers -2.5 Total: 203
Fans can expect a good amount of points for the third meeting of the year between these two Central Division rivals. The season series is thus far split (101), while both teams have poured it on thick offensively in their wins (120 and 123 points scored). The edge would normally go to Indiana, but they’ve dropped three straight and are just 13-18 on the road. The Bucks are getting top notch play out of their young trio – Giannis Antetokounmp, Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton – anyways, and are especially strong at the Bradley Center (17-10 at home). Look for that to continue in a minor upset.
Pick: Bucks 106, Pacers 101
Hornets @ 76ers (n/a)
There is no line at the time of this writing, possible due to Charlotte potentially resting some players against a weak opponent on the second game of a back to back set. Even if some Hornets sit this one out Charlotte is the obvious favorite, however, as they’ve gotten hot (7-3 in last 10 games), while the Sixers have just 8 wins on the whole season. The Hornets dismantled the 76ers last time out, too, so there is little reason to expect a different result tonight.
Pick: Hornets 112, Sixers 95
Jazz @ Raptors
Line: Raptors -6 Total: 194
Utah heads to Canada to take on the Raptors for the second time this year. Utah played host and won a tight battle back in November and on paper is a solid challenge for Toronto due to their imposing size down low with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. The big mismatch comes at the lead guard spot, however, as Kyle Lowry projects to dominate this matchup. Toronto is also very tough to beat at home (21-6), so it’s easy to see why the oddsmakers like them. The line is a tad rich given how feisty the Jazz can be, though, so I like Gordon Hayward and co. to at least beat the spread.
Pick: Raptors 98, Jazz 96
Pelicans @ Rockets (n/a)
Here’s another game with no line at the moment, largely due to the status of Anthony Davis. The Brow missed New Orleans’ last game and could be out again tonight, so be sure to stay on top of his status. I tend to lean toward Houston either way, as they return home to try to end a two-game skid. They’re 16-14 at home and the Pelicans simply can not keep it together (7-22) on the road. Neither team plays any defense, so you can probably shoot for the Over in this one, no matter what the Total ends up being.
Pick: Rockets 109, Pelicans 106
Wizards @ Timberwolves
Line: Wizards -3.5 Total: 220
Brad Beal will come off the bench and Markieff Morris should start his second game in a row as the Wiz try to keep some really nice momentum going with a fourth straight win. The Wizards aren’t great (13-14) on the road, but the Wolves are pretty bad and this is not a game they can afford to lose as they maintain grim playoff hopes. I like the Wizards to win and cover.
Pick: Wiz 104, Wolves 99
Pistons @ Spurs
Line: Spurs -11 Total: 201.5
Detroit is a very stable team that is on the upswing with a solid four-game winning streak, but their hot run ends tonight in San Antonio. It’s easy to see the Spurs are the better team, but they also haven’t lost at home all year (28-0). Detroit has the inside/outside goods via Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond to shock, but it’s not a good bet.
Pick: Spurs 104, Pistons 98
Kings @ Grizzlies (n/a)
Another no-show line here, as the oddsmakers probably want to learn more about Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay, both of which have had injury issues lately. Memphis is without a doubt the better defensive squad here, but with Marc Gasol sidelined, they could be in trouble here – even at home. Memphis has done well to protect their home base (21-9), while they’ve handled the Kings so far (2-0 in the season series). Sacramento looked like they were building toward something for a second there, but hit the road riding three straight losses and posting just a 3-7 run in their last 10 games. Memphis doesn’t really have anyone to handle DeMarcus Cousins, but it may not matter.
Pick: Grizz 104, Kings 100
Lakers @ Nuggets
Line: Nuggets -6.5 Total: 210.5
Kobe Bryant is expected to return after sitting out on Tuesday night, in what will be his last game against the Nuggets in Denver. The Black Mamba could look to put on a show in his last stop at the Pepsi Center, while D’Angelo Russell could also build on a huge 39-point effort a day ago. The Lakers are an atrocious 5-29 away from home, but Denver looks lost offensively with Danilo Gallinari (ankle) on the shelf. A Lakers upset is a fun try in what should be a very fast-paced and high-scoring affair.
Pick: Lakers 104, Nuggets 102
Thunder @ Clippers
Line: Clippers -1 Total: 220.5
In easily the game of the night, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant hit up the Staples Center to battle CP3 and the Clippers. Los Angeles has kept it together (won two straight, 7-3 in last 10) without Blake Griffin, while they’ve been good both on the road and at home (20-10). They’ll have their hands full tonight, however, as OKC puts up 110 points per game and already won a tight contest over the Clips back in December. OKC once again has the edge, and really should already be the favorite.
Pick: Thunder 107, Clippers 105