This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
It's been a brutal stretch of luck recently. Next week might be a good time to revisit the data points and review any trends we might be noticing, but for now, we'll press forward. Wednesday presents another 10-game slate with a handful of teams on back-to-backs which complicates matters somewhat.
Sometimes it's just simple. The Hornets allow the most points to opposing centers and Goga Bitadze has quietly been a stabilizing big man with Myles Turner (foot) and Domantas Sabonis (ankle) sidelined. Especially considering the odds, grabbing over 13.5 points (+100) is a nice option.
The Heat/Knicks matchup has an over/under point total of 204. That's an incredibly low number for today's NBA, but I also think it's a fair number given the respective teams' defenses. Evan Fournier under 2.5 made threes (-105) is first and foremost a bet on his inconsistency since he's under this total in five of the last 10 games. But it's also a nod to the returning members of the Heat in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo who are both working their way back after prolonged absences.
Naturally, I had to pull one more bet from this game and thankfully DraftKings is giving us somewhat of a layup. Kemba Walker under 11.5 points (-110) should be well within range given the Heat allow the fewest points to opposing point guards and the veteran guard has slunk back to his early-season woes after a terrific end to December.
I normally never target something like this, but given the production of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid in past games, I think it's finally time to start acknowledging some of the higher prop totals. In past years DraftKings would put an egregiously high o/u total knowing people tend to gravitate towards the star players, but lately I've noticed the props more or less in line with their season totals which tend to under-acknowledge a given player's recent hot streak. Trae Young over 29.5 points (-105) fits that bill considering the dynamic point guard is averaging 29.5 points per game since early November and goes against a Sacramento defense that is miserably bad at just about every level but slowing opposing backcourts is especially problematic for the Kings.
Same idea, different reason but James Harden over 27.5 points (-120) also feels likely with the Nets missing just about everyone crucial on offense. Yes, Brooklyn is on the second half of a back-to-back, but so too are the Nuggets and Harden always seems to play better with the national spotlight on him (see last night's 33-12-11 line against the Lakers).
The Bucks are many things, but they simply are not a good team at defending opposing point guards. The over/under on Darius Garland's points prop was far too high, as was his three-point props, but the 2019 first-round pick is averaging 10.7 assists over his last 11 games which makes over 8.5 assists (-115) a perfect figure even if Jarrett Allen (illness) is unable to play.
I don't like to recommend cop-outs very often, but we just saw Tuesday what the Raptors offense looks like without Fred VanVleet (knee) and I think it's very beneficial to Pascal Siakam's assists over (6.5, +100). Obviously wait to see if the All-Star point guard is available before going after this prop, but the base figure seems to have FVV's absence built-in which tells me DraftKings won't move anything substantially if the Drake lookalike is eventually ruled out for a second straight game.
Death, taxes and Steven Adams taking everyone's lunch money, err rebounds. Jakob Poeltl is normally a capable big man, but when these two teams faced back in late December the sixth-year center had just seven boards. Give me under 9.5 rebounds (-125) every time against Grizzly Adams.