If you’re still calming down from that insane Thursday Night Football ending between the Packers and Lions, we don’t blame you. But you’re in for a roller coaster of sorts, as the NBA shoves six fun games onto the schedule and gets the sports bettor in you ready for more intense action.
Fans get a battle of New York, The Brow vs. LeBron, Greg Monroe revenge and as fast-paced of a matchup as we can hope for when the Wizards and Suns go at it. Kobe Bryant also is probably playing in Atlanta, but we can never be sure if that’s a perk or a deterrent. If it’s The Black Mamba of Wednesday, tonight could go off the rails.
Let’s keep the train on the tracks just long enough to break down all six games and see which way you may want to lean if you plan on betting tonight:
Nets @ Knicks
Brooklyn has been all kinds of awful this year and are especially atrocious on the road (1-10), but they do still have a stud center in Brook Lopez and have slowly turned things around with a 4-6 run in their last 10 games. That’s about as optimistic as it gets here, unfortunately, as New York is the better team in just about every way and has a rapidly progressing Kristaps Porzingis to show for it. Carmelo Anthony should be over a recent sickness, too, so the Knicks should be close to their best in a favorable matchup at Madison Square Garden. Their 4-6 home record this year is cause for pause, but not so much against the lowly Nets.
Pick: Knicks 102, Nets 97
Suns @ Wizards
In what is probably going to be the most entertaining game of the night, two of the fasted-paced teams get together in Washington. Even better, both teams are incredibly short-handed down low with Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Tyson Chandler, Drew Gooden and Kris Humphries all likely out tonight. That means a good amount of small ball and a ton of running and shooting. A high scoring affair is to be expected, while the Wiz could have the mild edge at home. Neither team defends, but Phoenix is pretty bad on the road this year and John Wall is really cooking with gas lately. I expect Wall to be huge as he gets the Wiz one game closer to .500.
Pick: Wizards 109, Suns 107
Bucks @ Pistons
Greg Monroe returns to Detroit to take on the Pistons for the first time since leaving in free agency this summer. These two have faced off once already this year (Bucks won big in Milwaukee), but this is Moose’s first game back in Detroit. He should have a big game, while Ersan Ilyasova and Khris Middleton both could be in for solid nights against their former teams, as well. Milwaukee got the better of the Pistons the first time, but now they’re on the road, where they’re just 2-8 on the season. Detroit has more size and shooting and also plays better defense, too, so they’re the logical pick.
Pick: Pistons 104, Bucks 99
Lakers @ Hawks
The Kobe Bryant retirement show rages on and this time the Lakers head to Atlanta to try to take down the Hawks. That’s not logical for several reasons, even with the Hawks playing basically .500 basketball these days. For one, Bryant just had his first great game of the year, so it’s rather unlikely to drops a second strong effort in back to back games. Los Angeles also has just three wins on the year and has to try to go into Atlanta to get their fourth. That’s not very likely considering the Lakers are a pathetic 2-9 away from home and the Hawks are a solid 7-4 on their home floor. Atlanta could end up resting some of their key players but they should find a way to get the win, regardless.
Pick: Hawks 109, Lakers 101
Rockets @ Mavs
James Harden heads to Dallas to try to torch the Mavs in what could be the second-highest scoring game of the night. Harden wasn’t amazing against Dallas earlier this year in a 12-point loss at home, but he usually torches them pretty well. Dallas is a strong 5-2 on their home floor and currently looks like the better team, while Houston is going to be a little short-handed with Dwight Howard out (rest). Houston isn’t defending or even scoring all that well these days, so the odds support a Mavs home win.
Pick: Mavs 106, Rockets 102
Cavs @ Pelicans
While some other games could carry a little more weight or could produce more points, a showdown between LeBron James and The Brow on ESPN probably takes the cake. Everyone will want a hand in this game when it comes to NBA betting, and the only question is who actually takes it? Knee-jerk logic says the Cavs are the pick, as the Pellies have been awful to start the year and are oddly just 3-5 on their home floor. That being said, they’ve gotten healthy rather quickly, as Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans should both be available to play (and likely start) in this game. That could make New Orleans quite the offensive handful, while the Cavs haven’t been nearly as strong on the road this season (just 4-4).
The kicker for me here is defense. Cleveland defends leaps and bounds better than the Pellies, who on the year are allowing over 109 points per game. I’m not entirely sure Anthony Davis can do as he pleases here, either, as Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Timofey Mozgov all have some size and length to team up to give him problems. I think we get some points out of this one still and it could be a good game, but look for Cleveland to start figuring out their road woes with a big win tonight.
Pick: Cavs 107, Pelicans 103