Wednesday’s NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Celtics vs. Hawks, More (Feb. 24)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
- Wednesday brings us a nine-game slate in the NBA, including the champion Lakers in action.
- Lakers-Jazz is the premiere matchup, but there's plenty of intrigue on the docket.
- Our staff gives their best bets for the night, including a two-team parlay.
Wednesday night in the NBA usually means a massive slate a games to look forward to and tonight is no different. Among the nine games slated for tonight are two star-studded national TV matchups: Warriors vs. Pacers (7:30 p.m. ET) and Lakers vs. Jazz (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are making picks from three games on tonight’s slate and have found one total, one first-half moneyline and two spreads with value. You can find their analysis and bets on those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Celtics vs. Hawks
Raheem Palmer: These teams should be very familiar with one another after playing twice last week. Both of those games flew over their respective totals, but this feels like a great spot for an under.
In many ways, it’s telling that oddsmakers opened this total at 226.5. Last week’s overs were aided by a 40-point scoring outburst from Trae Young in their first game and a 123-point second half in their second game. That’s not to say that can’t happen today but with both of these teams playing their third game in four nights and coming off a back-to-backs, I’m expecting a lower offensive output in this spot.
The Celtics and Mavs played at a pace of just 93.4 possessions Tuesday night and the Hawks and Cavs played at similarly low pace at just 92.8 possessions. I’m assuming that we’re going to see a slower pace tonight with this being a back-to-back.
Injuries are also a factor for the Hawks and should suppress their offensive output even further. Cam Reddish is questionable after missing Tuesday game against the Cavs with a sore achilles and John Collins left last night’s game with a concussion. If both are out of the lineup, we’re looking at a Hawks offense down multiple rotation players with Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter already out of the lineup.
The Celtics are a solid defensive team, holding teams to just 110.3 points per 100 possessions (12th in the NBA this season), so the Hawks could have some trouble without a full unit. However, Boston has struggled to score recently and ranks 21st in Offensive Rating scoring 110.3 points per 100 possession over the last two weeks.
Brad Stevens can’t seem to find a solution for this offense, which has resulted in heavy isolation; that’s great when the shots are falling, but when they aren’t, this offense is as ugly as it gets.
Despite Jaylen Brown’s 29-point performance against the Mavericks, his numbers come back to earth. Over the past nine games he’s averaging 24.1 points on 46% shooting and 36% from deep compared to his season averages of 27.3 points on 50% shooting and 40% on 3s.
This Celtics’ offense depends heavily on Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker (who will likely rest tonight) and Jaylen Brown scoring in ISO situations and without a viable bench, this offensive will remain disjointed.
My projections make this game 223, so I’ll play the under 224.5 here.
Celtics vs. Hawks
Kenny Ducey: I’ll continue to go back to the well with the Celtics in their most profitable spot.
As you probably know by now, the Celtics have gone 67-48-2 against the spread on the second night of back-to-backs under Brad Stevens, good for a 58.3% cover rate. That’s second only the Heat (59-42-6) since 2013.
On the road under Stevens? Boston is 174-140-6 ATS, covering in 55.4% of those games away from home. Though the Celtics are just 3-3 ATS without rest this season, the larger sample points to a good spot to back Boston.
There’s also the fact that Boston just covered against Atlanta two games ago, after losing to them a couple nights prior. The biggest factor was paint scoring: Boston had 66 in the win and just 46 in the loss. Atlanta strangely shot the exact same percentage (33%) in both games, and rebounded pretty similarly.
With Atlanta potentially missing some or all of John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish here, its ability to slash and score inside could be severely hampered.
I also love attacking teams coming off deflating losses; we saw the Clippers turn around and stomp the Cavs just a few nights ago after blowing a late lead to the Wizards. Boston’s buzzer-beating loss on Tuesday should give them the energy and sense of urgency they need to come out strong here.
I hate the second half here, and so have the Celtics. They rank 26th in the NBA with a -2.6 point differential after halftime, compared to the sixth-best (+3.6) in the first half.
On paper, this matchup is a bit more favorable for the Celtics than the current line would indicate, so I’m going to grab the first half and save us from the heartbreak of yet another late-game gaffe.
If this gets heavier than -130, I don’t mind taking the spread up to -2.
Warriors vs. Pacers | Raptors vs. Heat
Brandon Anderson: Tonight, I’m parlaying three of the biggest All-Star snubs in the East.
First, a rare opportunity to play a double snub in Miami. The coaches disrespected the defending East champion Heat by inexplicably leaving both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo off the All-Star team because Miami’s lost a few extra games while playing with an exhausted half a roster for a month.
Hey, guess what guys play really well with an extra chip of motivation on their shoulders? Jimmy and Bam. All the better that they’re playing the Raptors who must be exhausted playing their fifth game in seven nights, including against the 76ers last night. The Raps have played the Sixers and Bucks twice each over the last week and change, and I just don’t see them hanging in there against a motivated Heat squad.
Our second snub, Domantas Sabonis, was an All Star last year and got better. He’s currently averaging a 20/10/5 slash line, making him the first player ever to put up those numbers and miss the All-Star Game.
The Pacers missed both of their games last week due to a COVID postponement (Spurs) and because Texas was without power (Rockets). So Sabonis sat at home and watched while players like Zach LaVine and Julius Randle got to put closing arguments on their All-Star candidacy.
Now the Pacers are coming off a week of rest and playing a Warriors team on the fourth game of an Eastern road trip after playing in Orlando, Charlotte, New York.
The Warriors have made their living this season by beating up on the mediocre and bad teams, but they’re only 2-7 straight up against teams in the top five of either conference. The Pacers are fourth in East and should be able to take advantage of an exhausted team.
Two tired teams vs. two teams with extra motivation? Sounds like a parlay to me. I’m backing the Pacers at -1.5 and the Heat at -2.5. Let’s ride this SEGABABA All-Star snub parlay tonight!