NBA Best Bets: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for Pistons vs. Cavaliers, Celtics vs. Spurs & More (Wednesday, Jan. 27)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers standout Collin Sexton.
- We have another stacked midweek NBA card on deck Wednesday, with our staff experts targeting three games on the slate.
- Take a look at our crew's Best Bets, which include a side and two totals, below.
We have another massive, midweek NBA card on the schedule Wednesday, featuring 12 games going on across the country. Our experts have zoned in on a trio of games they think provide the best bets.
NBA Odds & Picks
Pistons vs. Cavaliers
Brandon Anderson: The total for this game is falling, and I can’t figure it out.
Look, I get it. No one outside the upper Midwest gets particularly excited about the Pistons or Cavaliers. These teams aren’t the most enthralling, and they don’t rank particularly high on my League Pass rankings.
Yet, apparently the books aren’t watching either, because this total is based on outdated views of both teams.
Cleveland games have gone over the total on five consecutive occasions, while Detroit has hit the over in five of its last six contests. The Pistons play faster without sidelined Blake Griffin, with Detroit games over in three of four games without him.
The Cavaliers are also much faster with “Sexland” — Collin Sexton and Darius Garland — back in the mix. While they juice the offense, they also hurt Cleveland’s sparkling defensive numbers. They make the Cavs a bit more balanced overall, for better or for worse.
Cleveland’s Defensive Rating has already dropped out of the top 10.
This line is ticking downward, so I’m tempted to wait, but I’ll grab the over 213.5 in case it starts to move back the other way. It might not be sexy — or maybe it will with Sexland in the lineup — but recent trends say the points are trending up when both of these teams play.
Kings vs. Magic
Raheem Palmer: My projections make put total at 225, with the market currently set at 224. This got steamed up, but I’m not sure it’s enough. The words “dumpster fire” don’t even begin to do justice how bad this Sacramento Kings defense is, which is giving up a whopping 118.7 points per 100 possessions this season.
They’re dead last in the NBA, yielding the highest eFG% (57.1%) and sit in the bottom five of nearly every opponent shooting statistic, including shots at the rim (67.4%), which is troubling when facing the Orlando Magic and Nikola Vucevic.
The Magic’s offense might not be anything to write home about, but if you combine a bad defense plus a team that is top 10 in pace, you have the recipe for an over. It’s no coincidence, the Kings are 10-6 to the over this season.
I’ll keep playing their overs until the markets adjust.
Celtics vs. Spurs
Joe Dellera: The Spurs have surprised me a bit this year, as they’re 14th in Net Rating. San Antonio has lagged a bit offensively, as it’s just 18th in Offensive Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats.
However, the real story today is that the Celtics are finally at full strength with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown active together for the first time this season. It’s incredibly impressive the Celtics have the seventh-highest rated team in Net Rating (+3.5), considering their injuries and COVID-19 situation. Now, we will finally see their best, full lineup.
Last season, all lineups with Walker, Tatum and Brown were +9.7 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. This rank, which was in the 95th percentile of all lineups, was due to excellent ranks both offensively and defensively. This should provide a nice boost to the Celtics, who are +4.3 points per 100 possessions on the season.
This trio provides Boston with some additional spacing, and since Walker is a true point guard, it will take some of the playmaking responsibilities off Brown and Tatum. It will also allow them to shine off the pass rather than needing to create for themselves off the dribble.
Additionally, this matchup could present a math problem for San Antonio. While the Spurs are the eighth-best team in limited opponent’s three-point attempts per 100 possessions, they give up the fifth-highest three-point percentage to opponents (38.2%), per NBA Advanced Stats.
This is problematic, because the Celtics have the sixth-best three-point shooting percentage in the league at 38.3 percent.
Boston is a top team and finally fully healthy, which has me believing this spread just is not big enough, especially considering head coach Brad Stevens is 57.1% ATS on the road, per BetLabs.
I’m backing them to take care of the Spurs on the road.