NBA Odds, Projections & Picks: Betting Analysis for Suns vs. Sixers, Warriors vs. Wizards and More (Wednesday, April 21)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
- It's Wednesday and that means Raheem Palmer is projecting spreads and totals for every matchup on tonight's big 12-game slate.
- He's also betting three matchups, including the Stephen Curry and Warriors against Russell Westbrook and the Wizards.
- Read below for his in-depth analysis and betting picks.
For the 2020-2021 NBA season, I’ll be publishing my projections for every NBA game on the Wednesday and Friday slate. 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 12-game slate.
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers
This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the night. The Suns are no stranger to beating top tier teams as they’re 19-7 against teams above .500 and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 120-111 on Feb. 13. Phoenix has out-performed the market all season long going 41-16 straight up and 36-21 against the spread. Traveling hasn’t been an issue for this team either as they’re 17-8 on the road.
The Suns are top-10 in both Offensive Rating (116.7) and Defensive Rating (109.7) in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning The Glass. Outside of Saturday night’s debacle against the Spurs where they scored just 85 points, this offense has been all but unstoppable, scoring 118.5 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
Although they’ve improved offensively, they have slipped on the defensive end of the floor as they’re just 15th in Defensive Rating over the past two weeks, allowing opposing teams to score 114.5 points per 100 possessions.
If there’s a weakness for this Suns team, it’s protecting the paint. They are allowing teams to shoot 64.6% at the rim and 42.1% in the mid-range, which rank 19th and 15th among NBA teams. These are areas of the floor where Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris should be able to capitalize on.
The last time these two teams played the Suns won 120-111 in a game that was essentially decided by the benches with nearly all of the 76ers bench having negative plus minus scores. Embiid was in MVP caliber form, scoring 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting while going 9-of-10 from the free throw line and grabbing eight rebounds and dishing two assists.
Harris also added 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Their last game was a slow paced game at just 92 possessions with both teams playing very efficient basketball as the 76ers putting up an Offensive Rating of 119.7 and the Suns putting up an Offensive Rating of 129.5. With the way the Suns are playing lately and the 76ers advantages inside, you have to expect more of the same.
Unfortunately for the 76ers, Seth Curry, Embiid, Harris and Ben Simmons are questionable for this matchup, according to our NBA Insiders tool. If they can’t play the Suns would have an edge.
As a whole, these are two equally matched teams, however the 76ers are 53-10 over the past two seasons at home so if Harris and Simmons can play I’d look toward the 76ers.
I’m going to pass on the side here but I think there’s some value on the total. My model makes this game 220 but we saw these two teams score 131 points in a slow paced game back in February.
The 76ers have gone under the total in eight out of their last 10 games while the Suns have gone over in seven out of their last 10 but based on the first game between these two teams, I believe both offenses have advantages that will allow them to score efficiently.
Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards
Is there anyone more exciting than Stephen Curry right now? We’re essentially watching Curry play like the 2006 version of Kobe Bryant night after night. He’s playing just as well as he did during his unanimous MVP season in 2016 — and he may be even better than that.
This season without the spacing of Klay Thompson and a championship level bench, Curry is averaging 31.4 points, 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds on 49.1% shooting while making 43.1% of his 3-point attempts.
Here are his scoring numbers over the past 11 games: 40 PPG | 54.1 FG% | 49.7 3FG%.
If that’s not impressive enough, Curry has made 36 3s over the last seven days, more than the Portland Trail Blazers (35), Los Angeles Lakers (35), New Orleans Pelicans (31) and Washington Wizards (30). He also has six games this season with 10-plus 3–pointers while no other player in NBA history has more than five.
Although cupboard is pretty bare for the Warriors offensively, they are scoring 118.9 points per 100 possessions over the last five games so it’s clear that as long as Curry is shooting as much as possible, this team can score.
They’re closing out their five game east coast road trip against a Washington Wizards team which is just 18th in Defensive Rating (113.2) in their non garbage time minutes. I’m not big on handicapping motivation but the last time these two teams played on April 9, the Wizards won 110-107 after the Bradley Beal’s four-point play put the Wizards up by one with 6.1 seconds to go in a game the Warriors held a three point lead.
The Warriors were laying -4.5 for the game and were a missed defensive rebound after a Russell Westbrook 3-pointer away from covering the spread, but ended up losing outright. I’m pretty sure that game left a sour taste in their mouths and with the Warriors chasing a playoff spot, this is a game they have to have.
The Warriors have a few matchup advantages offensively as the Wizards are 20th in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (37.7%) which is ideal for a team with the greatest shooter ever.
The Wizards also allow the seventh highest opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.2%) and are dead last in opponent field goal percentage in the midrange (46.1%). The Warriors performed well under expectation in their last meeting, shooting just 11-of-37 from behind the arc (29.7%) so I’m expecting a solid offensive output here.
The Wizards also left some meat on the bone offensively as they were just 5-of-19 from behind the arc (26.3%) themselves. My model makes this game 234, but I’m not buying it.
These two teams are first and second in pace with the Wizards playing at 104.57 possessions a game and the Warriors playing at 102.93 possessions a game. As long as these teams shoot a normal percentage from 3-point range, we’re looking at a high scoring game that the Warriors should win.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trailblazers
Oddsmakers opened this total at just 225.5, which made this by far my biggest edge on the board. If you’re following me in the Action App you can see plays as soon as I make them so although you may be reading this write up later in the day you can at the very least catch my plays as soon as I release them.
That said, this figures to be a high-scoring game, especially with Damian Lillard returning to the lineup. It goes without saying how much impact Lillard has on this team as they’re scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions with on him the floor vs 110.6 points per 100 possessions with him off the floor (+9.1 points per 100 possessions).
Like most Blazers teams in the Lillard era, they have a top tier offense and a piss poor defense. The Blazers are fifth in Offensive Rating (117.4) and 29th in Defensive Rating (117.5) in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Nikola Jokic comes off a game against the Grizzlies in which he scored 47 points on 20-of-31 shooting (64.5%) while adding 15 rebounds and eight assists. If that game didn’t solidify his MVP candidacy, things get a lot easier as they face a Blazers defense that ranks 22nd in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.1%), 25th in opponent field goal percentage in the mid-range (43.4%) and 23rd in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (38.1%).
Although the loss of Jamal Murray still hangs over this roster, the Nuggets are still scoring 117.5 points per 100 possessions over the last seven games without him. In the short term, the Nuggets can overcome his loss in the regular season, especially against this porous Blazers defense.
Defensively is where I have some concern for the Nuggets, though. Their metrics say they are seventh in Defensive Rating over the past two weeks (110.8), but they haven’t played an offense as good as the Trail Blazers.
Also while Facundo Campazzo is known for his energy and effort, at 5-10, there’s only so much he can do against the top point guards in this league. Ja Morant comes off a performance in which he scored 36 points and dropped 12 assists, essentially getting anything he wanted so I’m expecting a similar performance from Lillard and Cj McCollum.
The Nuggets are dead last in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (68.3%) so the the Blazers should have their opportunities to score. The Blazers are shooting the second-highest frequency of 3-point field goals (43.1%) against a Nuggets team which is 23rd in opponent 3-point shooting frequency (38.1%).
Overall, I think both teams should get theirs tonight so I look for this to be a high scoring game. I’ve already played the over 225.5 but at 228.5 there’s still some value and I would play this up to 230.