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NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Raptors vs. Timberwolves, Nuggets vs. Warriors & More (Wednesday, February 16)

NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Raptors vs. Timberwolves, Nuggets vs. Warriors & More (Wednesday, February 16) article feature image
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Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

  • It's the last Wednesday slate before the week-long All-Star break and Raheem Palmer has four bets for tonight's games.
  • He has betting angles on Pistons-Celtics, Raptors-Timberwolves, Nuggets-Warriors and Jazz-Lakers, plus projections for every matchup based on his model.
  • Read on for his in-depth analysis and picks.

It’s Wednesday once again and tonight’s slate is even more important with Friday’s usually large slate empty for the All-Star break. Let’s take a look at what my model is projecting for tonight’s schedule.

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

Click on a game to skip ahead
Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. ET
Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. ET
Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers
10 p.m. ET

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.

Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics

Pick
Under 213.5
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

The Boston Celtics have the league’s top ranked Defensive Rating (96.2) over the past two weeks and tonight they’re matched up against a Detroit Pistons team which is 29th in Offensive Rating (103.3) and dead last in Offensive Rating the last two weeks (103.1).

The Celtics have seen their games go under in five out of their last seven games and have the sixth highest under rate going 35-24 to the under this season. A big part of their high under rate is not only the Celtics defense but it’s also their offense which is just 18th in Offensive Rating (111.0). While the Celtics shot 25-of-45 (55.6%) from behind the arc, that was well over their season averaging and I expect them to regress to the mean tonight on the back-to-back.

Oddsmakers set this total at 213.5 and based on how the Pistons offense is likely to perform against the Celtics tonight, the only way this goes over is if we get another big offensive performance from the Celtics.

My model makes this game 208 so I’ll take the under here.


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Toronto Raptors at Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick
Raptors -1.5
Gametime
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

This is a prime situational spot for the Raptors who take on a Timberwolves team that overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat the Charlotte Hornets in overtime Tuesday night. Anthony Edwards left that game with an ankle injury and is questionable tonight. While Toronto’s Fred VanVleet is questionable, the market seems to indicate he will play as the Raptors have gone from 1-point underdogs to 1.5-point favorites.

The Timberwolves are just 3-5 against the spread on zero days rest this season with a Net rating of -3.4 behind an Offensive Rating of 112.7 and a Defensive Rating of 116.1 per NBA.com.

When teams are tired, the defense typically suffers and it feels like that will be the case here. The Timberwolves have struggled to defend over the past two weeks (19th in Defensive Rating) allowing 114.7 point per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.

If the Wolves’ defensive rotations are a step too slow that could hurt them tonight as the allow the sixth-highest frequency of 3-point field goals (39.3%) and they particularly struggle to defend corner 3s where there allowing opposing teams to shoot 38.5% from behind the arc, 19th among NBA teams.

The Raptors are also 12th in 3-point shooting percentage (35.8%) so look for them to take advantage of this. They’re also fifth in transition points per 100 possessions, so I’m expecting the Raptors to run it a ton tonight against a tired Wolves team. I’ll lay the -1.5 points with the Raptors.


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Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

Lean
Nuggets +5.5
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass 

The Golden State Warriors have been struggling on the defensive end of the floor. For much of the season they’ve been first in Defensive Rating, allowing just 105.6 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass. However, over the past two weeks, they’re allowing 116.4 points per 100 possessions.

The Warriors don’t have many creators outside of Stephen Curry, so they’ll need to win with their defense. But without Draymond Green, they’ll struggle in that area, particularly at protecting the rim. Without Green they’re allowing teams to shoot 66.1% at the rim, 23rd among NBA teams.

They’ll have to deal with Nikola Jokic who could be headed for his second straight Most Valuable Player award as he’s averaging 25.8 points, 7.9 assists and 13.7 rebounds. The Nuggets rank fourth in field goal percentage at the rim and we can expect a big night from Jokic in that area considering Ivica Zubac was 8-of-10 from the field for 18 points in the Clippers 119-104 win on Monday night.

The Clippers shot a whopping 91.7% at the rim which was in the 99th percentile of all NBA game this season. Provided that the Nuggets get anything out of the supporting cast, they’re extremely live in this spot.

The Warriors are also 0-5-1 against the spread in their last six games with a push coming against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It also took a 33 point performance from Klay Thompson to beat a struggling Lakers team by three points.

Meanwhile the Nuggets have won four out of their last five games. My model, using numbers from the past month, puts this game at +3 so I’ll take the Nuggets to cover here.


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Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers

Pick
Jazz 1H -2.5 | Full Game -4.5
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

The Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers are two teams headed in completely different directions.

The Jazz are winners of six straight while the Lakers come into this matchup hoping to get a win after losing three in a row and four out of their last five games. While they were competitive against the Warriors, that game felt more indicative of the current state of the Warriors who were missing Draymond Green and appeared tired headed into the all star break after losing three of their last four games.

While the Warriors have seen their top ranked Defensive Rating slip to 23rd over the last two weeks (116.9), the Jazz have improved over that same span and rank third in Defensive Rating allowing just 102.6 points per 100 possessions. Since Donovan Mitchell returned in early February, the Jazz are scoring 126.1 points per 100 possessions, first in the NBA over that span.

The Lakers may have LeBron James (questionable) and Anthony Davis but they simply aren’t a good team. The Jazz have advantages all over the floor, particularly in the half court where they have the league’s best Offensive Rating (100.8), while Lakers’ defense ranks 17th (95.3). The Lakers are 24th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (66.2%), an area where the Jazz rank second, shooting 70%.

The Lakers will also struggle to keep up with Utah’s three point attack and should have a major math problem here given that the Jazz are shooting a league leading 43.4% of their field goals from behind the arc and making the sixth highest percentage (35.2%). The Lakers as a whole are just 22nd in Offensive Rating (109.7) and lineups with James and Davis are only scoring 108.1 points per 100 possessions which is in the 22nd percentile among two-man lineups this season. Making matters worse, the Lakers are being outscored by 2.7 points per 100 possessions with their two stars on the floor.

My model makes this game Jazz -6.5 so at -4.5 I think this line is short. I’ll lay the points with the Jazz by taking them full game and first half as they should head into the All-Star break flying high by winning their seventh straight game.

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