NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Nets vs. Pacers, Bucks vs. 76ers (Wednesday, March 17)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 and Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Our NBA crew sees value in two East matchups on Wednesday night, including the Bucks and Sixers, and are betting one spread, and a prop. You can find their analysis and picks for those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers
Brandon Anderson: LeVert was part of the James Harden trade two months ago, and as part of the trade routine, doctors discovered a small mass on LeVert’s kidney during his physical. The trade may have saved LeVert’s life. It also sidelined him for two months, but he’s facing his former teammates tonight.
It’s awesome to see LeVert back on the court again. He’s stepped right into the starting lineup for the Pacers and played twice so far. LeVert is averaging 28 minutes per game as a starter. There’s not a clear minutes limit, but it does look like he’s topping out around 30 so far, a little under a typical starter.
His role has also looked a little different in Indiana, and that makes sense. The Pacers are not the Nets. Indiana is a more egalitarian team, and both Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon are on the ball a lot.
That makes LeVert a third option for Indiana, a role he struggled to adjust to with the Nets this year before the trade. LeVert typically put up his biggest numbers when he was either coming off the bench in a big role for the Nets or stepping into an outsize usage role as a starter for a shorthanded team.
Neither of those is the case for Indiana right now, and I don’t think the books have adjusted LeVert’s lines down enough yet. So far as a Pacer, LeVert is averaging 15 points per game, but that’s over only two games so it doesn’t tell us a ton. What’s more telling is his 12.5 field goal attempts per game, down from around 16.5 his last couple seasons with the Nets. His assists are also down, just two each game so far.
All of that makes sense. This is not just LeVert easing into things. It’s a different role for him in Indiana, with fewer playmaking and shot opportunities on a more balanced team.
I’m excited to watch LeVert play his old team, and there’s always the chance of a revenge type game, but that’s not really Indiana’s style. If LeVert keeps getting fewer chances to shoot and pass, his numbers simply won’t stack up to his old averages. I’m fading LeVert as both a scorer and a passer right now, so the points + assists prop lets me do both at once. Grab this at -110, but I’ll play to -130.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Kenny Ducey: I’m hopping back on the fade Philly train in an even better spot than Tuesday night. The Sixers are a dreadful 1-5 against the spread on the second night of a back to back, and 4-5 straight up without Joel Embiid.
Embiid won’t be back for at least two weeks, and it’s going to be an agonizingly long wait. Philadelphia is scoring 12.1 fewer points per 100 possessions without Embiid, and while it shoots 2.4 more 3-pointers per 100 possessions, it’s knocking down just 33.4%.
Milwaukee, like New York on Tuesday, has a good perimeter defense, which has the sixth-lowest Defensive Rating over the past 10 games at 107.8. On top of that, opponents have shot just 34.4% from deep, the fifth-best mark in the NBA.
The Sixers pace up even more with Embiid off the court, and the Bucks will be fine with that, ranking third in the NBA with a rating of 102.23. I suspect more possessions will favor the Bucks, who are the far more efficient team on that end of the floor, and match up well with a team which is weaker on the interior with Embiid. The Bucks shoot just 37.8 3s per game, which ranks 28th in the NBA.
The Bucks have covered just six times in the past 10 games, but this line is short enough for me to back. I’d bet it to -7