Wednesday’s NBA slate is huge for the postseason standings. Amongst the 10 games on the schedule, eight of tonight’s matchups have implications for the Eastern and Western conference playoff race. The slate is anchored by two key games on ESPN: Warriors vs. Mavericks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Suns vs. Lakers (10 p.m. ET).
Action Network’s NBA analysts are targeting three matchups tonight and have four best bets today, including player props, totals and a moneyline bet.
Read on for their expert picks and predictions for Wednesday’s slate below.
NBA Odds & Picks
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
Bryan Fonseca: Because I’m stupid, I’m going to try this again.
I’m 3-1 since I began contributing to the daily NBA bets column, extending beyond my boxing and MMA duties, and weeks ago when the Heat & Knicks played in Miami the first time, I pounded the under on Julius Randle’s points. I forget if it was 22.5 or 23.5, it was something identical and it didn’t matter because he finished the game with arguably the most “get the **** outta here” 40-burger you’re ever going to see. He finished with 43 points, and I thought half of them were going to miss.
I’d argue perhaps no one else league wide has made me, as an endearing viewer, say “no ******* way” more than Randle has — and I mean that with the utmost respect as a New Yorker. (Cam Thomas would probably be second, but that lasted three games.)
The reason why I pounded that previous under is because Randle tends to play poorly against Bam Adebayo — the nerdy numbers and previous matchups bare that out. In fact, that was the first time Randle shot better than 42% against the Heat in over two years, which is also the last time he scored 26 points against the Heat. That would still be under — he hasn’t broken 27 points against the team except for the 43 earlier this month.
I know Randle just had 57 points. I know he had eight threes.
I’m also just banking on Adebayo and the Heat not getting absolutely torched by him a second-time on their home floor this month. They’re frustratingly inconsistent, and might lose another game they need to win, but that isn’t my problem. I’m pro-Randle and think he’s one of the most enjoyable stories in the sport — that isn’t stopping me from taking this under, though.
Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Chris Baker: This is a great price on an over in a game where both teams rank above-average in Pace. The Grizzlies rank second in the NBA in transition rate while the Rockets rank dead-last in transition defensive rating and 29th in transition rate allowed. Houston doesn’t get back in transition and that is a recipe for disaster when facing this up-tempo Grizzlies offense.
We also have to factor in the absence of Dillon Brooks, who will be out due to a suspension and significantly improves the Grizzlies defense. Brooks has a Defensive Rating swing of -5.3, which means the defense is 5.3 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. With Brooks, Brandon Clarke, and Steven Adams off the floor the Grizzlies have a poor Defensive Rating of 115.8 (41st percentile).
Due to Brooks’ absence, we should expect to see more Luke Kennard, Santi Aldama, and John Konchar minutes. All of these guys benefit the over as they can space the floor effectively and represent a defensive downgrade compared to Brooks.
We also have the likely return of Ja Morant to the floor. Morant is a beautiful sight for any over backer as he loves to push tempo, attack the rim, and get to the line. This is also the perfect matchup for him as the Rockets have ZERO rim-protectors in their lineup and rank last in transition Defensive Rating as mentioned before. Houston ranks 26th in accuracy allowed at the rim (69.6%).
Finally, the Rockets offense has looked slightly better with the return of Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengun. Alperen should be back tonight and the offense is +6.6 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. This number is wildly off market especially at the opening number of 227.5 at PointsBet, so I would hurry up and grab this and would play it all the way up to 232.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The Los Angeles Lakers have every motivation to try their best tonight against the Phoenix Suns. L.A. is currently 11th in the Western Conference and just a half game from the last two play-in spots occupied by the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz.
The Warriors are just one game ahead of the Lakers in the loss column for the No. 6 seed, which means a stretch of wins could help L.A. shape their own destiny and avoid the Play-In Tournament entirely.
The Suns aren’t out of the woods, but currently sit in fourth place and they’ll be without DeAndre Ayton for the second straight game. Without Ayton, the Suns will struggle to contain the Lakers and Anthony Davis who has played great in James’ absence.
The Lakers were already the superior rebounding team since the trade deadline, ranking sixth in Rebounding Percentage (51.4), while the Suns have been just average at 50.3 (15th), according to NBA Advanced Stats. But without Ayton (groin), that advantage should widen even more.
The Suns own the recent head-to-head matchups (9-1 straight up, 8-2 ATS), but neither team looks like they did in December when these two last played each other.
I love the Lakers as short underdogs in this spot. I took them on the moneyline at +105 and would take them down to -1.5 on the spread.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Joe Dellera: The Lakers take on the shorthanded Suns tonight who will be without their best interior defender in Deandre Ayton. He dramatically cuts down on opponents’ ability to get to the rim and find attempts in the paint. He’s a versatile defender who has done a decent job at limited Anthony Davis as much as possible (despite a 37 point 21 rebound performance in November).
Without Ayton on the interior, I expect Davis to have a monster performance against the Suns. They simply do not have anyone that is capable of handling that defensive assignment.
His points prop is set at 25.5 points and he’s exceeded this line in 11 of his 18 games this season without LeBron James, including a that 37-point outburst against these same Phoenix Suns.
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