Over NBA Bets On Wednesday
NBA Betting Lines Analytics
By Dan Favale
Placing any kind of bets at the end of the NBA’s regular season is hard. Some teams have playoff positioning to play for. Others are tanking—attempting to actively lose. And some teams don’t have anything to play for at all.
Both the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves fall under this umbrella. The Timberwolves can improve their lottery odds ever so slightly, but Tom Thibodeau isn’t one to let his troops tank. And while James Harden can perhaps make one final statement in the NBA’s MVP race, his argument, for all intents and purposes, is set—just like the Rockets’ postseason matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ergo, this game lacks meaning, and it will probably be ugly. Stingy defense shouldn’t prevail, but Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni shouldn’t be playing his main guys 30-plus minutes either.
The idea that this game will hit 227 total points, when neither side has nothing to play for, feels like a stretch.
The Pick: Under 226.5
Like the above game, this one doesn’t hold any real purpose. The Denver Nuggets have already been eliminated from playoff contention, while the Thunder are locked into the Western Conference’s six-seed.
Russell Westbrook is expected to play, and the Nuggets have the best offense in the NBA since Dec. 15, in terms of points scored per 100 possessions, but not one of these teams will be operating at full strength by the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City will be judicial with minutes for its starters, and Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has already committed to playing all the younger guys over everyone else.
Again, this isn’t going to turn into a booming defensive affair, but the absence of stakes makes it unlikely either Denver or Oklahoma City is going to be at the tops of its offensive game.
The Pick: Under 224.5
This matchup between the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards actually has meaning…for the Heat.
Though the Heat do not control their own playoff fate, they do need to win to have a puncher’s chance at getting in. From there, they need one or both of the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls to lose. So you can expect them to be trying their hardest, just as they have done since the middle of January, when they began tearing up the lead.
The Wizards are a different story. They are locked into the Eastern Conference’s four-seed. There’s no guarantee head coach Scott Brooks plays John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. And if he doesn’t play Porter—or, for that matter, Markieff Morris—the defense will implode.
At the same time, the defense has been pretty bad at full strength for the last few weeks. The starting lineup is getting pummeled, and while the Wizards now have a few extra bodies on the bench, Ian Mahinmi is the closest they come to having a defensive stopper. And he isn’t expected to play.
Plus, on top of that, each of the three previous matchups between these two teams have soarded above 207 total points.
The Pick: Over 206.5
There is plenty at stake for the Pacers in this one. If they lose, their playoff fate is out of their hands. So they’ll need to win.
The Atlanta Hawks, by comparison, are locked into the East’s five-seed. If they throw out their best players for more than spot minutes, it’ll be a genuine shock.
Still, on the season, the Pacers post a top-10 home defense. The Hawks, meanwhile, are second in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions on the road. Bake in a pair of offensive systems that haven’t yielded great results all year, and there’s a better than good chance this game fails to hit the over.
The Pick: Under 201.5