NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Hawks vs. Heat and Clippers vs. Celtics (Tuesday, March 2)
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat.
We’re looking at six good games on Tuesday night’s slate — Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors has been postponed — including two awesome games on TNT: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns vs. LA Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA crew has found one spread bet and one prop bet in two Tuesday games that show value. You can find their analysis and picks for all two games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat
Raheem Palmer: The last stretch before the break is one of strangest parts of the NBA season, so you really have to tread lightly and pick your spots. Most teams are tired from the grind of the season, which has been even more pronounced this year with the condensed schedule due to the pandemic, and others have already checked out and want nothing more than to go on vacation.
The Miami Heat are trending upward heading into the break, and carry a six-game winning streak into this matchup. In a season that was derailed early by injuries and the attrition of playing deep into the NBA Finals, this team is finally getting healthy (Jimmy Butler is questionable tonight) and has the ability to build continuity without worrying about having guys in and out of the lineup each night.
Since Feb. 15 the Heat have the ninth-best Offensive rating (114.9) in the league and rank fourth in Defensive Rating (108.2), according to NBA Advanced Stats.
What’s most impressive about the Heat is that they still haven’t found their offensive footing as they’re still shooting just 35% from behind the arc with nearly every shooter on the team having regressed from last season. Miami is primarily winning on its defense and when the offense finally plays up to the level that it’s capable of, it could be a scary team during the second half of the season.
Tonight Heat face an Atlanta Hawks squad that is riddled with injuries in the absence of De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish. The Hawks rank 22nd in Defensive Rating, allowing opposing teams to score 114.0 points per 100 possessions. These two teams met on Sunday and despite 34 points from John Collins and a valiant effort to tie the game in the fourth, the Heat still ripped off a 10-0 run to close the game.
Oddsmakers opened this line at 3.5 points and although the spread was 2.5 in Sunday’s game, I’m not sure they made enough of an adjustment. The market simply isn’t accounting for how good this Heat team is currently. I’ll lay the 3.5 points with the Heat and would bet this up to -4.5.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics
Brandon Anderson: Ah yes, there’s nothing more thrilling than betting a role player to score seven points in a game featuring four All-Stars.
Nicolas Batum has quietly been fantastic for the LA Clippers this season. He was a surprise addition to the team after the Hornets moved on, and you could argue that Batum has been the third-best Clippers player this season, outside of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
You’d never know it from looking at the box score alone, though. Batum doesn’t score a ton of points or rack up assists or rebounds. But he’s a super intelligent player who almost always makes the right play, and he’s a good, versatile defender.
In short, he’s the exact sort of role player who fits what the Clippers needed next to Leonard and George — basically, everything that Marcus Morris is not.
The Clippers rely most heavily on Batum in their biggest and toughest games, and tonight’s matchup against the Boston Celtics fits the bill. The Celtics usually get up for these tough tests and play good teams close throughout.
Assuming Jaylen Brown plays (he’s listed as questionable), he and Jayson Tatum should provide a tough matchup for LA’s star wings. I expect a close game, and that should mean big Batum minutes.
Batum has played 30 or more minutes in 15 games this season. He’s scored at least seven points in all but two of those, hitting this over 87% of the time. He’s gone over this line in 67% of his appearances for the entire season. A month ago, the Celtics beat the Clippers in a close one and Batum played his most minutes of the season. He scored 16 points, and Brown didn’t even play that game.
I’m not expecting a huge game from Batum, but we don’t need one. We just need him on the court for most of the minutes, because he’s pretty likely to score seven points if he’s out there all night. I’ll play prop at -112 on FanDuel and go as high as -140.