Wednesday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Timberwolves vs. Nuggets, Grizzlies vs. Blazers and More
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaren Jackson Jr.
- With 11 games on the docket Wednesday night, our NBA staff went all out.
- We have six picks from six writers, starting in Cleveland and ending in Portland.
- Check out their analysis and bets below.
We have an 11-game slate in the NBA on Wednesday night and more bets than you’ll know what to do with.
From coast to coast, we have you covered. We’ll start in Cleveland, then eventually move our way all the way out to Portland, where the Trail Blazers have been struggling mightily.
We have six writers with six picks. Get your bets in, sit back and enjoy tonight.
NBA Odds & Picks
Rockets at Cavaliers
Matt Moore: The Cavs are 10-0 in their last 10. The Rockets, on the other hand, are 9-1.
The Cavs have been absolutely phenomenal over the past month. We’ve been wondering on our Buckets podcast when the market would adjust. This number represents that it has. Cleveland being a 9-point favorite or more vs. anyone in the preseason was unthinkable.
The market has adjusted to Cleveland but not to Houston. Houston has played phenomenal over the past 10 games. They went to a small-ball approach and it has opened the floor significantly. Houston also has the bigs with Christian Wood and Alperen Sengun to fend off the Cavs’ three-headed monster of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen.
Houston plays a switching defense primarily, and that’s given Cleveland trouble. The Cavs are 2-4 vs. the other top four teams out of top five in switching per 100 possessions, according to Second Spectrum data.
I have this with Cavs -3. I’m not sure if Kevin Porter Jr.’s injury should move it, but even accounting for Houston’s injuries and Cleveland’s surge, I can’t get this to more than Cavs -5. They’re good. They’re legit. But I’m willing to take nearly double-digits to 8.5 with the Rockets.
Lakers at Mavericks
Raheem Palmer: This is one I gave out on the Buckets podcast and live stream with my colleague Matt Moore on Tuesday night.
The Mavericks will be missing Luka Doncic for the third straight game due to left ankle soreness. While they’ve played well without him in the lineup, this feels like a spot where they’ll miss his scoring and playmaking ability.
Dallas is just 19th in Offensive Rating (109.0) this season, particularly struggling from behind the arc. The Mavs are just 26th in 3-point shooting percentage (33.2%) despite shooting the sixth-highest frequency of 3-point field goal attempts (40.3%).
LeBron James is probable but even without him in the lineup, the Lakers should be able to capitalize on a Mavericks defense that is 21st in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.5%). That means Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook should find plenty of success here, especially since Dallas is just 17th in half-court points per play.
Overall, this feels like a perfect spot for a Lakers team to get right as they look to climb up the Western Conference standings.
Lakers at Mavericks
Kenny Ducey: It’s been a fool’s errand to back the Lakers in any capacity this year with a 11-17 record against the spread, but lately things have seemed to change. L.A. has covered four times in its last six games, and in that time has ranked fourth in defensive efficiency by allowing 104.1 points per 100 possessions and fourth in rebounding rate.
Making matters tastier, the Lakers are still getting a point at most books, and as the underdog this year have gone 5-4 ATS. That encapsulates this season for L.A. from a betting perspective; when the market has really doubted them, they’ve been fine, and when they’ve been big favorites, they’ve almost never covered (just twice when laying five or more points).
This is a favorable matchup for a lot of reasons. First of all, the Lakers rank third in attempts per game in the restricted area, thanks in large part to LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis all ranking in the top eight in shots per game in that zone. The Mavericks have been a weak team inside all season long and have allowed the eighth-highest field goal percentage in the restricted area. L.A.’s rebounding over the last six games has also been exceptional, furthering its edge around the basket.
On top of it all, the Mavericks will be playing without Luka Doncic here, and while they have won two straight in his absence, those wins have come against the Thunder and Hornets. I’m expecting Wednesday to go a little differently. I’m going to back the Lakers to win the battle down low and win the game. I’ll lay up to 2.5 points.
Pelicans at Thunder
Matt Moore: OKC is 29th in defense over the past two weeks. The Pelicans are 19th the past two weeks and 26th for the season.
OKC averages the fourth-fastest offensive possession length in the league. The Pelicans operate out of transition the fifth-highest percentage of time. The Thunder allow opponents to spend the fifth-highest percentage of time in transition. The Pelicans should push pace more than they usually do in this game, creating a faster game.
I have this modeled at over 220, with a big edge toward the over.
