Cleveland Cavaliers Over Indiana Pacers and Wednesday’s Free NBA Picks
It was a clean sweep across the board with our NBA picks on Tuesday, as a light three-game schedule made life easy on anyone throwing down bets. Wednesday promises to make things far more difficult, with an intense battle between the Cavs and Pacers headlining a bloated 12-game slate.
LeBron James and co. will be seeking a fourth straight win, while also drowning out all of those apparently erroneous Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. They seem to have been silenced for the moment, at least, as Love dropped 39 points in a road win over the Wizards in Cleveland’s last game and King James later emphatically denied the trade rumor talk.
Could that anger James and co. so much that they feast on the Pacers tonight? Possibly so, but tonight’s insane 12-game slate requires a little more than hypothetical thinking. Let’s dive into each matchup and see where you’ll want to put your trust when it comes to NBA betting:
Wednesday night tips off with the Spurs heading into Philly, where they could take on big man Joel Embiid. Embiid (knee) has missed a slew of games lately, but is trending in the right direction and could suit up in this one:
rookie center Joel Embiid not mentioned on injury report for Wednesday game vs , & not listed as starter.
— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers)
The word is quite unclear so far, but Embiid’s presence is crucial to Philly’s offense and defense. Without their best player, the Sixers have been lost, going just 3-7 over their last 10 games after an impressive run in January.
Embiid or no Embiid, betting on the 76ers feels like a dangerous play tonight. San Antonio is elite (20-6) on the road this year and has won 11 straight in this series. Provided Kawhi Leonard gets back to the lineup (sat out last game), San Antonio is one of the easiest picks on this loaded slate.
LeBron James and co. took part in without a doubt one of the best NBA games of the year on Monday and could potentially do so again in Indy tonight. Paul George and co. seem to always get up to play the Cavs, while the Pacers have been specifically hot (won 7 straight games).
Indiana has also been an extremely tough out on their home floor, as they’ve gone 20-6 at home this year and seem to really be clicking overall offensively. Big man Thaddeus Young (who sat out the last two games) could help things stay cohesive if he can return to the floor tonight, too.
While a lot is working in Indy’s favor here, it’s tough to bet against the Cavs. Cleveland looked fantastic in D.C. the other day and with three straight wins, may finally be piecing together their championship form again. LeBron James always gets up to face PG-13, too, while he can’t feel too excited about allowing the Pacers to steal a third straight win in this series.
Indy is a fun upset play here due to their home dominance, but the Cavs are gaining confidence. That’s a scary thing to bet against.
We get an interesting battle in Atlanta tonight, where Dwight Howard and the Hawks battle Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Denver comes in undermanned, as forward Danilo Gallinari remains out, and that could hurt their effectiveness against an Atlanta team that can play solid defense.
That’s one less scoring option for the Nuggets, who could see Jokic struggle versus Howard and may continue their woes on the road (just 9-16 away from home). The Hawks have remained solid lately, going 6-4 in their last 10 games and typically being involved in a blowout, one way or the other.
The odds lean toward a Hawks win at home here, as Denver doesn’t defend and will be short an offensive piece.
John Wall and co. are back at it again after losing a tough overtime thriller to the Cavs on Monday. They won’t have time to hang their heads, though, as the pesky Nets play their best ball at home and will look to run early and often.
That isn’t scary to the Wiz, of course, as they’re among the fastest teams in the league and won’t hesitate to attack and fire from long range. This game is fairly cut and dry, as the Wizards have been really hot (8-2 over their last 10 games) and have dominate this specific series (won 5 in a row). Look for Wall and co. to win easily.
The Lakers really know how to plant a seed of doubt, as they’ve been terrible on the road all year, yet pieced together a nice performance in a road win over the Knicks in their last game. It is unlikely they do that two games in a row, of course, as they have been truly awful on the road (6-23) and Detroit tends to save their best ball for their fans at home.
The Pistons have the edge across the board, as they boast superior size and length and also can actually play some defense. This is a great matchup to get Detroit going, but they’ve already been in a solid groove with 6 wins in their last 10 games. Make it 7 of 11 tonight.
Anthony Davis and the Pels tend to thrive on their home floor, but thriving isn’t something we can safely expect tonight. The Brow will have all he can handle down low, as defensive ace Rudy Gobert looks to rule the pain in this one.
The Jazz come in hot, having won three straight and 7 of their last 10. This is the first meeting this year between these two teams, however, and after splitting the season series last year (2-2), it’s fair to wonder who could get the leg up here.
New Orleans can be a threat at home, but they usually go as Davis goes. Gobert will make life difficult on The Brow and force the likes of Jrue Holiday or Tyreke Evans to carry the Pels. Given Utah’s balanced defense and capable offense, we like Utah here.
