Wednesday’s NBA Expert Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Nets-Celtics, Lakers-Pelicans, More

Wednesday’s NBA Expert Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Nets-Celtics, Lakers-Pelicans, More article feature image
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3).

With Thanksgiving less than 24 hours away, it’s the perfect time for two star players (one injured) to return the respective cities they scorned over the summer. Touché, Adam Silver.

Nets vs. Celtics and Lakers vs. Pelicans headline a massive 14-game slate with an upcoming break scheduled for the holiday, but those aren’t the only games our experts are betting on Wednesday.

See how our crew is betting tonight’s games below.

Odds as of Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: Nets at Celtics

  • Spread: Nets -8
  • Over/Under: 214
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

I love a good revenge game. A lot of times, revenge games represent one player getting back at his old teammates or on a franchise that turned on him.

In this case, it’s precisely the opposite. Has an entire franchise, city, and region ever participated in a revenge game before? We’re about to find out exactly what that looks like tonight in Boston.

Kyrie Irving isn’t playing, of course. He’s out with a shoulder injury that just happened to conveniently mean him missing a road trip against the Knicks (who he spurned for the crosstown Nets), the Cavs (he’s played just one of seven road games in Cleveland since leaving), and now the Celtics.

Truly a revenge tour that would make Jimmy Butler proud. If you think it’s awfully convenient for Kyrie to miss this Thanksgiving eve revenge game, you’re not the only one:

Kyrie looked at the schedule before the season started and planned this whole injury thing because he didn’t want to go back to Boston this upcoming week!!! He didn’t want that smoke in the Bean Town. Smh

— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) November 23, 2019

Celtics fans are over this Kyrie thing, and all the recent Boston greats have been calling him out and insisting that the crowd will be louder than ever.

Plus, you know, the Celtics are a very good team, whose point guard is valiantly returning from injury to show his team just what that’s like, while the Nets are missing the three best players on their roster.

So what does a revenge game look like when every player and fan in green is all getting their revenge at once? We’re about to find out.

The PICK: Celtics -8
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Matt Moore: Jazz at Pacers

  • Spread: Pacers -2
  • Over/Under: 209.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

Rudy Gobert is questionable in this one, and I’m playing this based on both outcomes of his availability. Last year the Jazz went 3-0 against the spread without Gobert, and the over went 3-0. Since 2017, the Jazz are 15-13 without Gobert ATS, and 10-9 as a dog. This is a small line vs. an inconsistent Pacers team whose win profile is almost entirely sub-.500 teams.

If Gobert plays, the Jazz should be able to corral the Pacers defensively. If he’s out, the Jazz offense loosens up and can outpace the Jazz in a shootout.

538’s RAPTOR projections have this Jazz -1. There’s no way Gobert is worth three points to the spread. I like the Jazz on the letdown angle.

The PICK: Jazz +110 ML
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Wob: Knicks at Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -10
  • Over/Under: 212.5
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

At some point, an eight man rotation relying on Terence Davis and Rondae Hollis Jefferson to play 25 minutes a night while the starters run 35 … in NOVEMBER … is going to catch up to the Raptors. I believe that night is tonight.

Is there a better opportunity to not show up until the fourth quarter than against the Knicks the night before Thanksgiving? I think not.

Barrett’s back for New York (hooray, I know) and with several days off between a tough loss at home vs. the Nets and the game tonight, I truly do think you’ll get a Knicks team bringing it as best they can. They probably aren’t going to win straight up, but expect this to be tight down the stretch.

The PICK: Knicks +10
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

John Ewing: Lakers at Pelicans

  • Spread: Lakers -6.5
  • Over/Under: 232
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

The Lakers opened as 6.5-point favorites in New Orleans against the Pelicans. More than 80% of spread tickets are on the Lake Show. This is not too surprising as LeBron James an Co. have the best record in the league.

Despite the public backing the Lakers the line moved from Pelicans +6.5 to +6. Though only 18% of bets are on New Orleans, it represented 55% of money wagered on the spread. This is an indication that bigger bets, often from professionals, are backing the Pelicans.

We have found that it has been profitable to follow line movement when there is a large difference between ticket and money percentages.

$100 bettors following this strategy have returned a profit of $4,665 since 2015.

Professional bettors don’t always win but being on the same side as smart money is advantageous. Money percentages and line movement indicate that sharps are on the Pelicans tonight.

The PICK: Pelicans +6.5
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Bryan Mears: Wizards at Suns

  • Spread: Suns -7.5
  • Over/Under: 240
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

I’ve written before that back-to-backs are likely overrated a bit in the early season, as players are rested; it’s not as much of a grind to play twice in two days as it is after months of action. That said, there are still spots where it likely does matter, and a road back-to-back coming off elevation in Denver might be one of those spots.

That’s where we find the Wizards today, who are coming off a non-cover against the bruising Nuggets last night. Now they’ll face a Phoenix Suns team that is finally getting a bit more healthy.

Ricky Rubio announced he’s playing tonight, which is a big deal for this team. With him on the floor, the Suns have been a ridiculous 10.0 points per 100 possessions better than with him off. He’s obviously not the world’s best shooter, but the Suns have still improved their eFG% by 4.1% with him on. He’s just an incredibly smart, steady player on both sides of the ball.

It’s not ideal that Aron Baynes is still out with a hip flexor, but the Suns with Rubio and the rest of the starters but without Baynes have still been very solid. Rubio and Devin Booker together have been in the 93rd percentile of offensive efficiency this season.

Note that we aren’t sure how much Rubio will play tonight, but unless it’s a severe minutes restriction, his addition should be a big deal, especially against a tired Wizards team with an uninspiring roster. If you want to wait for more news on that, I don’t blame you. Assuming he’s good to play decent minutes, I like this below Suns -8.

The PICK: Looking for Suns -7 but would bet at -7.5
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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