First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Nets vs. Knicks, 76ers vs. Heat Wednesday (March 1)

First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Nets vs. Knicks, 76ers vs. Heat Wednesday (March 1) article feature image

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.

There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can't bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those markets is the Race to 15 Points. It's as simple as the name suggests: The first team to hit 15 points cashes the bet.

There's a lot to love about Wednesday's slate of games. The schedule is packed with nine matchups, but two of the earlier games have my attention. Let's dive into tonight's first to 15 odds and picks.

Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks

First to 15 OddsNets: +130 | Knicks: -160
Time | TV7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass

The Knicks are firing on all cylinders these days, and they welcome their cross-town rivals for a matchup at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks' success in the first quarter has been night and day when they are on the road compared to at home. In road games, they often start slow, cashing Race to 15 bets at a 40% rate. On their home floor, they are just behind the league-leading Denver Nuggets when it comes to cashing Race to 15 bets (23-10, 69.7%).

The Nets are an interesting case because their season-long trends aren't as applicable since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were traded, but in their past 10 games, they've been the first to 15 just four times. Over that stretch, it has been a struggle for the Nets to score in the first quarter. They rank second to last in span in first-quarter points per game (23.9), last in field goal percentage (38.7%) and last in Point Differential (-8.3).

Some of that is skewed by their blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls — they scored just 18 points in the first quarter of that game — but I still don't love this matchup for them. The Knicks over that same 10-game stretch are 6-4 in Race to 15 bets and rank sixth in scoring in the first quarter (30.8). I think the Knicks keep it rolling here, and I'm not at all bothered by the fact that they are -160. I wouldn't bet them past that number, though.

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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat

First to 15 Odds76ers: +100 | Heat: -125
Time | TV7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass

This is a rematch from Monday night but instead of being in Philadelphia, Wednesday's game is in Miami. The Sixers are the league's best road team when it comes to Race to 15 bets (18-8, 69.2%). The Heat, however, are a good home team as well when it comes to Race to 15 bets (18-11, 62.1%) and will enjoy a six-game homestand after their recent four-game road trip.

The Sixers have been a slightly better first-quarter scoring team over their past 10 games — 28.6 points for Philly compared to 27.1 points for Miami. The Heat played just three home games in February, and in those three games they averaged 34.3 points in the first quarter, but that sample size is too small to trust.

I think this bet is a bit of a toss up, but the line has moved toward the Heat significantly since the line opened. That puts more value on the Sixers, and I like this spot for them better (coming off a loss to this exact team just 48 hours ago). I'd play the 76ers at even money or better.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC