The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Wednesday’s NBA Slate
After a brief respite on Tuesday, the NBA is back with a monster slate on Wednesday. There are 12 games to choose from, starting with a trio of contests at 7 p.m. ET and wrapping up with the Timberwolves vs. the Warriors at 10 p.m. ET.
The Jazz will be one of the many teams in action tonight, and they are currently riding a nine-game win streak. That said, Donovan Mitchell will miss Wednesday’s matchup vs. the Mavericks after suffering a concussion. Can the Jazz manage another win without their star player?
Let’s dive in.
Mitchell is a bit of a controversial player in NBA circles. He’s viewed by most as one of the brightest young stars in the league, and he’s averaged at least 20.5 points per game in each of his four NBA seasons. However, his efficiency is a major issue. He’s shooting just 43.1% from the field this season, which would be a new career low. The Jazz need him to be a volume scorer – they don’t have a ton of viable alternatives – but you can at least make the argument that they’d be better off funneling some of those shots to other players.
The advanced numbers also suggest that Mitchell’s on-court impact could be a bit overrated. Utah’s Net Rating has actually decreased by -14.1 points per 100 possessions with Mitchell on the floor this season, which puts him in the 10th percentile for qualified players per Cleaning the Glass.
Most of that impact comes on the defensive end. The Jazz have allowed an additional +12.7 points per 100 possessions with Mitchell on the court, and opponents have increased their effective field goal percentage (eFG) by +2.9%. That’s not a huge surprise since Mitchell isn’t a great defender, and it’s possible that number decreases over the course of the season.
What’s more concerning is that the Jazz have actually been worse offensively with Mitchell on the court. They’re averaging -1.4 fewer points per 100 possessions in that situation, and their eFG drops by -3.9%.
So what does that mean for tonight’s matchup vs. the Mavericks? For starters, the line has moved pretty significantly following the news that Mitchell wouldn’t play. The Jazz were originally listed as 3.5-point favorites, but they’ve dropped to just -1.5. It wouldn’t be shocking if the line fell even further before tip-off since the public will likely gravitate towards the Mavs in this matchup.
I think that actually makes this an excellent opportunity to buy low on the Jazz. The numbers suggest they can survive without Mitchell, and they’ve been one of the best teams in basketball recently. The Mavericks are a tough matchup, but the Jazz aren’t being given enough respect at the moment.
We’ve seen some notable line movement for tonight’s contests.
The Pacers have seen one of the largest line moves on the slate. They initially opened as 1.5-point underdogs on FanDuel Sportsbook, but they’re now listed as two-point favorites. Part of that likely stems from the injury to Domantas Sabonis. He left the Pacers’ last game with a knee injury, but the reports are that the injury wasn’t serious. He’s listed as questionable vs. the Hornets, so there’s at least a chance that he’ll be back in the lineup tonight.
The Celtics are another team that has seen the line move against them. They’re up to -4.0 on the road vs. the Spurs, which makes sense considering that they’re as healthy as they’ve been all season. This will be the first game where Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker have all been in the lineup, so the Celtics look like a team that could be undervalued at the moment.
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