NBA Betting Lines Picks Tonight
All Wednesday night gamelines come courtesy of TopBet. Please be sure to double-check these lines before placing your wagers, since they can and will move back and forth prior to tipoff.
Boston Celtics (-1) at Charlotte Hornets (+1)
Boston Will Emerge From Its Slump To Stomp All Over Charlotte
Things have not been peachy keen for the Boston Celtics in recent weeks. Their scorching-hot start to the season has faded, leaving them to play .500 basketball over their last 12 games or so. And not only have they fallen from the NBA’s top defensive pedestal, but they rank 15th in points allowed per 100 possessions through their last 10 tilts—a mark that puts them right in line with the truly porous Phoenix Suns.
Fortunately for them, though, playing the Charlotte Hornets acts a nice cure-all. They still don’t have Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to play through his illness, but they also continue to fare like the worst team in the league whenever Kemba Walker steps off the court.
Compounding matters even further is Walker’s own performance. He remains the heartbeat of the Hornets’ offense, but he’s shooting under 39 percent—and under 31 percent from three—in his 12 games since a return from a shoulder injury.
Unless he’s pinpoint perfect, the Hornets shouldn’t stand a chance in this one. Worse, even if he is flawless, they still probably won’t win.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-1)
New York Knicks (+1.5) at (Chicago Bulls (-1.5)
The Knicks Stink On The Road, But Roll The Dice On Them Anyway
The New York Knicks remain one of the worst road teams in basketball. They’re 2-10 away from Madison Square Garden, over which time they’re getting pounded by 10.7 points per 100 possessions—the third-worst mark in the league, in front of only the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have verged on juggernaut status since Nikola Mirotic returned to the rotation. They’re 8-2 over their past 10 games and outpacing opponents by nine points per 100 possessions whenever he takes the court. And although they’ve capitalized on some inferior competition, they’ve also chopped down on a few quality rivals, including the Milwaukee Bucks…twice.
And yet, the picks lies with the Knicks. They’re due to experience some semblance of success on the road, while the Bulls are working on the second night of back-to-back after playing Milwaukee down to the wire. We don’t yet know if Mirotic is cleared to log heavy minutes in consecutive days either.
So long as Kristaps Porzingis isn’t a last-minute scratch, this game should belong to New York.
The Pick: New York Knicks (+1.5)
Toronto Raptors (+4) at Oklahoma City Thunder (-4)
Continue to Ride OKC’s Hot Streak
This is dangerous territory for the Toronto Raptors. They’re one of the NBA’s best road teams and sporting the top defensive rating over their past nine games, but they’re working on the tail end of a road-and-road back-to-back. That never quite bodes well.
Head coach Dwane Casey probably won’t dole out rest nights following Tuesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. That should allow the Raptors to hang around. But the Oklahoma City Thunder have been a different squad recently. They’re coming off a nice Christmas Day victory, at home, against the Houston Rockets and are 11-4 over their last 15 games, during which time they’ve propped up an average offense while still hovering inside the top six of defensive efficiency.
Cobbling together league-average performances on the more glamorous end is hardly worth a trophy when you have Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook. But the Thunder have struggled all season on the offensive side.
Any progress is a big deal—as is their top-seven net rating at home.
The Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder (-4)
Denver Nuggets (+5.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves (-5.5)
Don’t Trust the Wolves
Picking the Denver Nuggets to cover on the second night of a back-to-back is definitely a risk—particularly when they’ve proved to be putty away from the Pepsi Center. But head coach Mike Malone was able to give his key players some rest during their romp over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and Nikola Jokic’s return from a sprained ankle has visibly galvanized his teammates.
Plus, you know, trusting the Minnesota Timberwolves is overrated. They have a blase net rating at home and don’t defend especially well no matter where they play. Their shot profile is also bogged down by a lack of three-pointers, which could come back to bite them if Denver’s shooters are connecting on kick-outs and drop-offs from Jokic.
Keep an eye on Jokic’s status for tonight’s affair before submitting a wager. The Nuggets could play it safe and give him a rest right. But if he maintains the green light he’s being given as of now, feel good about banking on Denver to bring this thing into crunch time.
The Pick: Denver Nuggets (+5.5)
Brooklyn Nets (+10.5) at New Orleans Pelicans (-10.5)
Take A Chance On Brooklyn
Investing in the Brooklyn Nets on the second side of a road back-to-back is typically taboo. But their date with the New Orleans Pelicans represents a special exception.
For one, these Nets aren’t last year’s Nets. They’re begging to find their way on the defensive end. They place 13th in points allowed per 100 possessions over their last 15 games and are always catching opponents off-guard with their high-octane efforts.
A fresh Pelicans squad might be ready to blow them out of the water, but we know better. They’ve been one of the NBA’s most turbulent seesaws all season. Counting on them to cover a double-digit spread against a plucky upstart registers as a demonstrative risk.
Besides, they’re not dominant at home. They’re 8-7 in front of their own fans, with an average plus-minus south of 0.5. The Nets aren’t some superpower on the road by any stretch; they’re getting outscored by an average of 5.6 points when playing in hostile territory. But that’s not a horrid mark. Pit it against the Pelicans’ mediocre score, even on the tail end of a back-to-back, and we should be in for a semi-competitive dance-off.
The Pick: Brooklyn Nets (+10.5)
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