NBA Odds, Preview & Projections: Bets for Magic vs. Knicks, Bulls vs. Blazers & More (Wednesday, November 17)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: DeMar DeRozan.
- With a full 11-game slate in the NBA on Wednesday, Raheem Palmer has bettors covered.
- Palmer's projections have found betting value from coast to coast, culminating in Portland.
- Check out Raheem's picks below.
Here’s what you’ll find in my model: projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline.
Note: My projections won’t be updated in real-time throughout the day, but Action’s PRO Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury and lineup news.
I’ll also be highlighting some of the slate’s most intriguing matchups with in-depth, game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.
NBA Projections Model
NBA Odds & Picks
Although projections give us a solid baseline for what a number should be, it’s also important to handicap each matchup for things that the numbers can’t tell us.
Check out my analysis for tonight’s 11-game slate.
Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons
The Pacers continue their three-game road trip against the Pistons, who are one of the worst teams in the league this season.
With a 3-10 record, Detroit is 30th in Offensive Rating (98.9) and 26th in Defensive Rating (111.4) in their non-garbage-time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass. The Pistons haven’t been particularly competitive with a point differential of -10.7, going 0-7 in 10 point games. Despite this being the second game of Detroit’s five-game home stand, the Pistons are just 1-5 at home this season.
The Pacers should be able to exploit a Pistons defense that struggles on the perimeter, allowing opposing teams to shoot 40.9% from behind the arc, which is dead last in the NBA. Detroit is also in the bottom five in field goal percentage in every area of the floor except the rim, so I’m expecting the Pacers to have a solid offensive outing.
With the Pistons struggling to score consistently — they rank dead last in half-court points per play (82.2), dead last in 3-point percentage (29.7%) and bottom five in shooting percentage from every area of the floor — I’m not sure how they keep up here.
Look for the Pacers to bounce back from their loss to the Knicks on Monday. I’ll lay the 6.5 points since my model makes this 8.56.
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks should see a ton of public support with their 5-1 home record, as this one comes in the middle of a five-game homestand.
Personally, I’m not buying it as my model makes this game a pick’em and I’m not upgrading the Hawks after wins over the Magic and a banged-up Bucks squad.
The Hawks will be dealing with the loss of DeAndre Hunter, who is out for the next two months after wrist surgery. This should loom large for a team that has struggled to defend, ranking 27th in Defensive Rating (112.5) in its non-garbage-time minutes and 29th in Defensive Rating (117.6) over the past two weeks.
On the other side, Jayson Tatum is averaging just 23.5 points per game on 38.6% shooting, but I expect him to regain his previous form as the season goes on. This represents an ideal spot for him with Hunter out.
Clint Capela has looked like himself in the past two games, but for the most part he has struggled defensively. It will be tough for the Hawks to contain Boston near the basket since they’re allowing a league-high 69.9% shooting clip at the rim this season.
Although they’re still dealing with the absence of Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have been trending upward recently, winning five of their last seven games with the league’s best Defensive Rating over the last two weeks. Boston has held opposition to just 97.2 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage-time minutes.
Trae Young is averaging 25.5 points per game on 45% from the field and 39% from behind the arc, but Boston has been one of the best in the league at defending the perimeter, holding teams to 32.4% from 3-point range.
The Celtics will be missing Robert Williams for this matchup, but both Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter are questionable for tonight for Atlanta. While the Hawks have an edge in depth, I like the Celtics to keep this one close and possibly win outright.
New York Knicks at Orlando Magic
This total has gotten steamed down from 210.5, but this feels like a perfect spot to bet the over.
While Tom Thibodeau’s teams are primarily known for defense, this season’s Knicks have been anything but that. They’re just 15th in Defensive Rating (109.1) per Cleaning the Glass, but they particularly struggle in defending the perimeter. New York is conceding the second-highest frequency of 3-point field goal attempts (42.1%) and are 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage allowed (36.0%).
The Magic are just 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage (33.9%) but with them taking the sixth-highest frequency of 3-point field goal attempts, they could get hot against this Knicks team which struggles to defend the perimeter.
The last time these teams met, these teams played to a final score of 110-104 with Orlando shooting just 12-of-43 (27.9%) from behind the arc. If we can get a normal shooting night from the Magic, I expect they’ll register a decent scoring output.
On the other side of the ball, the Knicks still hold the league’s sixth-best Offensive Rating (111.5) in their non-garbage-time minutes and should find some success against the Magic, who are allowing 113.2 points per 100 possessions, which is 28th in the NBA. The Magic particularly struggle in transition, which is an area where the Knicks thrive.
I think this total is too low so I’ll play the over 208.5
Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers
This felt like a classic trap spot for the Chicago Bulls, who swept both Los Angeles teams over the weekend. But Damien Lillard is dealing with an abdominal injury and played 40 minutes on Monday night against the Raptors.
Outside of Monday’s win against the Raptors, the Blazers have looked lifeless. They were blown out by the Nuggets on Sunday night and have struggled to defend with a defense that is giving up 111.3 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage-time minutes.
Portland might have downgraded at head coach from Terry Stotts to Chauncey Billups, and it’s clear that key rotational pieces in Jusuf Nurkić and Robert Covington aren’t the same players they once were.
While we’ve seen this number move from +2.5 to +1.5, sometimes the public wins too and this feels like one of those spots, particularly if Lillard is out. (He’s listed as questionable.)
Regardless of whether Lillard plays, I’ll back the hot Bulls on the moneyline tonight before looking to fade them in the last game of their West Coast road trip against the Nuggets on Friday.