NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Pistons vs. Wizards, Cavaliers vs. Bulls (Saturday, April 17)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Deni Avdija #9 and Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards.
On short slates like the one we have for Saturday, it’s easy for the big games to capture all the attention while other games go unnoticed. Today the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers face off in an early game (4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), while the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics meet in primetime (8:30 p.m. ET on ABC).
But our NBA analysts are focused on two under-the-radar games and are betting one prop and one total in those matchups.
Take a look their in-depth analysis and picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards
Brandon Anderson: Washington’s rookie forward from Israel finally seems to be finding his footing in the NBA.
Deni Avdija just turned 20 at the start of January, and he’s had a choppy transition into the NBA, which has resulted in uneven minutes for the Wizards, even as Washington struggles through the season.
Over the last 12 games, things are looking up for Avdija. Most importantly, he’s finally establishing some serious playing time, averaging 28.9 minutes per game over this stretch.
His scoring and rebounding numbers are both up. Avdija is averaging 7.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 steals + blocks per game during this stretch. He’s not exactly filling up the box score, but this is much more consistent production than early in the year.
Avdija has matched his career-high of 10 rebounds twice, and he set a new career-best with 16 points in another game during this stretch. He’s show that he can be good passer and has five games with multiple assists over this span.
We only need 13 points + rebounds + assists (PRA) for our over. That’s not much to ask for from a guy our tools are projecting will play 31.2 minutes. Avdija is averaging 14.0 PRA during these 12 games, and he’s gone over 12.5 PRA in seven of 12.
This is also the second game of a back-to-back for Washington, and since Avdija played just 20 minutes yesterday, this could be an opportunity for the youngster to play a bit more.
We project Avdija at 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. That would put him at 15.6 PRA, clearing this number by nearly 25%. That’s a pretty significant edge on a relatively low number. Let’s give the rookie a chance. I’ll play to -135.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls
Justin Phan: The wheels are coming off for the Chicago Bulls who have lost five in a row and are down Zach LaVine for a few games due to Covid protocols. They have struggled post All-Star break with a 6-15 record over that span, but the defense has been particularly bad.
Over their past 10 games, the Bulls rank 25th in Defensive Rating (116.3), according to NBA Advanced Stats — they were 19th (111.8) in the 45 games prior.
In their past five games? They rank 29th and are allowing 119.7 points per 100 possession despite playing at the seventh-slowest pace in the NBA over that span.
This is the lowest total on the board today and I’m taking the over. I grabbed this at 213.5, but the total is as low as 211.5 at some books. I like this up to 214.5.