Wednesday’s 10-game NBA schedule is packed with tons of great matchups. The national-TV doubleheader will be handled by ESPN, featuring the Brooklyn Nets at Houston Rockets & Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers.
I had another 2-1 night (can’t get that perfect night!) to move the season-long record to 36-21-2 ATS (63.2%). Here are five free NBA picks for tonight’s games; the Bulls-Pelicans matchup has a bonus play attached to it.
Utah Jazz (-3.5) at Philadelphia 76ers – Total: 228
UTA: 4 games in 6 days PHI: normal rest
I may end up regretting this “too good to be true” opportunity after the game, but resisting is not an option here. The Jazz are not playing their best basketball right now, and that’s OK- they can afford it with the NBA’s best record at 27-8.
However, let’s not get all googly-eyed just yet. Utah has dropped two games already in the first three on this East Coast road trip. Not to mention, this is the team’s last game before the All-Star break. There isn’t as much urgency for the Jazz to win this game, while Philly is clinging to the No. 1 seed in the East with the Nets nipping at their heels.
Betting Pick: 76ers (+3.5)
Brooklyn Nets (-9.5) at Houston Rockets – Total: 226.5
BKN: normal rest HOU: 4 games in 6 days
I don’t see how the Rockets can keep this game close against one of the NBA’s best. After all, Houston is in the midst of a 12-game losing streak and looking to move most of its best talent. The Nets, meanwhile, have an achievable path to the No. 1 seed in the East before night’s end; the 76ers, who are a half-game ahead of the Nets, have a tough matchup against the Jazz tonight.
Nevertheless, this should be an exciting night. Wednesday marks the first time that James Harden returns to Houston as a member of the opposing team. There will be plenty of excitement in the air, and Harden will be the one supplying most of it.
Betting Pick: Nets (-9.5)
Charlotte Hornets (-1.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves – Total: 230
CHA: 3 games in 4 days, 4 games in 6 days MIN: 2 days rest
The two teams rank near the bottom of the NBA in defensive efficiency (MIN: 24th, CHA: 25th), paving the way for an exciting matchup. If the close 1.5-point spread is any indication, a close game would certainly go a long way in help make our case for the total going over. After all, tight contest will produce extra free throws and 3-point attempts down the stretch. Minnesota also runs the NBA’s third fastest pace while Charlotte is slightly above league average.
LaMelo Ball is an absolute stud, giving the Hornets loads of optimism for the present and future. The Hornets moved him into the starting lineup 11 games ago, and something tells me they won’t be thinking twice about that decision.
Betting Pick: Over 230 points
Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans (-5) – Total: 238.5
CHI: normal rest NO: normal rest
I’m actually going to make two plays on this game since the trends are so telling. Let’s start with the Bulls, who are 11-4 ATS on the road and 9-2 ATS as the road underdog this season. Zach LaVine, now an All-Star, has become one of the top scorers in the league and now has this team playing respectable basketball- especially on the road.
The other trend that sticks out like a sore thumb is on the total. Pelicans home games have been quite dazzling, exceeding the game total in 15 of the 17 tries this season. It makes sense too, considering the amount of offensive firepower with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Not to mention, New Orleans has the NBA’s second worst defensive efficiency; and that’s even more great news for our Chicago bet.
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