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NBA Odds, Projections & Picks: Betting Analysis for Lakers vs. Timberwolves, Raptors vs. Clippers & More (Wednesday, March 16)

NBA Odds, Projections & Picks: Betting Analysis for Lakers vs. Timberwolves, Raptors vs. Clippers & More (Wednesday, March 16) article feature image
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Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers.

  • Raheem Palmer is firing up his NBA betting model once again for Wednesday night's basketball games.
  • Can the Lakers bounce back? Can the Raptors sweep the West coast road trip?
  • He's analyzing those plus two NBA totals. Check out Raheem's model projections for tonight's NBA slate below.

There are so many great games on tonight’s slate, it was hard choose. But there are four that stand above the rest in terms of value, according to my model.

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. But through the end of the season, I’m also looking at first-half numbers for each game on the Wednesday night slate.

NBA Projections Model

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. ET
Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors vs. L.A. Clippers
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 12-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.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Over 219
Gametime
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

If you listened to the Buckets podcast or follow me on the Action App, I mentioned this total as I liked the over at 217.

My colleague Matt Moore and I called the last Cavaliers-76ers game on the NBABet Stream a few weeks ago and noticed the Cavaliers pushing the pace. They were able to get easy buckets against a 76ers defense that ranks 24th in transition points added per 100 possessions (3.1) and they should be able to do that tonight as well.

The Cavaliers will be without their center in Jarrett Allen, which is a huge disadvantage when facing Joel Embiid. For much of the season, the Cavaliers were winning with their defense, which ranked fifth in Defensive Rating holding opposing teams to just 108.0 points per 100 possessions. Over the past two weeks, however, the defense has fallen off a cliff, allowing a whopping 117.1 points per 100 possessions, 20th among NBA teams.

The 76ers’ offense is rolling with Embiid and James Harden at the helm, and I expect both teams to score at will. My model makes this game 220, so there’s some value on the over.


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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick
Wolves 1Q -2.5 | 1H -5.5 | FG -9
Gametime
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

This is another game we gave out on the Wednesday Workshop podcast, which has moved in our favor. The Lakers are dead as fried chicken to quote Jules in Pulp Fiction — 2-8 since the All-Star break and 0-8 in games in which LeBron James doesn’t score 50 points or more.

The Lakers now face a Timberwolves team that has taken them into the deep waters and drowned them with or without James and Anthony Davis winning 107-83 and 110-92 in previous matchups this season.

The one game the Wolves didn’t win against the Lakers, they were missing both Karl-Anthony Towns and DeAngelo Russell. Towns has been particularly dominant against the Lakers this season, averaging 28.5 points on 59.5% shooting along with 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

That should continue here against the Lakers who are playing small with James at Center and allows the 11th-highest frequency of field goal attempts at the rim (33.9%) while ranking 22nd in opponent field goal percentage (66.2%). Over the last two weeks the Lakers are just 27th in Defensive Rating (122.4) so they have no hope of stopping a Timberwolves offense scoring 123.1 points per 100 possessions, fourth among NBA teams.

To put it short, these are two teams headed in completely different directions. The Wolves are first in Net Rating (11.9) going 9-2 since the All-Star break while the Lakers are 28th (-8.5) going 2-8.

I’ll lay the points with the Timberwolves in the first quarter, first half and full game against a Lakers team which has appeared to quit on the season.

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Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors

Pick
Under 220
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

The Celtics and Warriors meet in a game between two of the best defensive teams in the league. The Celtics are first in Defensive Rating (106.5) and the Warriors, who recently welcomed the return of their top defender, Draymond Green, are third (107.0).

With Green on the floor the Warriors are allowing 103.4 points per 100 possessions vs 108.5 with him off the floor (-5.1), so this defense should be able to lock in hold down a Celtics offense which is just 18th in Offensive Rating (111.9).

Both of these team are in the middle of the pack offensively when facing teams with a top-10 offense, so I’m expecting a grind it out game where both defenses slow each other down. Neither one of these teams play a particularly fast pace with the Warriors ranking 14th in pace (98.6) and 12th in Offensive Length of Possession (14.4 seconds) while the Celtics rank 24th in pace (96.8) and 25th in Offensive Length of Possession (15.1 seconds).

Both defenses are so good that they tend to slow the Pace of their opponents with the Warriors ranking 24th in Defensive Length of Possession (14.8 seconds) and the Celtics ranking 15th in Defensive Length of Possession (14.7). With my model making this game 209, I’ll play the under 220 in this spot.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Pick
Clippers +1.5
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

This is a prime spot for the Toronto Raptors to have a let down, particularly after winning four of their last five games on this West Coast road trip and defeating the Lakers 114-103 on Monday night.

With a night to party in L.A., this could be a bad spot for a team which could be missing Fred VanVleet for this game. VanVleet is questionable for tonight’s matchup with knee soreness and comes off a game in which he shot just 3-of-14 from the field for 11 points agains the Lakers.

Nonetheless, both of these teams are playing their third game in four nights, however the Clippers are at home and did rest Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris in Monday night’s 111-120 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I feel the wrong team is favored here, especially if VanVleet isn’t playing or isn’t 100% as the Clippers are a bit deeper. I’ll play the Clippers at +1.5 in this spot.

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