NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 5 Best Bets For Wednesday, Including Hornets vs. Knicks, Heat vs. Trail Blazers (October 26)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat.
We’ve got a big Wednesday ahead in the NBA with some star-studded matchups on the slate. The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks will face off in an early evening matchup on ESPN, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets go head-to-head in the late game.
Our NBA analysts have picks for four other matchups on tonight’s schedule as well, including player props spreads and totals. Check out their analysis and best bets for those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
Jim Turvey: I’m not entirely sure where the books are getting this number. Embiid is averaging 11.3 rebounds per game right now and was at 11.7 last year. He got to 13 rebounds only 11 times in 68 games last season and has averaged 11.2 in 17 games against Toronto in his career.
It feels like they are weighing his few big rebound games to start this season (15, 12, 13 before five his last time out) a bit too heavily.
There’s also the fact that this game should be played at a snail’s pace, with the Sixers and Raptors coming in as the slowest and second-slowest teams by pace so far this season. Slower pace equals fewer shots equals fewer missed shots and rebounds.
I was all over this bet even before I saw Sean Little’s excellent breakdown on why he was going under on Tobias Harris’ rebound prop. As he notes, Toronto is one of the toughest teams in the league to get easy boards against. Pascal Siakam is grabbing boards at the highest rate of his career, and this is a gang rebounding team.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
Sean Little: The Raptors are top-five in my two favorite advanced rebound metrics:
- Contested rebound percentage: 42.7% (The percentage of rebounds players collect while an opponent is within 3.5 feet of the rebounder)
- Adjusted rebound chance: 62% (Percentage of rebounds gathered when given a rebounding chance)
In short, the Raptors compete for rebounds at a high clip. No easy boards.
Both teams are at the very bottom of the league in Pace — Raptors 28th and Sixers 29th — only the Nets are worse at 30th. Fewer possessions leads to fewer rebounding opportunities.
Harris will have to compete with his teammates Embiid and Harden who’s been cleaning the glass to start the year averaging 8.5 rebounds with nine in each of his past two games.
They are too many good board men on both sides here and the Sixers are not a good offensive rebounding team. It’s feast of famine with Harris: He’s had as many as 10 boards and as few as two this season.
Charlotte Hornets vs. New York Knicks
Kenny Ducey: The New York Knicks are up to their old tricks. No, I don’t mean authoring a series of moves that ultimately lead to catastrophe, or making careless errors that cost them games. I mean playing defense, the way they did in their first season under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Knicks currently sit fifth in defensive efficiency through three games, and while their last two contests were against poor competition, they did register a solid 107.5 Defensive Rating in their opener against the Grizzlies. That’s thanks in large part to the fact that Knicks, also in an ode to their playoff team of two seasons ago, are allowing just 27.3% of defended 3-point attempts to drop, the third-best mark in the league.
Charlotte just so happens to rank third in 3-point success rate to this point, and without playmakers LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, who’s listed here as doubtful, it is going to have few other ways to score the ball.
The Knicks are a perfect 3-0 against the spread and should improve to 4-0 with a decisive win here. Their defense should make the difference, and it’s also worth noting that the offense has posted efficiency ratings of at least 116 in their last two games thanks to some inspired play from Julius Randle.
The Hornets have struggled for years now to defend inside, and rank 11th-worst in field goal percentage inside of 10 feet thus far. I’d play this up to -8.
Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls
Munaf Manji: The Pacers’ defense is off to an atrocious start this season. How bad? Well, according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Pacers’ Defensive Rating (118.0) ranks 25th out of 30 teams thus far.
However, if we dig a little deeper, the more alarming stat for the Pacers has been their first-quarter Defensive Rating where they are giving up 132.1 points per 100 possessions. Through the first four games of the regular season, the Pacers are allowing their opponents to score an average of 35 points per game, which ranks dead-last in the entire league.
On the flip side, the Bulls Offensive Rating ranks 11th in the first quarter thus far. However, the Pacers have allowed each of their opponents to go over their first-quarter team totals so far this season. I expect the Bulls to come out firing on all cylinders and score at least 32 points in the first quarter.
Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Chris Baker: Portland has opened the season 4-0 while Miami has struggled going just 1-3 in their four games, but I think the Heat could get back on track tonight. Looking at Portland’s schedule, they haven’t really played a ton of mobile switchable big men outside of Anthony Davis.
Obviously having guys who can play at the level of the screen or switch against Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard is huge and we saw how much of an impact Anthony Davis had in that game. Portland shot just 57.1% at the rim (25th percentile) and shot 16.7% in the short-midrange (third percentile) in that game due to Davis’ gravity as a rim-protector.
I mention this game because I think Bam Adebayo can replicate the type of defensive impact. The Lakers ultimately came up short in that game because they are a uniquely poor shooting team who shot just 18.2% from behind the arc. The Heat have plenty of capable shooters and should be able to take and make more 3s than a Lakers team that currently ranks dead-last in 3-point percentage (21.6%).
Another reason I like the Heat is that they should be able to get to the rim more in this game. Every team Miami has played thus far ranks top-12 in preventing shot attempts at the rim. Portland’s defense currently ranks 25th in rim frequency after ranking 24th last season.
The Heat rank top-five in rim frequency on offense and should be able to get plenty of efficient looks a the rim. Finally, the last reason I like the heat here is that this is just a massive coaching mismatch in my opinion. Erik Spoelstra is a top-three coach for me while Chauncey Billups is still a bottom-10 coach at best.
Spoelstra should have a good game plan and have his team prepared to get back in the win column tonight. I like this up to -3.