Wednesday’s NBA slate is relatively light on games, but the slate certainly packs a punch with every team on the schedule seemingly in the hunt for a spot in the postseason.
Both of tonight’s national TV matchups on ESPN feature teams currently in the NBA Play-In Tournament range in either conference: Mavericks vs. Pelicans (7:30 p.m. ET) and Raptors vs. Clippers (10 p.m. ET).
Our analysts have best bets today for those games and more of the matchups on the evening’s slate. You can find their analysis and expert picks for Wednesday below.
NBA Odds & Best Bets
Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Tyler Schmidt: It is crazy how much scoring has happened this season, in which 230 points is around the league average for a game total. With the Pelicans’ offensive woes without Zion Williamson and the Mavericks playing on a back-to-back, I will gladly take the under on 233.5 points in this matchup tonight.
Each of the last four Pelicans games has gone under the total as they average 105.3 points per game over that span. Take it back even further, and the Pelicans are average 106.5 per game in their last 10 games.
Most of the scoring in this matchup will come from Doncic and Irving. They can score at will, but this is a tough road environment to play in, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see either Doncic or Irving sit this game out.
I would take this under down to 228.5 points. As the playoffs near, expect the defenses to start ramping up. This game means a lot to both teams right now.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat
The Heat have been bad at home in general. The Cavaliers are able to match the physicality of the Heat and Bam Adebayo because they have Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. The Heat have Jimmy Butler, but Cavs have Donovan Mitchell. The bench unit for Miami is not good, they are very inconsistent. They’ve had to throw out Duncan Robinson and don’t seem to know if he is or is not in the rotation these days.
The Heat keep pulling off these zombie wins, which makes me nervous, but ultimately I don’t think they are in the Cavaliers’ weight class, so I’ll lay the points with Cleveland.
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Baker: The Toronto Raptors travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers after a tough loss to the Denver Nuggets Monday night. Both the Raptors and Clippers are locked into tight play-in races for their respective conferences.
The Raptors defense certainly matches up well with the Clippers offense as they have a number of physical wing-defenders capable of guarding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Norman Powell. Conversely, the Clippers have played the fifth-toughest schedule of opposing offenses this season, so it is highly likely their defense is a bit underrated right now.
As underrated (and unlucky) as the Clippers may be defensively, their offense may just be genuinely bad as they rank 23rd in Offensive Rating despite playing the easiest schedule of opposing defenses, according to Dunks And Threes.
This game should also be played with lots of urgency as both of these teams are fighting for their postseason lives right now. With both of these teams ranking bottom-10 in pace, expect this to be a tightly contested halfcourt game.
As long as the Clippers make an effort to get back in transition defense, I see no reason why this game should go over 229. I am taking the under and would play it down to 228.
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