NBA Betting Analysis for Wednesday: Odds & Picks for Heat vs. Nets, Hawks vs. Pelicans, More
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
- On Wednesday in the NBA, 10 games are in action, including the Heat vs. the Nets and the Grizzlies facing the Blazers.
- Also, the Hawks are facing the Pelicans at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
- Raheem Palmer projects four games before the solid slate tips off.
It’s another big Wednesday night in the NBA, which means I’m back breaking down some of my favorite matchups using my betting model.
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 10-game slate.
Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets
The Nets opened as favorites to win the NBA title, but through the first four games of the season, they don’t appear to be in sync yet. Although many believed the Nets would be able to survive the absence of Kyrie Irving, they are scoring just 106.8 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes — 19th among NBA teams.
This biggest problem with the offense is that Harden hasn’t been the player we’re used to seeing since he emerged as a star with the Houston Rockets. Harden is averaging just 17.3 points on 36.4% shooting with a career low 3.2 free throw attempts per game.
The change in how fouls are called this season has dramatically impacted his game so far, but we’re also seeing Harden struggle to to generate shots at the rim where he’s shooting a career low 25% of his field goal attempts. The Nets have an Offensive Rating of just 102.2 with Harden on the floor and are -16.6 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the court.
This is particularly problematic given the Nets’ lack of playmakers outside of Harden and Patty Mills. Their offensive struggles are particularly concerning against the Heat who boasts the league’s top rated defense, allowing 91.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
Although some of that is skewed by their blowout win against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat defense should still give the Nets problems as they’re are allowing teams to shoot the fourth-worst percentage from midrange (31.5%) an area of the floor where the Nets are taking 36% of their field goal attempts.
Things aren’t much better on the other side of the ball for the Brooklyn Nets where they rank 18th in Defensive Rating, allowing 108.8 points per 100 possessions. With the Heat looking to show they’re a championship contender and the Nets playing their third game in four nights, this feels like the perfect spot to catch them before they do get in sync.
Take the Heat +4 and feel free to sprinkle a little something on the moneyline.
Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Pelicans
This number got steamed from the opener at 222, so much of the value has been sucked away from this line, however looking at these two teams I’m not seeing a high scoring matchup.
Unders are 32-22 (59.3%) this season and a big reason for that is the way fouls are being officiated this season. Trey Young is going to the line just 5.3 times per game compared to his 8.7 and 9.3 attempts the previous two seasons.
The Hawks offense is still top 10 in Offensive Rating (111.3) in their non garbage time minutes, but the real edge in this matchup lies with the Hawks defense against the Pelicans offense. The Hawks sport the league’s third-best Defensive Rating (95.5) and they’ll be facing a Pelicans team that ranks 28th in Offensive Rating (96.9) this season.
The absence of Zion Williamson has been catastrophic for the Pelicans — they scored 116.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor vs. 110.2 with him off (+6.6) last season. There isn’t an easy way to replace 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 61% shooting.
Although Brandon Ingram is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists, he’s only taking 2.8 free throw attempts per game and shooting five 3s per game. The majority of his field goal attempts are coming in the midrange and long midrange where he’s attempting 52% and 33% of his shots. He ranks in the 100th percentile and 89th percentile in those two areas. He simply doesn’t have the shot profile you’d like in the modern NBA.
The Pels don’t have a ton of scoring around him outside of Jonas Valanciunas. Overall, this number is a bit too high given the struggles of the Pelicans offense. My model makes this game 219, so at 220 I like the small value on the under here.
IndianaPacers at Toronto Raptors
These two teams are polar opposites, which makes this one of the more intriguing matchups on tonight’s slate. The Raptors have one of the league’s best defenses, allowing opposing teams to score just 100.5 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
The size and length of OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes makes the Raptors tough to deal with on a nightly basis. Unfortunately for the Raptors, they struggle to score in the half court where they’re generating just 80.6 points per 100 possessions and they rank 28th in Offensive Rating (98.4) in their non garbage time minutes. That could change here against the Pacers who will be the worst defense the Raptors will have faced on this young season.
The Pacers rank 24th in Defensive Rating (111.5) in their non garbage time minutes, so the Raptors should be able to score more efficiently than they have in previous games.
The Pacers are the far better offensive team however and Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon have started off the season strong, both averaging 24.8 points per game while leading the Pacers to the league’s eighth-best Offensive Rating (111.3).
With the defense struggling, this team has found itself in dog fights with close games against the Charlotte Hornets, WashingtonWizards, struggling to close out games in the clutch before their overtime win against the Heat on Saturday.
With the Raptors sporting the better defense and being the home team, I’d lean towards them as these teams will also meet again in Indiana on Saturday. However, this isn’t a play for me unless this number goes up to Raptors +2. Be sure to monitor our Action Labs markets page to see how the line is moving in real time.
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
This number got steamed down from the opening number of 235, but my model makes this 242 so it feels like we have a huge edge on this game. The Grizzlies lead the league in both points per game (123.3) and Offensive Rating, scoring 123.2 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
That shouldn’t change against the Trail Blazers who are playing at the fastest Pace in the league (107.5) and rank 26th in Defensive Rating (113.4) in their non garbage time minutes.
The Blazers are allowing opposing teams to shoot 71% at the rim. Guess who leads the NBA in generating shots at the rim? The Grizzlies who are generating 41.9% of their field goal attempts at the rim.
The Blazers also aren’t defending the 3-point line well and with the Grizzlies performing well from the two most efficient areas of the floor, I’m not seeing how we get any offensive regression from the Grizzles in this spot.
All things considered, this Blazers offense has truly underperformed this season as they’ve fallen from the league’s second-highest Offensive Rating (119.1) last season to 12th (109.5) this season. Some of that is due to the struggles of Damian Lillard who is averaging just 17 points on 36% shooting this season. Regression could be on the way, though, with the Grizzlies boasting the league’s worst Defensive Rating, allowing 117.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
With the Grizzlies also struggling to defend the 3-point line and the paint, this feels like an over. I’ll play the over 234.
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