What a great day to bet the NBA. It’s as if the league tried to fit as many basketball games as humanly possible into one day and the result is an awesome 13-game slate headlined by two star-driven matchups on ESPN: Heat vs. Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Trail Blazers vs. Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are serving up quite the sampling of bets for Wednesday night that includes props, spreads and totals. Check out their analysis for four of tonight’s games and their favorite bets below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Bulls vs. Cavaliers Spread||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Thunder vs. Raptors Prop||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Trail Blazers vs. Warriors Prop||10 p.m. ET|
|Celtics vs. Clippers Total||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Celtics vs. Clippers Spread||10:30 p.m. ET|
Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Matt Moore: Based on full season numbers for both squads (which includes a dip for Cleveland’s bad injury week and a half and a mostly full-squad Bulls team minus Patrick Williams), I have this at Cavs -3 based on halfcourt and transition data.
Then you factor in that DeMar DeRozan is out (along with Coby White and Javonte Green), and there’s great value here.
My concern is that the Cavs rank 27th in opponent points off turnovers, 29th in turnover rate, and Chicago ranks fourth in points off turnovers. That’s Chicago’s lifeline offensively, as the Bulls are the No. 1 team by a wide margin in transition points per possession. But Cleveland is better on defense in both halfcourt and transition, and without DeRozan, Chicago’s offense will be challenged on the road.
Cleveland is 8-3-1 against the spread at home this season, and with their three big lineup of Markkanen, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, they have a considerable size advantage over Chicago.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Toronto Raptors
|Pick||Scottie Barnes 2+ 3 Pointers (+240) | 3+ 3-Pointers (+850)|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Joe Dellera: Scottie Barnes is a stud. He’s started every game this season and is a legitimate Rookie of the Year Candidate putting up 15.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 35.6 minutes per game for the Raptors. Barnes has flourished in this offense and neither the presence of OG Anunoby (who is out tonight) nor Pascal Siakam has limited his abilities.
Barnes seems to have added a new element to his offensive repertoire: the 3-point shot. He had not attempted more than three 3-point shots until Nov. 28, since then he has taken nine, six, six and two. The two attempt game is not surprising considering he was lined up against the Washington Wizards who are elite at not only limiting 3-point opportunities (30.5% frequency – No. 1), but also at locking down those limited attempts (33.9% opponent 3-point percentage – No. 9), per Cleaning the Glass.
The Thunder? Not so much.
The Thunder allow opponents to take the third-highest frequency of shots from 3-point range, 41.4%, while allowing the fifth-worst 3-point percentage, 36.8%. They were just cooked by another Rookie of the Year candidate, Cade Cunningham, who drained six against them on Monday night.
The line tonight is set at 0.5 (-180), which Barnes has cleared in five of his last seven. However, due to the juice, I’m much more interested in his escalator lines. The 2+ 3s prop is (+240) and the 3+ 3s prop is (+850) on FanDuel.
Considering the implied odds of both of those (29.4% and 10.5% respectively) and the Thunder’s 3-point defense, I think this is a solid play. DraftKings has 3+ 3s listed at +700, which doesn’t present as much value, but if that’s all you have it’s worth a sprinkle.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors
|Pick||Stephen Curry Breaks 3-point Record 200-1|
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: Stephen Curry is slowly inching closer and closer to the all-time NBA career 3-point shooting record of 2,973 by Ray Allen.
Well, “slowly” and “inching” are both pretty blatant lies. Curry is blazing toward the record at a wild pace, and he’s going to break it very soon. He is 16 3s away from breaking it and he’s hitting 3s at an even more historic rate than he ever has before. He’s making 5.5 treys on 13.2 attempts per game right now, both all-time record paces and hitting 42% of them, which is somehow below his career average.
At 5.5 made 3s per game, Curry is a mortal lock to break the career record before that road trip is over. That means tonight is his last chance to break the record at home before a five-game road trip.
