NBA Staff Picks: Our Experts’ 4 Favorite Bets for Wednesday, Including Clippers vs. Jazz
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams (23).
- There's no shortage of games from which to choose Wednesday night.
- Our experts have made four picks on the 11-game NBA slate, including one on tonight's final tip: Clippers vs. Jazz.
Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for the Clippers in their matchup in Utah against the Jazz due to rest, but there is still plenty of value and star power on Wednesday’s 11-game slate.
Our NBA experts have scoured the slate to find their favorites spread, total and prop bets, which they’ve detailed below.
Odds as of Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Matt Moore: Bucks at Celtics
- Spread: Bucks -3
- Total: 223.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Alright, so this thing is in Boston, which rules out the bet I want: Bucks over 112.5.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks’ team total over is the play. The Celtics have the No. 9 defense in the league so far, but that’s vs. Philadelphia (still figuring out its offense), Toronto, and the Knicks. I’m not convinced they can hang with the elite teams defensively, not yet.
But in Boston, weird things happen, and I don’t want to get hung on one of those nights where Milwaukee can’t hit water if it falls out of a boat.
The total, however, is only 223.
The Bucks were the league’s best defense last season. They are off to a slow start, 14th so far early in this year’s campaign. They’re playing at the second-highest pace this season, flying up and down the court. They’re also back to last year’s tricks, in that they’re allowing the third-most 3-pointers per 100 possessions in the league.
Boston, meanwhile, is No. 7 in both attempts and percentage from 3-point range this season.
So our possible paths to the over:
- Milwaukee overwhelms the Celtics with its length, athleticism, and shooting, and puts up a 120-ish number while Boston hits enough 3-pointers to carry.
- Boston gets stops on a Bucks team that goes cold, and takes advantage. Boston generates the third-best shot quality in terms of expected points per possession off an opponent miss, per PBPStats.
- Milwaukee gets stops and gets out and runs. Boston’s opponent expected eFG off missed shots is 13th highest. So if you miss, they get good shots and if they miss, you get good shots. Increases the odds of this being lopsided either way.
- Both teams generate points off turnovers; Boston is No. 1 in live-ball turnovers per 100 possessions, Milwaukee is No. 8. That’s important because those are breakaway scores. The Bucks are giving up 16 points off turnovers per game, top-10 in the league. Boston’s near the bottom, but that’s more a product of who they’ve played. Milwaukee’s big advantage is their ability to brush past defenders.
Boston’s also 11th in free throw rate this season, Both teams will try and go at one another. Both games in Boston last season saw the over hit.
There are paths to the under here, to be sure. These two teams can play great defense and these two teams can hit shooting slumps. But there’s a reason 97 percent of the early money is on the over as of this writing.
The PICK: Over 223 (Potentially Celtics over 110.5) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
John Ewing: Bulls at Cavaliers
- Spread: Bulls -2
- Over/Under: 218
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
Bettors are confident the Bulls will cover as small road favorites tonight. Nearly 80% of spread tickets and dollars are on Chicago. The heavy action on the Bulls has moved the line from Chicago -1 to -2.
But the public is usually wrong and the data backs up this notion. Since 2015, when we began tracking spread dollar percentages, teams receiving 30% or less of bets and dollars have created a good buy-low opportunity. The optimal situation to back these squads is when the line moves against them.
Oddsmakers are good at their jobs and opening lines usually are an accurate reflection of the skill level of the teams playing. So when lopsided action forces bookmakers to adjust a line we are able to back a team at an inflated number.
The Cavaliers are getting little support from bettors and the line has moved against them, which makes them a match for this system and bet tonight.
The PICK: Cavs +2 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Brandon Anderson: Timberwolves at 76ers
- Spread: 76ers -7.5
- Total: 222.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
The Timberwolves are 3-0 and flying high, but they could be in for a reality check Wednesday against a tough, physical Philadelphia 76ers squad. Jeff Teague has had a hot scoring start to his season, averaging 14 points a game, but don’t be fooled. Those numbers are buoyed by six free throw attempts per game and 71.4% shooting on twos, both way outside his career averages.
Rest assured Teague will find life inside the arc much more difficult against all that Philly length. Teague hasn’t been hitting his threes yet, so he could struggle to score altogether. Don’t be surprised if he ends up in single digits. All the better that you’re getting even odds at +100.
The PICK: Jeff Teague under 12.5 points (+100) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Wob: Clippers at Jazz
- Spread: Jazz -6
- Total: 214.5
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
At some point, Mike Conley Jr. is going to remember how to play basketball and return to the fringe all-star form that he’s performed at for the past decade. With Donovan Mitchell drawing their Sauron-esque eye of Patrick Beverley, I’m going to bet that night is tonight.
Conley getting buckets will ignite the best home court advantage in the league. I had a feeling this would be the first night of Kawhi Leonard’s load management routine so I bet this at -3 earlier. Grab it now before it’s too late at tipoff.
The PICK: Jazz -6 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]