Handicapping the NBA: Wednesday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Wednesday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha: Knicks to win (-125) vs. Celtics – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11:50 AM CT

First, for some big picture analysis, teams coached by Tom Thibodeau have a 189-66 straight-up record as home favorites (per Action Labs). For this matchup specifically, Al Horford (COVID-19 protocols) is out for the Celtics. While Boston is deeper than last year, the loss of Horford is still extremely impactful. Plus, Jaylen Brown has barely recovered from his bout of COVID-19, so I doubt he'll be playing at his best. Meanwhile, the Knicks are healthy and got better in the offseason.

Nick Whalen: Utah Jazz -13.0 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11:30 AM CT

This is a big number for Opening Night, but it's easily the biggest mismatch on the slate, and I like the Jazz to roll over an overmatched Thunder team at home. Outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, the Thunder are essentially fielding an expansion-team roster, and a regular-season juggernaut with continuity like Utah should have no problem making this a lopsided result.

Tyrese Haliburton OVER 12.5 points (-115) at Portland Trail Blazers – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11:30 AM CT

More than anything, this feels like a really low number for a starting two-guard on a team that may view him as the No. 2 offensive option next to De'Aaron Fox. Explosive scoring nights aren't necessarily Haliburton's calling card, but all he needs to do is hit his average from last season (13.0 PPG) to go over this number. For an ascending player who I like to take a big leap this season, 13 points doesn't feel like much to ask.

Michael Spero: OG Anunoby over 18.5 points against Washington (-115) – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11:41 CT

The Raptors open their season with a much different-looking team than last season. Kyle Lowry is playing in Miami and Pascal Siakam is out with a shoulder injury. Anunoby will be tasked with his biggest role yet this season and looks to be one of the main contributors for Toronto this season. With a 222.0 total in what should be a high-paced game against the Wizards, Anunoby should have no problem surpassing his 18.5 point line. 

Michael Porter Jr. over 19.5 points against Phoenix (-110) – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11:45 CT

With Jamal Murray still sidelined with a knee injury, Porter Jr. is the clear-cut No. 2 option in Denver. Fresh off signing his max extension over the summer, the 23-year-old is in a prime position to have a strong opening night.

Jacob Lebowitz: Bulls ML (-210) at Pistons Draftkings, 12:45 pm CT

After an impressive free agency period by Chicago this offseason, the Bulls' new core of LaVine, Vucevic, Ball and DeRozan is legit. They will look to start their season off on the right note as they will go up against the Pistons, who will be without their No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham. With Coby White being the only Bull not expected to play in the opener Wednesday, Chicago should be in line for an easy win against a depleted Pistons team

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Jacob Lebowitz
Jacob writes about fantasy sports and sports betting for RotoWire. He's always doing something sports-related whether that's playing NBA 2K, watching a football game or playing a game of pickup basketball.
Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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