NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday, March 15th

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Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

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*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 57-65 | Units: -10.83 | ROI: -9.10%

Philadelphia 76ers (-2, 219.5) at *Cleveland Cavaliers

In the seven games this month Philadelphia has averaged 131.9 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. One reason as to why this offensive surge has happened is the addition of Tyrese Maxey back into the starting lineup, and a second reason is Joel Embiid. Embiid has only played in six of the seven games, but he is averaging 36.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists on 59.8% shooting from the floor. It’s hard to imagine this offensive production dropping off tonight against Cleveland which comes into this game in a less than favorable situation.

Not only are the Cavaliers playing with no rest after wrapping up a two-game series with the Hornets last night, but they are without Jarrett Allen. Allen will likely miss this game too as he continues to recover from an eye injury suffered on Friday against Miami, and that is a massive blow to Cleveland’s defense. Allen is the only player on this team suited to match up with Embiid, and without him the Cavaliers’ front line is severely outmatched which could lead to yet another massive night for the 76ers center.

That is not to say that Cleveland is completely done here. One of the downsides of Philadelphia’s new starting group is the defensive play drops quite a bit. The 76ers might have outscored their seven opponents this month by 11.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, but they still have a 120.7 defensive rating in those games. This should lead to plenty of scoring on both sides.

Bet: OVER 219.5

Best Bet Recap

76ers/Cavaliers OVER (219.5)

NBA Games & Odds 

Boston Celtics (-4.5, 234) at Minnesota Timberwolves

It is amazing how quickly we turn on teams when there is a much larger sample size of results that gives us a more accurate picture. Boston is seemingly cooked because of its recent 3-5 SU and ATS swoon over the last eight games. The Celtics’ offense has struggled during this slump, putting up just 113.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time while shooting just 35.6% from beyond the arc, but there are still plenty of positive signs to point to. Boston still has a positive net rating (+0.2) despite a losing stretch because of a defense that has allowed 112.9 points per 100 possessions. It is playing that well defensively without Robert Williams, who has missed the last five games due to injury.

This overnight number seemed like it was selling the Celtics short, and that is proven when comparing lines to a recent opponent. Atlanta was a 5.5-point favorite at home against Minnesota just the other day, but was catching 5.5 at home against Boston. That would translate to a 7.5-point spread here for the Celtics, which obviously isn’t the case. This exercise also doesn’t even factor in the questionable designations for Rudy Gobert, Naz Reid and Austin Rivers. Should those three play this number could close even shorter.

Memphis Grizzlies at Miami Heat (-3.5, 220)

This is an incredible meeting of two of the strongest trends in the NBA betting world right now. Memphis is a terrible road team, and enters this game 13-21 SU/12-20-2 ATS away from home this season. Meanwhile, Miami is the single most overrated team in the NBA with an incredible 24-44-2 ATS record. As someone who gravitates toward data over the course of a larger sample size I would say the Heat failing to cover this game is likely what plays out. The betting market is making the case that Miami is better on a neutral than this version of Memphis, and that is not something I can wrap my head around. This number is only up to -4 right now, but if it hits -5 that would be worth playing.

*Los Angeles Lakers (-1.5, 230.5) at Houston Rockets

Los Angeles’ defense showed out once again last night in New Orleans. The Lakers limited the Pelicans, with Brandon Ingram back on the floor, to 1.102 points per possession overall and 0.25 points per play in transition to improve to 9-4 SU and ATS since the reconstruction of this roster. Los Angeles has the second best defensive rating in the NBA over that span (108.8) and if Anthony Davis and others are available tonight it’s hard to see that production taking a dip against Houston. This line has climbed from the overnight to -3 which makes absolute sense, but just wait to see if the Lakers have any absences tonight. Their win yesterday put them a full game up on Utah for the final play-in, and with a lesser opponent on deck it could be an opportunity to get some key personnel rest.

Sacramento Kings (-1, 239) at Chicago Bulls

At one point overnight this number was Sacramento -2 and that was an absolute play on Chicago, but the market has done the right thing and bet this one down. The Kings have been on a heater, winning big game after big game, but they were cooled by the Bucks on Monday night when they allowed 1.297 points per possession in a 133-124 loss at home. Sacramento deserves respect, but to say this team is five points better on a neutral than Chicago is a bridge too far. The current consensus line of PK is more in line with the Kings as three points on a neutral court, a rating that makes more sense. Sacramento still has plenty of issues defensively, and this overnight number seemed like the market was buying too much into this 8-2 SU/7-3 ATS run.