The fun continued in the NBA on Wednesday night, with the Blazers and Wizards awarding us a nice overtime thriller and the Hawks and Jazz battling it out in a tight defensive battle. It was not the best night for NBA betting, of course, as the Nets defied the spread, the Hawks upset the Jazz and the Magic laid an egg in Los Angeles.
Some things may have gone your way, of course, as the Blazers did win/cover, the Spurs covered in Minnesota and Denver lived up to their favorite tag (although we picked against them) and covered in a home win over the Knicks.
Think that was fun? Wednesday should have it beat, as we get an impressive 9-game schedule to play with. Let’s take a quick look at the lines and total of each contest and see where our bets should lie tonight:
Rockets @ 76ers
Line: -9.5 Total: 220
Not much needs to be said here, as the Sixers have won 8 games all year and are awful. Jahlil Okafor is out tonight and while the Rockets typically do not blow teams out, this would be the one exception where you bank on it. I’ll take the Rockets to cover.
Pick: Rockets 112, Sixers 99
Pelicans @ Hornets
Line: Hornets -8.5 Total: 209
New Orleans and Charlotte get together for the second time this year, with the Pellies having taken an exciting 109-107 win at home in mid-January. The Hornets are much more focused at home, where they’re 22-9, so they should have a much better chance to even up the series here tonight. New Orleans is also down shooting guard Eric Gordon and may not have Norris Cole, which shouldn’t hurt Charlotte’s chances to add to a nice four-game winning streak.
Pick: Hornets 106, Pelicans 102
Heat @ Bucks
Line: Heat -3.5 Total: 199
Miami visits the Bucks at the Bradley Center tonight, as they put a stout five-game winning streak on the line in a hostile environment. Miami is the better team on paper, but the Bucks have been playing excellent basketball lately and also stand their tallest at home, where they’re a strong 18-12. That being said, the Heat should take care of business as they stay hot in their bid for a top-two playoff seed.
Pick: Heat 99, Bucks 95
Knicks @ Suns
Line: Suns -1.5 Total: 206.5
New York continues to regress further away from the Eastern Conference playoff picture, as Kurt Rambis is coaching them into the ground. Kristaps Porzingis isn’t seeing the floor enough, while Jose Calderon is playing far too much. Normally the Knicks would be the easy call against the Suns, but Phoenix has been looking a lot better ever since they started rolling with Alex Len at the four spot. Brandon Knight could return tonight, as well, while the Suns have the benefit of playing at home. Surprising winners of two straight, Phoenix is the favorite for a reason.
Pick: Suns 104, Knicks 101
Clippers @ Thunder
Line: Thunder -5.5 Total: 215
The Clippers travel to OKC to take on the Thunder in easily the biggest game of the night. The series has been split between two very close games, but the Clips could have their work cut out for them with this one coming on the road and Blake Griffin still sidelined (hand). We can’t count L.A. out, though, and with both previous meetings separated by five points or less, it’s hard to give the Thunder the spread here. Look for the Clippers to keep it tight in a tough road loss.
Pick: Thunder 105, Clippers 101
Grizzlies @ Celtics
Line: Celtics -11 Total: 209
Memphis shocked the Cavs in Cleveland despite missing numerous key players due to injury, but doing that again on the road is a bit of a reach. Boston is very good at home (22-10 at TD Garden) and the line is there due to their ability to both score and stop teams at the other end. Without both Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, the Grizz are probably in trouble tonight. Even so, they play with a lot of grit and are pretty methodical, so I do think they can beat this gaudy spread.
Pick: Celtics 96, Grizz 89
Pistons @ Mavs
Line: Mavs -2 Total: 204.5
Detroit heads to Dallas tonight, where they’ll try to stay above .500 against a reeling Mavs squad (three straight losses). The Mavs tend to be better at home, but they’ve gotten nothing out of center Zaza Pachulia and have taken a big hit defensively. This will be a close game, but it’s awfully tough to pick the Mavs right now.
Pick: Pistons 97, Mavs 95
Cavs @ Kings
Line: Cavs -6.5 Total: 217
One of the more explosive games of the night goes down in Sac-town, where LeBron James leads his Cavs up against Boogie and the Kings. Sacramento can surely score with anyone, but their defense (109 points per game) leaves a lot to be desired. Cleveland also dropped a bad loss to the Grizzlies at home, so they’ll be out for blood. Expect a lot of points on both ends, but I like Cleveland to play mad and cover.
Pick: Cavs 109, Kings 107
Jazz @ Warriors
Line: Warriors -13 Total: 209
Utah just lost to the Hawks at home, so color me hesitant to believe they can be the first team to beat the Dubs at the Oracle Arena in the last 45 tries. Golden State is shooting for history this year and it’s quite likely they end the season with no losses on their home floor. As focused and flat out good they are, I don’t see them completely crushing a pretty balanced Utah team that plays strong defense.
Pick: Warriors 106, Jazz 98