Hornets at Spurs
Joe Dellera: The Spurs host the Charlotte Hornets tonight, and it is officially a Dejounte Murray Day. The San Antonio guard has been exceptional this season with averages of 18 points, 8.4 rebounds, 8.3 assists and two steals across 34.3 minutes per game.
One thing to keep in mind for tonight’s game is the Pace at which both of these teams play is fast — the Spurs are seventh and the Hornets are third. Moreover, when we look at these team’s Possession Length, the Hornets and Spurs have Offensive Possessions Length are 14.0 seconds (second fastest) and 14.1 seconds (third), respectively while remaining about league average on Defensive Possession Length.
This coupled with the Hornets’ league-worst Defensive Rating creates a perfect recipe for a fast-paced game with more possessions and opportunities than usual for Murray. The Hornets allow the second-most rebounds per game (47.9), and the most assists per game (26.2).
This is a smash spot for Murray. If you’re interested in escalating Murray I would look at his rebound total. He has cleared his prop line of 7.5 in six of his last 10 games while reaching double digits (10 + rebounds is +240) in four of those.
However, the bet that I prefer is his Rebounds + Assists line, which is set at 15.5. Murray has cleared that number with ease in eight of his last 10 games with an average total of 17.5. This gives flexibility, and he should blow by this line in tonight’s contest.
Timberwolves at Nuggets
Brandon Anderson: If things are tight, it’s always nice to fall back on an old friend. If you’ve been following our daily player props all season, you know that probably means Jarred Vanderbilt. We’ve played Vanderbilt successfully a few times already, often on big alternate line hits, and it’s always for his one elite skill: rebounding.
Vanderbilt is an energy guy. He plays at 110% at every moment, chases after every loose ball and racks up a metric ton of rebounds. That was his standout skill as a recruit and in college at Kentucky, and it’s carried over to the pros. Vanderbilt averages one rebound every 3.0 minutes for his career, and he’s been even better this year with that number down to 2.9.
Minnesota inserted Vanderbilt into its starting lineup this season, and he’s playing over 31 minutes per game over the last seven games, his highest stretch of the season. He’s averaging 10.6 rebounds in that stretch, basically right at his usual per-minute pace. In 19 starts this season, Vanderbilt has hit double-digit rebounds nine times, just under half of them.
All the better that the Wolves are playing Denver. Minnesota has the worst defensive rebounding percentage in the league — that’s part of why they’re playing Vando more lately — but Denver ranks second to last in offensive rebounding percentage so that evens things out. Karl-Anthony Towns also struggles as much against Nikola Jokic as any opponent in his career with frequent foul trouble, so that could lead to more Vanderbilt minutes and rebounding opportunities.
And if you’ve followed Vanderbilt at all, you know that when the rebounds spike, they can really hit big. Vando has 12 or more rebounds in seven of his 19 starts (37%), and we can play that alternate over at +280 (implied 26% hit rate). He’s had at least 14 rebounds three times already this season too.
Don’t go crazy here. I’ll do a half unit on the over-9.5 and another half on the over-11.5, splitting my unit bet in two. Vanderbilt can get into foul trouble himself, and we’re DOA if his minutes drop. But in his nine games this year with at least 27 minutes, Vanderbilt is averaging 11.4 rebounds with 12 or more boards in six of the nine, so if we get our minutes, we’ve got potential for a big hit.
Grizzlies at Trail Blazers
Matthew Trebby: The Trail Blazers are 1-9 against the spread (ATS) and straight-up (SU) over their last 10 games, so we’re going to keep the good times rolling and fade them again.
Damian Lillard is back, and a win on Tuesday night over the Suns would’ve done a world of good to stop the bleeding. Portland is 10-6 on the season at home overall, but it has lost its last five at the Moda Center.
Memphis, meanwhile, is thriving without Ja Morant. The Grizzlies have won eight of their last nine games ATS and SU, and they’ve taken their last four road games, as well.
In December, the Grizzlies have the best Net Rating in the NBA (20.6) and by far the best Defensive Rating at a staggering 96.8. Portland, meanwhile, is 0-6 this month with a -14.9 Net Rating that ranks 29th in the NBA, above only the Thunder.
You can still get -2 at FanDuel and a couple other places, but I’d feel comfortable playing this all the way up to -5. One team is thriving and is literally the best in the league at the moment, and that team didn’t play an overtime game last night. The other … well, is in a bit of turmoil.
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