NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Cavaliers vs. Heat, Timberwolves vs. Lakers, More (Tuesday, March 16)
Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- This NBA slate isn't bursting with games, but it wasn't tough for our crew to pinpoint matchups with value.
- They are hitting on four games tonight, including a matchup between the young Timberwolves and the Lakers out West.
- Check out the picks they are making for Tuesday night's action below.
Tuesday’s seven-game NBA slate is anchored by two exciting matchups on TNT: Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and New Orleans Pelicans vs. Portland Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).
While one of those games is catching the attention of our NBA crew, they also see value in three lower-profile games on Tuesday night and are betting two spreads, a total and a prop. You can find their analysis and picks for those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics
Justin Phan: Big game here between the Western conference’s No. 1 team, the Utah Jazz, and Boston Celtics, tied for fifth in the East, on Tuesday night.
The Jazz are just 12-8 straight and 11-9 against the spread on the road this season — their -1.3 ATS margin ranks 21st in the NBA in this spot, according to Bet Labs. The non-Rudy Gobert minutes remain an issue for the Jazz, and that should come into play here with Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III in second unit.
I like the Celtics to cover here and bet them at +4.5 earlier. I think there’s still value in the current number down to +3.5.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Houston Rockets
Raheem Palmer: The Houston Rockets play at the fourth-fastest pace in the league this season and while much of that has to do with John Wall, this team still can’t score efficiently. The Rockets rank 28th in Offensive Rating, scoring just 106 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
There really isn’t much you can expect head coach Stephen Silas to do with this roster, particularly with Christian Wood, John Wall, Eric Gordon and Victor Oladipo in and out of the lineup on any given night. Wall is expected to be out tonight and Wood is doubtful, but could be back soon.
I can’t stress how awful this Rockets offense has been this season. They’re attempting the fourth-highest percentage of 3-point field goals and yet they rank last in 3-point percentage (33.1%). Their games are high variance, but they also rank 29th in mid-range accuracy (32.5%) and 17th at the rim (62.8%). The Rockets are 23-14 to the under this season behind only the Los Angeles Lakers, and with an offense this bad, that trend is not stopping anytime soon.
Even the Atlanta Hawks, who aren’t known for their defensive prowess, should be able to guard this team. Although the Hawks are likely to get theirs offensively against a struggling Rockets defense, I still think this total is a bit too high.
Hawks totals have been a bit mispriced this season as the the market tends to overrate their offense, which ranks 14th in Offensive Rating scoring 113.7 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes. My projections make this total 221.5, so at 226.5 I’m on the under.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat
Brandon Anderson: Our prop tool is fading Kendrick Nunn from every angle tonight, and I’m happy to join it the way things are trending.
Nunn played 40 minutes four times for the Heat in February. Starting at the end of January, he played at least 32 minutes in eight straight games, even though he was coming off the bench for most of those matchups.
Due to injury issues, Miami has leaned hard on Nunn at times, but hey’ve also gone away from him for other stretches. We saw this happen in the bubble last fall when Nunn was excised from the rotation until Miami was so shorthanded it had no other options in the NBA Finals. That seems to be happening again this season to a lesser extent.
When Jimmy Butler is out, Nunn typically plays heavy minutes and puts up solid numbers. When he’s Butler is healthy, Nunn’s role is minimized.
Well, the Heat are finally healthy, and they are winning games again — a lot of them. The Heat have won 10 of their past 11 games, so they’re not about to change their winning formula. And right now, that doesn’t include much Nunn.
He’s played 25, 29, 26, and 18 minutes his past four games, and that’s as a starter. The Heat are ramping up minutes for Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro off the bench (and it’s working), which that doesn’t leave a ton of minutes for Nunn.
We’re projecting him again tonight, with just 8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. Those numbers are about in line with his averages these past five games. When we’re fading an overall minutes total and the usage goes with it, I like to play the triple-combo prop to get that number as high as possible.
So tonight I’ll play the under 16.5 points + rebounds + assists, with our props tool giving us a whopping 26% edge in our favor with Nunn projected at just 12.0 total.
Our tool rates this bet a 10 even at 15.5 and worse juice at other books, so grab it at 16.5 while it’s available.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kenny Ducey: The Lakers haven’t been the best team to back against the spread this season, but they’ve been particularly bad on the second night of back-to-backs where they’ve gone just 2-3 ATS.
That’s one of the big reasons we’re seeing about two-thirds of the money on the Timberwolves despite just 35% of the tickets backing them to cover this spread. I’m inclined to hop on Minnesota as well.
The Timberwolves are beginning to heat up after a long, long run of 13 losses in 14 games. Rookie Anthony Edwards went for a career-high 34 points on Sunday in a win over the Trail Blazers and looks to be finding his footing as a scorer at this level. That came on the heels of a 34-point outing from Karl-Anthony Towns against the Blazers in a loss on Saturday. Minnesota has two legitimate weapons to attack opposing defenses.
While the Lakers are elite in that category this season, ranking first in the NBA Defensive Rating, they’ve slipped to ninth over the past three games with Alex Caruso joining Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol on the sidelines.
With injuries abound for LA, fatigue setting in and the Timberwolves riding in a three-game winning streak against the spread, I think the stars are aligned for Minnesota to push LeBron James and Co. I’d take Wolves to +6.
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