NBA Odds, Expert Picks: Best Bets For Rockets-Thunder
Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- Wednesday's NBA slate features 11 games and our betting analysts have picks for four of those matchups.
- Among their best bets are picks for Bulls vs Pacers and Rockets vs Thunder.
- Read on for their expert picks and predictions below.
Wednesday marks the last full NBA slate before the All-Star break and it’s shaping up to be a good one. There are 11 games on the schedule tonight, including two national TV matchups on the ESPN doubleheader: Cavaliers vs. 76ers (7:30 p.m. ET) and Pelicans vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
Our analysts have four best bets for four other matchups on Wednesday’s slate, including moneyline plays, totals and player props. Read on for their expert picks and predictions for Wednesday.
NBA Odds & Picks
Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers
Jim Turvey: There are teams that start games and well and teams that don’t. And on Wednesday, we have a perfect coming together of two teams at opposite sides of that spectrum.
The Bulls, for all their struggles this season, have actually gotten off to good starts, as their 34-21-2 record against the spread in the first quarter is the best in the Association this season, with a return on investment (+17.0%) nearly twice as high as the second-best team (Minnesota at +9.9%).
The Pacers, on the other hand, have been abysmal in the first quarter. They are 18-40-1 against the spread in the first 12 minutes, for a -40.3 percent ROI. That’s handily the worst in the league, and again, nearly double the second-worst team (Detroit at -24.7%).
The Bulls have taken a bit of sharp money as a whole for the game, and they’ve been at their best in the first quarter of late, going 7-2-1 in the last ten.
I chose the moneyline here, but you could go spread, or alt line as well. I would play this all the way to Bulls -120 on the moneyline, but you won’t have to go that far. This play should be safe no matter when you come across it during the day.
Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets
Chris Baker: This is a good spot for the new-look Nets to finally get in the win column. The Heat have been a solid defense all year long, ranking fourth in adjusted defensive rating, but their success stems from their ability to take away the paint/rim. Miami ranks third in opponent rim rate allowed on the year.
They aren’t particularly concerned with taking away opponent threes as they rank 29th in opponent 3-point attempt rate allowed. This is a huge problem when facing this Brooklyn Nets offense as they rank sixth in 3-point attempt rate since trading away Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks. On the season they rank 11th in 3-point attempt rate and this Irving trade has only further exacerbated their love of 3-pointers.
The Nets have lost their last few games because they have shot below average from the field but I like them to positively regress as they take on a Heat defense that ranks 24th in effective field goal percentage allowed and 19th in three point percentage allowed.
On the flip side of the ball, I love the way this Nets defense matches up with the Heat as they have multiple defenders capable of defending Jimmy Butler. The Nets now start three capable wing defenders in Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Dorian Finney-Smith while also playing guys like Royce O’Neale and Ben Simmons off of the bench. This team now has a plethora of high-effort wing defenders and that is a huge asset for a defense when facing a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber.
The Nets also have Nic Claxton at center to anchor their defense and protect the rim against Bam Adebayo. Claxton ranks seventh in the entire NBA in defensive EPM and opponents are shooting just 61.8% at the rim (91st percentile) with Claxton the floor. Claxton is a legitimate stud defensively and I expect Bam Adebayo to struggle with the length and athleticism of Claxton.
Finally, this Nets defense is also defending the three ball well since trading away Kyrie and Kevin Durant. Over their past four games they rank third in opponent 3-point attempt rate allowed. This should not come as a surprise as any team with this many switchable, rangy, athletic defenders is going to do a good job of running their opponents off the three point line. This is key when facing a Heat team that ranks ninth in offensive three point attempt rate.
The Nets have faced three top-10 net rating teams and a Bulls team that ranks 16th in adjusted net-rating since their blockbuster trades. This team is still trying to gain chemistry with each other but I like them to get right here due to the matchup and the fact that this is the weakest team (18th in adjusted net-rating) they have played since the Kyrie trade.
I took the Nets on the moneyline and would play this up to -2 on the spread.
Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Joe Dellera: Desmond Bane has continued to excel from beyond the arc this season, shooting 43.7% from 3 and draining 3.1 on 7.1 attempts per game. Tonight, the Grizzlies host the Jazz in a smash spot prior to the All-Star break.
In five games against the Jazz over the last two seasons, Bane has averaged 3.2 3s on 7.4 attempts while exceeding this line in four of the five games.
Additionally, Memphis is favored by 8.5 points tonight against a Jazz team that traded some of their key rotational players ahead of the deadline. In the 21 Memphis wins Bane has played him, he’s drained three or more 3s in 16 of them (76%).
I like Bane to continue his sharp shooting tonight against the Jazz.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Matt Moore: Trends: The over in Thunder home games is 17-10-1 this season (63%). The over in Thunder home games where they are favored is 8-4-1 (67%).
The matchup: OKC has the second-fastest offensive possession length in the league, according to Dunks And Threes. The Rockets allow the second-fastest. You can get to your spots early. OKC is 10th in transition offense per possession while the Rockets are dead last. OKC’s going to run and run.
The number: I project this at 242. The market disagrees; this moved a point down overnight from open. Houston might not be able to put up enough here, but I want to leave open the chance for Houston’s offense to have a random night where its inefficient shooters hit if OKC’s advantages don’t play out.
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