NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Kings vs. Bulls, Jazz vs. Lakers & More (February 16)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Rudy Gobert #27 and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz.
- Looking for an edge on Wednesday's massive NBA slate?
- You're in luck. Our NBA analysts are eyeing four games on tonight's schedule: Kings vs. Bulls, Spurs vs. Thunder, Jazz vs. Lakers and Nuggets vs. Warriors.
- They break down those matchups, including their betting picks below.
It’s the last Wednesday before the NBA’s All-Star break and tonight’s slate is loaded up with 11 games for bettors to dive into. The schedule is anchored by two games on national TV: Nets vs. Knicks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Jazz vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
But our betting experts are seeing value in games that aren’t in the spotlight and they have four picks for tonight’s games, including bets on the spread in two games and props in two others.
Read on for their in-depth analysis and best bets for Wednesday night.
NBA Odds & Picks
Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls
Kenny Ducey: To no one’s surprise, the Kings have begun focusing on scoring inside in wake of the Domantas Sabonis acquisition. The big man is taking 13 field goal attempts per game through his three contests, which is up from 12.1 earlier this year in Indiana, and Sacramento as a team is taking 31 3s per game, which is down by roughly three attempts compared to their season average.
Now that Tyrese Haliburton is gone, we need to focus on this team’s ability to score inside. That’s a very scary concept considering the Bulls have the league’s ninth-best defense in the restricted area, according to NBA.com, and an imposing big man in Nikola Vucevic.
Sacramento was just taken to school down low by LaMarcus Aldridge in a losing effort against Brooklyn, which again isn’t really a surprise given Sabonis’ questionable defense. I think things could get out of hand against a frontcourt as strong as Chicago’s. I like the Bulls to cover this number at home.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Joe Dellera: When the Spurs essentially gave Derrick White to the Celtics it opened up expanded minutes and roles for both Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell. (I wrote more about those two here.) Aside from Johnson and Vassell, other players have seen their floor rise, even if they are not seeing sharp upticks in usage or minutes.
One such player is Doug McDermott. White was actually a pretty poor 3 point shooter, but he was taking 5.3 per game. Those looks are now up for grabs and while Johnson and Vassell are taking the lion’s share of that, McDermott is the best shooter of the bunch. McDermott is shooting 43.9% from 3-point range on the season, but he’s actually running even hotter of late and is shooting 55.6% from deep over the last two weeks.
Without White, McDermott take 6.6 3s per game, an uptick from 5.1 in the 37 games they played together. But more notable, he’s making 3.8 per game compared to 2.1. This matches up well against the Thunder.
While the Thunder defend the 3-point line fairly well, they allow 3-point attempts at the fifth-highest frequency in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. McDermott takes 55% of his shots from 3-point range, and since White was traded we’ve seen this number trend up to a whopping 61%.
McDermott’s 3-point prop is set at over 2.5 (+130 Caesars), a number he has cleared in each of the last three games since White was traded and a number he has cleared in seven of his last 10 games.
I’m also interested in his escalator props. 4+ (+300) and 5+ (+830) are available on FanDuel. He has played three games against the Thunder over the last two seasons, in those games he has made 6, 2, 6 but in the game with just 2 makes, he played just 19 minutes.
This differs drastically from the norm for him as McDermott averages 24.6 minutes per game and he’s played fewer than 20 minutes in just 7 games this season. I’ll take McDermott to go over his 3 point prop at 2.5 for a full unit and then sprinkle the 4+ with and 5+.
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Brandon Anderson: We’re projecting Curry at 29.7 points and 5.3 treys tonight, making both of those overs the top plays in our Props Tool, but I’m using this as a chance to get more aggressive.
If Curry has a good game, then he’s only a couple shots away from a great one — and if he misses and goes under, he’s often going under by quite a bit anyway.
Curry has 18 games of 20 points or less and seven with 15 or under. That means we could go WAY under here. But he also has 13 games with at least 30 points, including four of these last 13 while busting out of this slump. That means he’s scored at least 30 in 25% of his games, even including the long slump, so I’m taking a shot at 30-plus with +210 odds.
And you know we have to sprinkle a couple alternate overs from there too. You know how Steph has scored 30 in 13 games? Well he’s had 35 or more in 10 of those, and that line is at +560. That implies a 15% hit rate, but he’s done it in 19% of his games. I’ll split my bet between those two and then sprinkle just a touch on a 40-point game at +1300. He’s done that six times already, and he’s hit 39 and 40 during this recent stretch.
If Curry is going to make a run at this MVP, a big game against Nikola Jokic would be a great place to start. Plus, it’s the last Warriors game for a week so maybe we get a few extra minutes and shots up too. He had eight 3s on Monday night. Let’s see if that slump is really finally behind him.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Raheem Palmer: The Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers are two teams headed in completely different directions.
The Jazz are winners of six straight while the Lakers come into this matchup hoping to get a win after losing three in a row and four out of their last five games. While they were competitive against the Warriors, that game felt more indicative of the current state of the Warriors who were missing Draymond Green and appeared tired headed into the all star break after losing three of their last four games.
While the Warriors have seen their top ranked Defensive Rating slip to 23rd over the last two weeks (116.9), the Jazz have improved over that same span and rank third in Defensive Rating allowing just 102.6 points per 100 possessions. Since Donovan Mitchell returned in early February, the Jazz are scoring 126.1 points per 100 possessions, first in the NBA over that span.
The Lakers may have LeBron James (questionable) and Anthony Davis but they simply aren’t a good team. The Jazz have advantages all over the floor, particularly in the half court where they have the league’s best Offensive Rating (100.8), while Lakers’ defense ranks 17th (95.3). The Lakers are 24th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (66.2%), an area where the Jazz rank second, shooting 70%.
The Lakers will also struggle to keep up with Utah’s three point attack and should have a major math problem here given that the Jazz are shooting a league leading 43.4% of their field goals from behind the arc and making the sixth highest percentage (35.2%). The Lakers as a whole are just 22nd in Offensive Rating (109.7) and lineups with James and Davis are only scoring 108.1 points per 100 possessions which is in the 22nd percentile among two-man lineups this season. Making matters worse, the Lakers are being outscored by 2.7 points per 100 possessions with their two stars on the floor.
My model makes this game Jazz -6.5 so at -4 I think this line is short. I’ll lay the points with the Jazz by taking them full game and first half as they should head into the All Star Break flying high by winning their seventh straight game.