He’s also playing against the Trail Blazers, the team he has the highest scoring average against in his career. And by the way, 16 makes would also be a single-game record for 3s, stealing back the record from teammate Klay Thompson.
I think there’s a real shot he breaks the all-time record tonight at the Chase Center.
It sounds crazy, but you have to believe Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will let him rip if he gets close. Curry has taken at least 16 3-point attempts five times this season and his high so far is 20. If he’s anywhere near the record, he’ll go way over that number.
He is a career 43.2% shooter and at that rate, if he attempts 20 3s, binomial probability says he has about a 1-in-1123 chance to break the record tonight. But if he’s close, he should push past 20 attempts. Give him 23 shots instead and he’s suddenly all the way up to 1-in-103.
At 25 attempts, he moves to 1-in-34, or implied +3300. And remember, that’s at 43.2%. Curry shoots 44.1% for his career at home and 45.3% against Portland. If Curry gets hot, maybe he pushes that to 50% … or beyond.
PointsBet has some special 3-point Curry props available, and one of them is for Curry to break the all-time record tonight against Portland. That’s listed at 200-1 odds.
I’m playing the narrative and betting on history tonight at home in front of a roaring crowd on ESPN. And if you like the angle, you’ve got a couple other ways to hedge in case we get close but can’t quite get there. If Curry gets to 10 or 12 3s before falling short or going cold, that still gives him an excellent shot of breaking the record next game in Philadelphia against his brother Seth Curry; you can beet that at +900 at PointsBet.
You can also bet Curry to score 40 or more points at +870 at FanDuel tonight. If he gets those 10 or 12 3s, that’s a pretty easy hedge too, and obviously it’s free money if he comes close to our record.
Look, don’t go crazy here. We’re literally betting on something that’s never happened in league history. Maybe you split one unit between the three bets, or even half a unit or 0.1 units. But think of it as an entertainment fee. And think how fun it will feel in that inevitable 90-second span when he hits a trio of 3s as the crowd erupts and ESPN goes to commercial.
Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers
|Tipoff||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Kenny Ducey: The L.A. Clippers may rank 11th in Pace, but over the past 10 games they have lagged behind in 23rd. The Celtics have been a slow-paced team in pretty much every split, whether it be for the season or over the last 10 games, where they are 17th or lower.
Now that we’ve established that this game should be played at a slow pace, giving it a deservedly-low total, we can talk about these defenses, which both rank inside the top 10 in efficiency rating. The Celtics’ weakness has been in the restricted area this year, as evidenced by last night’s assault on the rim by the Lakers, but that shouldn’t be an issue here.
The Clippers have opted for threes 41.7% of the time, and rank 11th in mid-range attempts per game this year. Their offense is built around shot creation and three-point jumpers, which should play right into Boston’s hands. I think both defenses should succeed.
The Celtics will be on the second night of a back-to-back here, and in those scenarios the under has gone 9-5-1 this season. In all Clippers games, the under has a record of 14-11. Given this matchup between two good defenses, and the expected pace, I’m backing those trends to continue. Take it to 209.5.
Boston Celtics vs. L.A. Clippers
Raheem Palmer: Although I had futures on last year’s incarnation of the Los Angeles Clippers, I’m not much of a fan of this year’s version. They struggle to score consistently, ranking 26th in Adjusted Offensive Rating, scoring just 105.4 points per 100 possessions, according to DunksAndThrees.com.
This is a team that is highly dependent on jump shooting with jut 29.7% of their attempts coming at the rim, 24th among NBA team. If there’s any team equipped to deal with perimeter shooting it’s the Boston Celtics with Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart who are holding teams to 33.9% from deep, eighth among NBA teams.
While the Celtics offense has slipped during this road trip — they are giving up 114.4 points per 100 possessions over the last two weeks — they’ve faced much better offenses than what we’ve seen from the Clippers this year. The Clippers appear to be a sinking ship, losing four out of their last six games and this feels like another good spot to fade them with my model making this game a PK.
I’ll take the Celtics here at +4.5 even on the back-to-back in Staples Center.