NBA Expert Picks for Wednesday: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for 76ers-Cavaliers, Celtics-Jazz, 2 Others
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell
- Our experts have made four NBA picks on tonight's nine-game slate, hitting one spread, two over/unders and one moneyline.
- Among the games they're betting: 76ers vs. Cavaliers, Clippers vs. Suns and Celtics vs. Jazz.
- Check out all four of their favorite Wednesday picks below, along with a breakdown for each.
There are nine games on Wednesday’s NBA schedule, and our experts are betting on these specific matchups:
- 7 p.m. ET: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat
- 9 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns
- 10:30 p.m. ET Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz
See the four bets they’re making below.
Matt LaMarca: 76ers at Cavaliers
- Spread: 76ers -7.5
- Over/Under: 218.0
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
The 76ers are dealing with a key injury at the moment, with star PG Ben Simmons expected to miss at least the next two weeks.
While that doesn’t sound positive, this could actually work out to be a good thing for them. The 76ers have been slightly worse with Simmons on the court this season, decreasing their Net Rating by 1.7 points per 100 possessions. That puts Simmons in just the 41st percentile for Net Rating differential (per Cleaning the Glass).
His absence has been particularly beneficial for Joel Embiid. He’s increased his usage rate by 4.5% with Simmons off the court this season, and more opportunities for Embiid is almost certainly positive for the offense. The 76ers have outscored opponents by 10.5 points per 100 possessions with Embiid on the court and Simmons off the court this season.
Embiid displayed his upside without Simmons in his last game, scoring a career-high 49 points in a 17-point win vs. the Hawks.
Fading poor teams like the Cavaliers late in the season has also been proven to be a profitable strategy. Since 2005, teams with a winning percentage of less than 40% have covered just 42.3% of the time as a home underdog when facing a team fighting for a playoff spot. Fading those teams has rewarded bettors with a return on investment of +12.3%.
I’m happy to lock in the 76ers in this situation, especially since the numbers indicate they’re actually better without Simmons.
The PICK: 76ers -7.5
Matt Moore: Wolves at Heat
- Spread: Heat -10
- Over/Under: 232.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
I’ve harped on this a lot, but since the deadline trades, the Wolves are bombing from deep. Their defense has somehow, miraculously, gotten even worse (trading Robert Covington will do that) and they are basically just running up and down the floor chucking threes and making a better percentage.
In the three games since the new guys arrived and without Karl-Anthony Towns (out: wrist), the over is 3-0. The total here is sub-235 which is all I need. Either the Heat, who have been slowly sliding and are not great at home, give up a big number and the Wolves hang around, or Miami’s cadre of shooters absolutely blister this team while putting up a 140-ish number.
Take the over.
The PICK: Over 232.5
John Ewing: Clippers at Suns
- Spread: Clippers -6.5
- Over/Under: 232
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
The Clippers-Suns total opened 233. A majority of bets are on the over but the line has decreased to 232.
Sharp action is responsible for the line movement. While more than 50% of bets are on the over, nearly 60% of dollars are on the under.
Historically, it has been profitable to follow line movement in division matchups.
Since 2005, betting unders with at least a one-point line decrease has gone 369-295-10 (56%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,733.
When the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages — called reverse line movement — that’s an indication of smart money.
The pros are on the under and so am I.
The PICK: Under 232
Brandon Anderson: Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz
- Spread: Jazz -4.5
- Over/Under: 218.5
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
It’s still impossible to get a read on the Jazz this season. They’ve been supernova hot and ice cold, with not much in between. Right now it’s much more the latter, with Utah losing eight of its last 12 games, including an ugly 2-5 at home where Utah is traditionally so tough.
The Celtics couldn’t be much hotter. They’ve won 10 of 12 and have barely missed a beat without Kemba Walker, thanks largely to Jayson Tatum taking a superstar leap right before our eyes. Boston is 18-10-1 against the spread on the road and 12-4 ATS as an underdog. This team plays with a chip on its shoulder when its backs are against the wall, and the second night of a back-to-back in Utah without its star point guard certainly qualifies.
Our Matt Moore is all over this one. Brad Stevens is 43-19 ATS as an underdog on a SEGABABA, including 39-15 on the road. Boston +5 looks like a strong play, but I’m greedy and I’m going for the outright win. Join me if you dare.
The PICK: Celtics +170