NBA best bets and analysis for Wednesday, March 27th

Jonathan Von Tobel (108-99-3 | Units: +1.8) gives his daily NBA best bets and analysis for Wednesday, March 27th.

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Feb 27, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) moves the ball as Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. (10) defends during the second half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets! Here at VSiN we have a ton of NBA content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league on a daily basis.

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NBA Best Bets

Record: 108-99-3 | Units: +1.8 | ROI: 0.8%

*Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic (-4, 219)

I tried to play against Golden State last night, but was burned by the late scratch of Jimmy Butler. Tonight, I am doing it again.

The Warriors are playing their third game in four days with no rest, all of which have come on the road. The Magic have had the last three days off. They are also on the fifth game of an eight-game homestand that started 10 days ago. Orlando has an overwhelming rest advantage here, and that is worth playing on alone.

The Magic are also an incredible defensive team, capable of limiting an opponent which has averaged just 115.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time this month. Jalen Suggs is capable of hounding Stephen Curry, while the length of the other Orlando defenders can match up well with what Golden State likes to do off-ball.

Best Bet: Magic (-4.5) – Playable at (-4.5) or better

Los Angeles Clippers (-5.5, 219) at Philadelphia 76ers

Los Angeles has clearly struggled on the defensive end in recent weeks, and Philadelphia exposed that in a win on Sunday. Until the Clippers show signs of life on that end of the floor, it would be foolish to expect them to win by margin on the road. Having said that, their offense is still performing well, and that is what I’ll bank on tonight.

In the month of March Los Angeles ranks sixth in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (119.4). The team is averaging 105.1 points per 100 plays in the halfcourt over this span, and it is seventh in offensive efficiency in transition (136.3). The Clippers are a slow team – 23rd for the season – and this month they are even slower at 95.11 possessions per game. However, the return of Russell Westbrook will help speed this team up a bit, and he adds to their efficiency on offense in transition off live rebounds.

Philadelphia is 23rd in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (118.0) since the loss of Joel Embiid to injury. It has also picked up the pace in the same time frame, especially off live rebounds. All of this should be enough to get Los Angeles over its team total tonight.

Best Bet: Clippers TT OV 110.5 (-115) – Playable to (-125) 

Houston Rockets at *Oklahoma City Thunder (-6.5, 229.5)

This game is such a great example of what a market adjustment looks. Houston went into Oklahoma City on Feb. 27 with Alperen Sengun and failed to cover as 10.5-point underdogs. Exactly one month later, the Rockets are back and now only catching seven points despite not having Sengun in the lineup.

Houston has been great. It is 11-1 SU in March, and 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games. This month the Rockets are outscoring opponents by 14.7 points every 100 possessions in non-garbage time. However, it has played eight games against opponents which rank in the bottom 10 of net rating this season. Tonight will be a step up in competition.

Given the level of opponent and adjustment in power rating, the play tonight is Oklahoma City. It is the second leg of a back-to-back, but the number warrants a play.

Best Bet: Thunder (-7) – Playable to (-8.5)

NBA Best Bets

Magic (-4.5)

Clippers TT OV 110.5 (-115)

Thunder (-7)

Remaining Games

Brooklyn Nets (-2.5, 226.5) at Washington Wizards

Injuries are starting to pile up once again for Brooklyn. Cam Johnson and Dennis Smith Jr. are both out tonight, and Cam Thomas is questionable to play. Despite that, the number is climbing, as the Nets are as high as -4 today. The Wizards are not in perfect health themselves, but they are competing. Washington is 3-0 SU/2-1 ATS in its last three games, and this will be the fifth game of the last six at home.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-10, 207) at Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte is done playing competitive basketball. Its last two losses came in situations that benefitted it greatly, and yet the team lost both by a combined 64 points. The Hornets are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games, and have failed to cover by 10.8 points per game despite catching an average of 8.5 points per game. There is no reason to back Charlotte in any situation, even at home. Cleveland is also getting healthier, as Max Strus was upgraded to questionable tonight and could return to action. 

Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks (-11, 214)

Portland put up a fight in Houston on Monday, but ultimately gave up the ghost in a loss and failed cover. The Trail Blazers are 9-5-1 ATS this month though, so this is a team that you can still back in the right spot. Tonight could be one of those. As we know, the Hawks are dealing with a litany of injuries, and Dejounte Murray is on the report tonight. If Murray doesn’t play Portland could be live with a big number, but bettors will have to go to war without either Anfernee Simons or Jerami Grant.

New York Knicks (-12.5, 209) at Toronto Raptors

New York drubbed Detroit on Monday and proved that it is capable of covering these massive numbers. It’s not surprising that the market has jumped on the Knicks once again, but that contest came in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden. Tonight, they will have to north of the border and cover as road favorites. Toronto could be on the verge of getting their backcourt of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley back, but that will not happen tonight. On top of that, D.J. Carton and Jontay Porter are out. Bettors might be buying at the top of the market with the Knicks, but do you really want to back the Raptors at this point?

Detroit Pistons at Minnesota Timberwolves (-11.5, 214.5)

Cade Cunningham is questionable to play, but should return from injury tonight. Jalen Duren is probable to play as well. However, Simone Fontecchio remains out, and that is enough to keep me away from Detroit here. The Pistons are in a negative scheduling spot as well, as this is their third game in four days while their opponent comes in after two days of rest. Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert are questionable to play, but Edwards should play, as he has been questionable in each game since dislocating his finger in Utah. This is also another instance of the market coming in on a big favorite, and given the recent results its hard to argue against.

*Los Angeles Lakers (-6, 216.5) at Memphis Grizzlies

Los Angeles is playing the second leg of a back-to-back after a dramatic double-overtime win over Milwaukee last night. The status of LeBron James is unknown, as is that of Anthony Davis who was limping around the court on Tuesday evening. It would make sense that the Lakers give one, if not both, of their stars the night off. That is likely why we have seen this number dip to -4 at most spots. Memphis is also getting reinforcements. Brandon Clarke will make his season debut, and his first start since rupturing his Achilles last year.

Indiana Pacers (-2.5, 232) at Chicago Bulls

Chicago has started to slip recently. The Bulls are 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS in their last four games. This month they are 4-9 ATS, and they have not covered consecutive games since Feb. 12-14. Chicago has the more favorable scheduling situation tonight – it is the third game of a three-game homestand that has spanned a week – but its inconsistencies are troubling. The lack of line movement here would suggest a low handle a few opinions on this game as well. Indiana is on the last game of a road trip, playing its third game in four nights. That is mostly a negative situation. The Pacers have been inconsistent in their own right as well, posting a 7-6 ATS record this month. T.J. McConnell and Aaron Nesmith are questionable for the Pacers too. Both are integral pieces to the team’s success.

Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets (-6.5, 224.5)

Denver is the side tonight, but a lengthy injury report has me waiting for now. Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray are questionable to play. Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. are probable, but that is four of the starting five for the Nuggets with some sort of injury designation. We just saw Jimmy Butler sit despite a probable tag yesterday, so I’ll be waiting for an official word here. Should Denver be at full strength it should have its way with Phoenix. The Suns could be without Jusuf Nurkic and Bradley Beal. They showed their inconsistent ways in a loss to the Spurs without Victor Wembanyama last time out.