Wednesday’s NBA schedule is absolutely jam packed with compelling games. There are 13 games on tonight’s slate, including two national TV matchups on ESPN: Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets (7:30 p.m. ET) and Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
Those matchups and two other games on tonight’s slate are among our NBA analysts’ favorite bets for the night. They break down their top picks for the evening slate below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Indiana Pacers vs. Denver Nuggets||9 p.m. ET|
|Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers||10 p.m. ET|
|Pick||Jalen Green over 13.5 points|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Jacob McKenna: On paper, this does not appear to be an exciting game as each team has just one win. However, there is a reason why this game is nationally televised, and that is because it involves top draft picks Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green.
This is the first time we will see Cunningham and Green face off in the regular season, and I am backing the latter to have a big night.
Green comes into the matchup averaging 13.6 points per game this season on a little more than 12 shot attempts. He has not been efficient with his chances, shooting just 35% from the floor, but the volume has certainly been there for Green this season.
In his past two games Green has not eclipsed nine points, but those games came against Denver and Golden State, the top two teams in the league in Defensive Rating. The Pistons don’t pose that kind of threat on defense, ranking 23rd overall in Defensive Rating. Detroit is also allowing its opponents to shoot 48.5% from the floor, the highest number in the league this season.
Furthermore, Kevin Porter Jr. comes into the matchup as questionable. Green could see plenty of opportunities if he ends up missing this contest.
When you combine Detroit’s poor defense, the injury to Porter Jr., and the motivation to prove he should have been chosen number one overall, Jalen Green is in a good spot to put the ball in the basket. I would play the total to 15.5.
|Pick||New York Knicks 2Q -1|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Raheem Palmer: The New York Knicks have been downright dominant in the second quarter of games this season. This season in the second quarter, they’re 8-2-1 on the moneyline, have the league’s best Net Rating (20.8) and rank second in Offensive Rating, scoring 117.1 points per 100 possessions.
The Knicks feast on opposing benches and are holding teams to 95 points per 100 possessions in the second quarter, which ranks second in the NBA. This is an angle I’ve been capitalizing on all season and tonight presents another good betting opportunity.
The Bucks haven’t exactly been the dominant regular season team we’re used to seeing in the Mike Budenholzer era. They’re dealing with an injuries to Brook Lopez (back) and Donte DiVincenzo and the absence of Khris Middleton due to health and safety protocols. While Bobby Portis has returned, this is still a thin bench that doesn’t match up well with the Knicks.
The Knicks do a solid job at protecting the paint, allowing opposing teams to shoot 57.7% at the rim, second among NBA teams. This is an area where the Bucks thrive, however, Giannis Antetokounmpo does sit much of the second quarter.
While the perimeter defense of the Knicks will be tested — they’re allowing opposing teams to shoot 36.0% from behind the arc — I trust the Knicks bench to outscore the Bucks bench here.
On Friday, I tweeted out a play on the Knicks 2Q in their game against the Bucks and the Knicks outscored the Bucks 37-25 on their way to a 113-98 victory.
Super late add.
Knicks…..live bet them on the money line and with the points for the 2Q.
— raheem palmer (@djrtodaizza) November 5, 2021
My model likes the Knicks for the game, but I think the price is fair at this point. With the Bucks playing on the road in a back-to-back, I’d love to bet the Knicks, but at this current number, I don’t like it.
Isolating the Bucks bench against the Knicks bench, particularly in a home game for the Knicks feels like the best play in this spot.
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Joe Dellera: The Pacers are off to a rough start, but they’ve won three of their last four and are playing much better basketball. Over this four game stretch they have a +5.9 Net Rating, which is sixth-best in the league. This is partially because they’ve been shooting the lights out with an eFG% of 57.2% during this stretch, but they have the eighth-best eFG% on the season (54.0%).
The Nuggets will be without reigning MVP Nikola Jokic who was suspended for tonight’s contest against the Pacers after his hit on Markieff Morris. His absence is devastating for the Nuggets. On the season, the Nuggets are +3.5 points per 100 possessions. In all lineups without Jokic they are -22.0 points per 100.
To make matters worse they will be without Michael Porter Jr. as well since he’s dealing with his back injury. When they both are off the floor they are -34.7 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. The Nuggets simply do not have the personnel to replace Michael Porter Jr, let alone Jokic. This is a spot to fade Denver.
This line is on the move and there are still a few -2.5’s out there, but I’d take this up to Pacers -3.5.
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Austin Wang: The Heat have garnered a lot of attention as of late. They were lauded by NBA fans and media for their 6-1 start, but they’ve cooled off by losing two of their last three games. They were blown out in their last game against the Nuggets, but the moment everyone will remember is the altercation between Morris and Nikola Jokic in the fourth quarter.
The Heat are known for their tough, physical players and I expect them to feed off the energy from the controversial game. They rank sixth in Defensive Rating (103.2), which is no surprise — the frightening combination of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker almost assures this team will always be in your face. In addition, they have been one of the top teams on offense as well, ranking third in Offensive Rating (112.1).
Butler is having a career year scoring 25.3 points per game on 53% shooting from the field. He is third in the league in PER (29.2) and at this rate, should be considered a leading MVP candidate. After struggling last season, Tyler Herro is averaging over 20 points per game off the bench and proving to doubters that he wasn’t just a “one-time wonder” from the NBA Bubble.
They get to face the Lakers, who are 1-9 against the spread and will be without LeBron James for the fourth consecutive game. It will once again be the Russell Westbrook show, who’s combination of high usage, poor shooting and turnovers has been a nightmare for the Lakers.
Carmelo Anthony has been on a tear from behind the arc, hitting an average of 3.5 3-pointers per game at a 52% clip. However, the Heat are one of the best teams at defending the 3-point line.
The Lakers pulled off a win in overtime against the Hornets on Monday evening. Home teams off an overtime win are 53-107-3 (33.1%) ATS since the 2016-2017 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme The Dog. This is active as a fade on the Lakers. Teams in this situation are fatigued from the previous game and have often fallen into a letdown spot.
I make this line -6 in favor of the Heat and I make them my best bet of the day. I think the Jokic Brothers pose a bigger threat to the Heat than the Lakers do.