Wednesday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers & Hawks vs. Knicks (Wednesday, April 21)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
- Nearly every game on Wednesday's 12-game hoops slate has some implication for the postseason.
- Our NBA analysts are eyeing two games tonight: Hawks vs. Knicks and Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers.
- Check out their full breakdowns and betting picks below.
It’s Wednesday night in the Association and there are a ton of games on tonight’s NBA slate, including the Phoenix Suns facing Philadelphia 76ers (7 p.m. ET) and the Memphis Grizzlies facing the Los Angeles Clippers (10 p.m. ET) on NBA TV.
But with so many games, our analysts are looking at two other pivotal matchups that could have an impact on the highly competitive playoff races in both conferences. They break down those games and their favorite bets for tonight below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
Joe Dellera: The Knicks are red hot and have ripped off seven straight wins — which is the longest active streak in the NBA. If they continue that streak tonight, they will take control of the No. 4 spot in the Eastern conference. While the Hawks have also won eight of their last 10 games, I think this spot favors New York.
When examining both of these teams over the past two weeks, New York has a +8.6 point differential per 100 possessions and the third-best defense in the league, while Atlanta is +2.2 and they have the eighth-best offense in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. When the Hawks have played top-10 defenses this season, they are just 7-11 and the Knicks are 9-9 against teams with top-10 offenses.
In their previous two contests, the Knicks have held Atlanta to just 32.8% shooting from beyond the arc, a significant deviation from their 37.7% mark over the course of the season. If the Knicks can replicate this defensive performance, they should complete the season sweep of the Hawks.
When teams have played back to back sets, it is natural to expect a fall off due to the lack of rest; however, the betting market adjusts for this.
This season, teams playing at home on the second night of a back-to-back are 85-78-1 against the spread. In other words, rest has been overrated for home teams. The Knicks are 7-4 ATS overall and and 4-1 ATS at home playing on no rest. The Hawks are also playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but are just 4-5-1 ATS this season in that spot. I like the Knicks to cover here as dogs.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Raheem Palmer: This figures to be a high-scoring game, especially with Damian Lillard returning to the lineup. It goes without saying how much impact Lillard has on this team as they’re scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions with on him the floor vs 110.6 points per 100 possessions with him off the floor (+9.1 points per 100 possessions).
Like most Blazers teams in the Lillard era, they have a top tier offense and a piss poor defense. The Blazers are fifth in Offensive Rating (117.4) and 29th in Defensive Rating (117.5) in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Nikola Jokic comes off a game against the Grizzlies in which he scored 47 points on 20-of-31 shooting (64.5%) while adding 15 rebounds and eight assists. If that game didn’t solidify his MVP candidacy, things get a lot easier as they face a Blazers defense that ranks 22nd in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.1%), 25th in opponent field goal percentage in the mid-range (43.4%) and 23rd in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (38.1%).
Although the loss of Jamal Murray still hangs over this roster, the Nuggets are still scoring 117.5 points per 100 possessions over the last seven games without him. In the short term, the Nuggets can overcome his loss in the regular season, especially against this porous Blazers defense.
Defensively is where I have some concern for the Nuggets, though. Their metrics say they are seventh in Defensive Rating over the past two weeks (110.8), but they haven’t played an offense as good as the Trail Blazers.
Also while Facundo Campazzo is known for his energy and effort, at 5-10, there’s only so much he can do against the top point guards in this league. Ja Morant comes off a performance in which he scored 36 points and dropped 12 assists, essentially getting anything he wanted so I’m expecting a similar performance from Lillard and Cj McCollum.
The Nuggets are dead last in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (68.3%) so the the Blazers should have their opportunities to score. The Blazers are shooting the second-highest frequency of 3-point field goals (43.1%) against a Nuggets team which is 23rd in opponent 3-point shooting frequency (38.1%).
Overall, I think both teams should get theirs tonight so I look for this to be a high scoring game. I’ve already played the over 225.5, but at 229.5 there’s still some value and I would play this up to 230.