NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Wednesday’s Hawks vs. 76ers, Clippers vs. Jazz (June 16)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Morris Sr. #8 hi-fives Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers.
- Hawks-76ers and Clippers-Jazz both enter pivotal Game 5's with their series all tied at two games a piece.
- Our staff has found four different ways to bet Wednesday night's games.
- See which way they're betting and which teams will take a series lead, below.
It’s been an eventful Wednesday in the NBA with injuries and COVID dominating the headlines as they have for the majority of the regular season.
The Los Angeles Clippers will be without their star Kawhi Leonard for Game 5 against the Utah Jazz (and potentially longer) due to a knee injury he suffered in Game 4. Chris Paul is reportedly out indefinitely and has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, which will have a larger impact on the Western Conference finals.
Injuries aside, there are still two playoff games on the schedule and our NBA analysts have found four bets they like despite the chaos. You can take a look at their picks and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Raheem Palmer: Since the first half of Game 1, the Atlanta Hawks have never really been the same offensively. The Philadelphia 76ers have figured the Hawks out by putting Ben Simmons on Trae Young, trapping him and getting the ball out of his hands.
Despite the Hawks’ comeback victory on Monday night, I’m not sure anything has changed. (How likely is it that Joel Embiid will go 0-of-12 in the second half again?)
It goes without saying that everything is dependent on Embiid’s health, which is about as unpredictable as the wind, but I’m willing to bet that’s the worst performance we’ll see from him for the duration of this series.
That said, I think the edge lies with fading the Hawks offense, which has put up point totals of 102, 111 and 103 since their 128 point scoring outburst in Game 1.
It’s pretty clear that was an anomaly considering the 76ers turned the ball over 12 times in the first half; the 76ers held the Hawks to an Offensive Rating of just 100 in the second half of Game 1.
Overall, the Hawks haven’t figured out how to consistently score against this 76ers defense. I’ll play the Hawks team total under 108.5.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Kenny Ducey: This Sixers-Hawks series has been spectacularly weird. Right when it seemed the Sixers had turned it on at both ends of the floor, Joel Embiid’s knee flared up in the second half of Game 4, causing him to miss all 12 shots he took.
It seems like a fool’s errand to predict what will happen next in this series, though not in a fun way. Will there be another injury? Will Embiid magically heal? Will the Hawks decide to stop shooting 3s again like in Game 3?
Let’s look at what we do know about how Game 5 will go. For starters, the pace has leveled here, hovering right around 98 in the past three games. The Sixers’ defense has also been exceptional in the past three games, just as they have been all postseason, allowing just 104 points per 100 possessions in Game 4. The Hawks launched 40 3-pointers and a playoff-high 101 shot attempts and still only managed to barely eke out a win with 103 points.
The Sixers’ defense, with or without a healthy Embiid, has been rock steady. The offense has lagged far behind, and has been largely dependent on Embiid to get buckets in big spots.
Because I still think Philly is trying to sort things out on that end, and that I’m not sure we’re going to see the dominant Embiid we’re used to seeing, I can’t say with great confidence the Sixers are going to score a ton of points here and run away with the game.
What I think I can say with confidence is the Hawks should continue to struggle with shooting, particularly away from State Farm arena, where they have shot their best.
Hawks vs. 76ers | Clippers vs. Jazz
Brandon Anderson: We’ve got two huge Game 5s tonight in a pair of 2-2 series, and everyone is expecting the home No. 1 seeds to take care of business. The Sixers are just better and Embiid can’t possibly be that bad again; the Clippers are missing their superstar and appear to be left for dead.
I’m taking the contrarian position at this point and going for broke.
Joel Embiid is not magically going to be healthier after one day of rest. This is what we always expected might happen with the big man: he’d look as good as could be early in the series playing a team with no answers against him, but that knee injury would only get progressively worse as the playoffs dragged on.
It sure looked like things caught up to Embiid in a hurry in Game 4. He wasn’t moving much on defense, a big problem against Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic on the perimeter, and much of his offense felt hopeful and hunting for fouls instead of his usual dominant self.
As for the Clippers, they’ll certainly miss Kawhi Leonard, but Paul George has quietly had an excellent series thus far, scoring 27 points per game and making 15 3s already for the series.
He can still be the best player on the court tonight and redeem that Playoff P narrative, and the Clips have made smart adjustments and look good defensively against a Jazz team whose best player is also clearly injured. Donovan Mitchell will play through but seems to get less on that leg every game, and Mike Conley is still a question mark.
I wouldn’t quite put these games as coin flips, but I don’t think either 1-seed should be trusted to cover seven points at this stage, especially as wonky as this season has been.
I’m parlaying the Atlanta (+240) and LA (+260) moneyline prices at FanDuel for a +1124 line and just seeing what happens on a wild NBA day in a wild and wide open NBA playoffs where it feels like everything changes every single night.
That line implies about an 8% chance of hitting, and I honestly think I’d put the true odds closer to double that at this point. Neither No. 1 seed has been dominant, and both have an ailing star player.
Let’s roll the dice and see if we can roll snake eyes.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz
Joe Dellera: The Clippers received devastating news that Kawhi Leonard is not expected to play in Game 5 and may miss the rest of the series against the Jazz. With Kawhi out, the rest of the Clippers supporting cast must step up and take on increased minutes and usage.
One of those players who sees an uptick in minutes is Marcus Morris. In 14 games without Leonard, he’s averaged 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 1.0 turnover.
The Clippers will need Morris to step up and take on a higher usage rate, but this comes with consequences. Morris historically does not turn the ball over that often, and averages just 0.4 turnovers this entire playoffs. However, this season without Kawhi he’s averaged one turnover but more importantly, he recorded a turnover in 11-of-14 games (78.5%).
We just need one to cash here, and with Morris averaging 32.8 minutes per game in these playoffs, I like our chances and would play this up to -150.