The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Wednesday’s NBA Slate
We’ve got another six NBA games on tap for Wednesday. The action gets underway with three contests starting at 7:30 p.m. ET – including a rematch between the Bucks and the Heat – and wraps up with the Blazers vs. the Clippers at 10 p.m. ET.
It’s rare to see two teams play on back-to-back nights, and it’s even rarer when one of those teams wins by 47 points in the first matchup. That will be the case today in Miami after the Bucks absolutely bludgeoned the Heat on Tuesday. They won by a final score of 144-97 and set a new record for 3-pointers made in a single game.
How do teams fare after such a massive win? Let’s dive in.
The Bucks have been beating teams by massive margins for most of the past three seasons, but a 47-point victory is still eye-popping. The fact that it came against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season is even more surprising.
Milwaukee didn’t even get a monster performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo in that contest. He was limited to just nine points, six assists, and six rebounds over 24 minutes, and none of the starters played more than 26 minutes. It was a true team victory, with all 13 players on the active roster scoring at least three points.
The Heat were not at full strength for that contest, and that will, unfortunately, be the case again tonight. Jimmy Butler will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, which leaves the Heat without their best player. They have other players who are capable of filling the void – especially Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo – but asking them to compete with one of the greatest regular season teams in NBA history is a tough task.
So should you be all in on the Bucks as 6.5-point road favorites? Believe it or not, history is in the Bucks’ favor. I would have expected these teams to become overrated in the betting market following a massive win, but it appears as though the opposite is true. Teams coming off a win of at least 30 points on the front end of a back-to-back have historically posted a record of 66-46-3 against the spread in the following game. That’s good for a return on investment of +15.0%, which is an elite number in the world of sports betting.
The Bucks are going to be a popular bet on Wednesday’s slate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the wrong side.
Another thing I’ll be watching on tonight’s slate is how the Grizzlies fare without star point guard Ja Morant. He’s expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, and he’s dominated the ball for the Grizzlies this season. He leads the team in both usage rate (36.0%) and assist rate (48.0%), so the Grizzlies will have to find a new source of offense in his absence.
Tyus Jones will likely draw the start at point guard, but Kyle Anderson could be the biggest beneficiary. He’s very comfortable serving as a “point forward,” and he’s increased his usage rate by +6.9% and his assist rate by +8.0% with Morant off the court this season. He’s someone that could be worth targeting in the prop market vs. the Celtics on Wednesday.
We’ve already seen some notable line movements for tonight’s contests.
The biggest move involves the Celtics, who have dropped from -8.5 to -5.0 on FanDuel Sportsbook. The big reason for the change is that they listed Tristan Thompson as out and Jayson Tatum as questionable on their injury report. Thompson’s absence is negligible – they can replace him with Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams – but Tatum being out of the lineup would be a massive blow. He’s blossomed into one of the best two-way players in the league, and the Celtics increased their Net Rating by +11.0 points with Tatum on the court last season (per Cleaning the Glass).
It also appears as though the sharps are targeting the Hawks in their matchup vs. the Nets. The Hawks are expected to get Danilo Gallinari back in this contest, and he has the potential to be a difference-maker. The Hawks outscored the Bulls by a ridiculous +31 points with Gallinari on the floor on opening night, and he had the second-highest Net Rating differential on the Thunder last season (+8.0 points per 100 possessions). Even though Gallo doesn’t usually play more than 30 minutes, he’s still a very impactful player when on the court.
The Hawks have received just 36% of the spread bets in this contest, but those bets have accounted for 89% of the spread dollars. That means that the big money – which usually comes from professional bettors – is siding with Atlanta. As a result, the line on this game has dropped from Hawks +6.5 to Hawks +5.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
BEST BETS FROM THE SPORTSGRID BETTING MODEL
Find out who our betting model likes in each of Wednesday’s six contests.