The Miami Heat are impossible to figure out right now, as they’ve been on a complete tear with 11 straight wins. That insane run could be seriously threatened tonight, however, as star shooting guard Dion Waiters (foot) could be at risk of missing this one:
Chance Dion Waiters (ankle) sits tonight. Sporting 27.1 usage rate, taking 16.1 shots per game over last 13:
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan)
Considering Waiters has exploded to the tune of 20+ points per game during Miami’s tear, he would be greatly missed.
On the flip side, the Bucks are getting healthy at exactly the right time, as star sharpshooter Khris Middleton (hamstring) will return to the lineup tonight:
Khris Middleton will come off bench vs. Miami and play 15-20 minutes, coach Jason Kidd said,
— cfgardner (@cf_gardner)
Middleton will only see roughly 15-20 minutes off the bench as he eases back into the offense, but his presence could provide a serious lift for a Bucks team that is drowning in an ugly 2-8 run.
The key here is Waiters. Miami has been so good because he gives maximum effort and he and Goran Dragic feed off of each other. If he can’t go, Miami’s hot run could end in Milwaukee.
This one should be an easy pick on the surface, as the Wolves still need to figure out life without star scorer Zach Lavine (torn ACL). So far they haven’t, as they’ve lost both games Lavine has missed since his injury and four straight, overall.
Minnesota hasn’t been very reliable this year, and that doesn’t change at home, where they’re just 12-16. That’s good news for the Raptors, who have stud scorer DeMar DeRozan (ankle) back in the saddle and need to start winning again to keep pace with Boston in the Atlantic Division.
That doesn’t sound impossible, as Toronto has won two straight and was on quite a tear with a healthy DMR. Provided he doesn’t randomly sit out of this one, we like the Raptors to win (and cover).
This might be the most interesting spread on this entire slate, just because the Clippers are still without Chris Paul and will be on the road and everything that is going on with the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors.
Melo could come out angry and slay here, but the Knicks overall have not been good (3-7 in their last 10 games) and have been especially bad in 2017. They tend to play a little better at home, but the MSG mystique has worn off and they’re just not cohesive.
L.A. is down a stud point guard at the moment, but Blake Griffin is back and playing well and this team is far tighter and deeper than New York. The Clips should arguably have a thicker spread advantage here, but either way, we love them tonight.
This shouldn’t be a tough game to call at all, as Memphis abused the Spurs in their last game and should have little trouble dispatching a shaky Suns team that is terrible (8-19) on the road. Phoenix is healthy and can explode offensively, but that may not matter on the road against one of the best defenses in the NBA.
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley can dominate their individual matchups, while Memphis has sharpened up a bit lately with a nice 7-3 run over their last 10 games. The series hasn’t been a landslide lately (2-2 over the last four meetings), but Memphis is up 1-0 in the season series and we like them to get to a 2-0 advantage tonight at home.
There isn’t a betting line out yet for this one, where Isaiah Thomas looks for some revenge as he takes on his former Kings squad in Sacramento. This one doesn’t look good for the Kings, though, as they’re just 4-6 over their last 10 games and will be without DeMarcus Cousins due to a one-game suspension:
Cousins suspended for collecting his 16th tech, also fined $25,000 for an obscene gesture after the Golden State game
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones)
Boston is without a star player, too, as Avery Bradley remains out for the rest of Boston’s road trip:
Avery Bradley will not be on this road trip.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach)
Thomas should wreck in this game, but even if he doesn’t the Celtics should win big. Boston is red hot right now (7 straight wins) and is a very respectable 14-10 away from TD Garden this year. With Boogie not available for this one, the Kings should be lost on both ends.
This is another game without any concrete betting information yet, as bettors will be wanting to wait on some status updates. Jimmy Butler is the big one for the Bulls, as he’s been dealing with a heel bruise and missed Chicago’s last game. He’s again in doubt for this one:
Nothing new on the Jimmy Butler front. He's a gametime decision tomorrow vs. Golden State
— Sean Highkin (@highkin)
Klay Thompson’s status remains up in the air for the Dubs, as well. He was away from the team on Monday and Tuesday due to a death in the family and isn’t a lock to suit up in this one:
Klay Thompson not with the Warriors the next couple days. Attending his grandfather's funeral.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater)
Color it a wash either way, as the Bulls have been quite erratic (11-15) on the road all year and Golden State is a blistering 22-3 at home. The Warriors also lost a tight game recently to the Kings and almost never lose two games in a row. It’s pretty unlikely they start that trend with the Bulls at the Oracle Arena tonight.