NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Celtics vs. Heat, Suns vs. Warriors and More (Wednesday, March 30)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.
- Raheem Palmer is firing up his NBA betting model once again for Wednesday night's basketball games.
- He's making picks on Mavericks-Cavaliers, Timberwolves-Raptors, Celtics-Heat and Suns-Warriors below.
- Check out his analysis and projections for tonight's massive 11 game slate.
We only have two more Wednesday night’s left in the NBA regular season, so let’s keep attacking the biggest slate of the week the way we always have.
As usual, you’ll find projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline in my betting model below.
As the season winds down, I’m also looking at first-half numbers for each game on the Wednesday night slate.
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.
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.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Dallas Mavericks are playing on zero days rest after their 128-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers last night. Normally I’d like to avoid these spots where you have a team playing on a back-to-back with their third game in four nights, the market has overcorrected here with a Mavericks team that didn’t have to play heavy minutes.
The Cavaliers will also be missing both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley who was the catalyst for their success, leading them to a 5th ranked Defensive Rating (108.9) in their non-garbage time minutes per Cleaning the Glass.
The absence of Allen and Mobley are significant and we’ve seen the Cavs struggle with a 7-12 record without Allen on the floor this year. With Mobley also out, the Cavs will have to find a way to overcome an offense which is scoring just 114.5 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, 19th among NBA teams.
Since the All-Star break, these are two teams headed in completely different directions with the Mavericks going 11-5 and the Cavs going 7-10 with a Net Rating of -3.4. The Cavs have lost three out of their last four games with their only win coming against the Orlando Magic who benched all of their starters the entire fourth quarter as they looked to develop younger talent and put themselves in position for a higher draft pick.
Luka Doncic has been on a tear since the break, averaging 29.4 points on 47.2% shooting along with 7.3 assists and 9.2 rebounds. While the Mavs will be missing Spencer Dinwiddie for this matchup, this is still a defense which is 7th in Defensive Rating and show be able to slow down this inept Cavs offense.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors made easy work of the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 103-91 victory when these teams met back in February. Things could be a lot different this time around with these two teams battling for playoff seeding as they look to stay out of the Play-In Tournament.
When they met back in February, the Timberwolves were playing their third game in four nights after winning a 126-120 overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets the night before.
The Raptors came into the game well rest and it’s no surprise, they held the Wolves to just 91 points on 0.93 points per possession. The Wolves shot just 39% from the field and 23.8% from behind the arc in a game where they held a lead going into the 4th before melting down in the last 12 minutes.
Nonetheless, I think the Wolves are the better team and my model reflects that as I make this game a PK, totally disagreeing with the market that has the Raptors pegged as 2.5-point favorites.
Outside of the Boston Celtics, the Timberwolves are the hottest team in the league since the All-Star Break, going 12-5 with Net Rating of 9.2 behind an Offensive Rating of 120.4 and the Defensive Rating of 111.1. Although the Raptors have been in solid form recently, winning three straight against the Cavaliers, Pacers and a depleted Celtics team which rested their starters, this is a huge step up in competition.
Karl-Anthony Towns should feast on a Raptors defense which is 22nd in field goal percentage at the rim (66.1%) and with the better offense, I’m not sure the Raptors can keep up. The Raptors are just 27th in half court points per 100 possession (91.2) and they face a Wolves defense which has the 10th best Defensive Rating in the half court (93.6).
In addition, the Raptors are a team which tends to generate much of their offense in transition where they’re 6th in points per 100 possessions (3.5). The Wolves are top 10 in transition points per 100 possessions (2.4).
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
This feels like the ideal buy low spot for the Miami Heat who have been in a total tailspin lately. They’ve lost four out straight games before bouncing back with a 123-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. They now take on the Boston Celtics who have been red-hot, winning 29 of their last 37 games with Jayson Tatum is playing at an MVP level.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, they’ve lost Robert Williams for the season with a torn meniscus which hurts their defense which is first among NBA teams with a 106.7 Defensive Rating.
While that may not hurt them for this matchup, the Celtics have reached the peak of their value laying 5.5 points against a Heat team which is still one of the best teams in the East. It feels like oddsmakers are shading this spread a bit too high as my model makes this game Celtics -4.5.
This is still a team which is 4th in Defensive Rating (108.8) and with Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro healthy, I’m expecting a prime effort here. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown questionable I like the Heat to cover and potentially win this game outright.
Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors
This is by far the most perplexing line of the night with my model using Post-All-Star break numbers making the Suns 9-point favorites tonight. The Golden State Warriors have the tools to defeat the Suns in a seven game series given their ability to switch defensively, however without Steph Curry this team is drawing dead.
Missing your star player who is averaging 25.5 points along with 6.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds hurts but Curry’s box score stats doesn’t do his impact justice. The Warriors are a whopping 12.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor.
A large part of that is on offense where having the gravity of the game’s best three point shooter leads to open shots for everyone else. It’s no surprise the Warriors have lost three straight games and six out of the last seven with losses against the NBA’s bottom feeders in the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the Suns remain the best team in the league with a 61-14 record and a league best +8.5 Net rating.
This team ranks second in both Offensive Rating (117.0) and Defensive Rating (107.5) in their non-garbage time minutes per Cleaning the Glass and teams don’t stand a chance in a close games where they’re a league best 31-6 the clutch, which NBA.com defines as games which have a point differential of 5 or less with five minutes to go.
While this spread opened at 6.5 it’s being bet down which may indicate that the Suns may rest but I’m not buying it. If they play the Suns should cover this number.