NBA Odds & Expert Picks: Wednesday’s Best Bets, Including Hawk-Magic, Bulls-Suns
Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.
- Only four NBA teams have the night off, which means we have 13 games to bet on Wednesday night.
- Three of those games have the attention of our betting analysts, including Hawks vs. Magic and Bulls vs. Suns.
- Read on for our best bets in those matchups and more.
With all but four teams in the NBA playing on Wednesday night, we’ve got a great opportunity to find value on the evening’s slate. Of the 13 games being played, two will be on NBA TV: Heat vs. Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Trail Blazers vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
However, our analysts are targeting three more matchups that aren’t featured but are worth the attention. They’re betting one total, one prop and one side of the spread in those three games. You can check out their expert picks for Wednesday’s matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: Maybe this line is high because of the Magic’s terrible defense — 25th in Adjusted Defensive Rating (114.9), according to Dunks and Threes — or maybe it’s because the Hawks are eighth in Pace (101.4). I suppose both are good reasons, but I’ll fade the offenses of both teams without losing any sleep over it.
Despite their offensive talent, the Hawks have struggled to meet scoring expectations this season. Atlanta ranks 27th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%), mainly because of their shot distribution. They take the fewest 3s in the league with only 28.8% of their shots coming from beyond the arc. They’re also a bottom-five team in Rim Rate at 31%, which means they take a whopping 40.2% of their shots in the midrange — the most in the league.
Surprisingly, the Hawks have been more of a defensive team this season. Their Adjusted Defensive Rating is 111.4, good enough for 12th in the league despite giving up the fifth-most shots at the rim. However, they limit opponents on the 3-point line, only allowing 33% of opponent’s shots to come from downtown.
The Magic match up well with the Hawks defensively despite some uninspiring numbers. Orlando gives up the second-most 3s in the league at 39.1% and the sixth-highest percentage of shots at the rim at 36.6%. The one area they seem to be able to keep opponents away from is the midrange, which they have staunchly defend.
But that’s perfect for our under bet considering the Hawks love the midrange. The number one midrange shooting team in terms of frequency vs. the number one team in midrange prevention.
Even if the Hawks decide to shoot more from beyond the arc and the Magic let them (or are physically unable to stop them), Atlanta has been one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA at 32.9%.
The icing on the cake is the recent over/under trends we’ve seen with these teams. The under is 7-3 in the last 10 Magic games, 4-2 in their last six home games, and 5-2 in their last seven against Atlanta. Meanwhile the Hawks are also playing slow lately with seven of their last 10 road games going under the total.
This total opened at 226 and has gotten as high as 228, but I would take this under at 225 or better.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jim Turvey: De’Anthony Melton is a name that NBA diehards have known for a while; a player on his third team since joining the league, who has teased talent at every stop along the way. Most notably, he has long been a steals per 36 gawd, averaging 2.3 steals per 36 minutes for his career.
With James Harden and Tyrese Maxey sidelined for the Sixers, Melton is getting the opportunity to show what he can really do with a consistent minutes every night. In the six games with him and Shake Milton in the backcourt, Melton is averaging 3.5 steals per game and had a stretch of five straight games with at least three steals.
At WynnBet, bettors can still find his line to get just two (!) steals — something he has done in all six of those games — at just -115, which is an absolute steal, pun intended.
The Cavaliers offense runs through its backcourt as well, and as such, it is unsurprising that they allow the eighth-most steals per game to their opponents. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are elite guards, but they also have the ball in the hands with great regularity, meaning that a few opposing thefts are inevitable.
Finally, this is a great spot for escalators with 3+ steals listed at +250 at Wynn.
Chicago Bulls vs. Phoenix Suns
Chris Baker: I think this number is slightly off given the Suns’ injury situation. Phoenix has been playing well and ranks third in Adjusted Net Rating, their 14-7 record is a bit misleading given the fact that they have played the sixth-easiest schedule, according to Dunks And Threes.
In 21 games this season, they’ve only played five games against teams that currently rank top-10 in Adjusted Net Rating and they have gone 1-4 ATS in those games. Their one cover was against a New Orleans Pelicans team missing Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Herb Jones.
The Suns just haven’t been tested much and I think this Bulls team may be sneaky solid. The Bulls rank ninth in Adjusted Net Rating despite playing the second-toughest schedule of opponents so far this season.
Over the past 10 days, they have beaten three top-10 Net Rating teams: Celtics (first), Bucks (sixth), and Jazz (10th). The Bulls are gaining confidence and I think they are at least as talented as this version of the Suns. They rank fourth in Adjusted Defensive Rating despite ranking 26th in opponent 3-point accuracy. Any sort of regression from their opponents and this defense goes from looking good to looking elite.
Alex Caruso should be able to log some good defensive minutes on Devin Booker and limit what Booker can do offensively. I also expect Nikola Vucevic to draw Deandre Ayton out of the paint and open up space for DeMar Derozan and Zach LaVine to go to work inside.
This number just feels off to me as I am much lower on the Suns than the market right now. I’ll be taking Bulls +6 and sprinkling their moneyline price at +185 as well.