Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Wednesday's Best Bets
The start of the college basketball season on Tuesday night may have dominated hardwood talk in the industry for the past 24+ hours, but Wednesday's NBA board has nine games to break down and there should be a few gems in there as well.
Obviously, the Golden State/Houston matchup doesn't have the same prestige attached to it like it has in recent years, but with a drastic change in where the talent current resides in the NBA this year, we've got great potential in games like Philly/Utah, Milwaukee/LA Clippers and even other potential playoff noise makers in Toronto and Dallas hitting the floor as well.
It's two games involving some of those teams mentioned that I believe deserve a deeper look on this Wednesday, so let's take a look at what I believe are the best side and total plays on the card.
Best Side Play: Dallas -7.5
Outside of their late-game struggles against the Lakers at the beginning of the month, this Dallas Mavericks team has looked great all year. Their 3-3 ATS record is a result of winning by 8 when they were laying -9, losing by a bucket to a very good Portland team as 3-point home chalk, and the aforementioned OT loss to the Lakers on November 1st. Outside of that they've done what has really been expected of them, although all three ATS wins have come on the road, while all three ATS losses have come at home.
It's the latter that gets snapped here as they catch Orlando coming to town on the latter half of a back-to-back after losing in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. The Magic are already the worse team from a talent perspective as it is, and this is a situation where they are just likely looking to get back home and get a nice five-game homestand started on Friday night.
The Magic knew that the game against OKC was the more winnable of the two in this back-to-back stretch, and we probably see them waive the white flag in the second half when those legs really start to feel heavy. It's already Orlando's second set of back-to-back's in November alone, and with it being their fourth game in six nights, fatigue's going to set in rather quickly in my opinion.
For Dallas, there are going to be those learning moments for this young team that's handed over the reigns of this organization to the duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, and we've already seen those learning moments pop up. But those will happen against quality foes like Portland and the Lakers, not a dead tired Magic team, and as long as those two starts and the rest of the Mavs supporting cast does what they do – 10 different Mavericks average at least 8 points per game – this game turns into a route.
Best Total Play: Milwaukee/LA Clippers Under 227.5
From all reports it looks as though Kawhi Leonard will be getting the night off here with a non-conference foe in town, and a home game against Portland on tap for Thursday night. Clippers fans are going to have to get used to this program specific to Kawhi that clearly worked wonders while he was with Toronto last year, and chances are it will be against either non-conference foes or the much worse team where he ends up staying in street clothes for Clippers back-to-backs. It's tough to argue with the results given what he did for Toronto in the playoffs last spring, and given that Year 1 success, there is probably no going back for him now.
Milwaukee is no slouch themselves, as they continue to be the Giannis show this season and come into this game having won three in a row. But even without the defensive stalwart in Kawhi on the floor, I'm not sure we see these two teams decide to run up and down the floor on one another.
That's the style of play good teams tend to save for when they are up against poor teams, knowing that their scoring talent in the end will likely win out. With this line near the pick'em range, ther is no thinking that this will be an easy win on either sideline, meaning that if you are the team that wants to come away with the W, you'd better be prepared to play some defense.
With the way that Kawhi was able to lock down Giannis and the rest of the Bucks in last year's playoff series against them, he's not going to be shy about helping out his new teammates in letting them know what works against Milwaukee. The rest of the Clippers may not have the physical attributes that Kawhi does that make him such a good defensive player, but schematically the Clippers are a solid defensive unit as it is, and will look to do what they can to mitigate the Bucks attack.
At the same time, Milwaukee will be fine defensively in holding down the Kahwi-less Clippers on offense, as they lack that go-to scoring option outside of Lou Williams right now in that scenario. Only two other Clippers besides Kawhi and Williams average more then 10 points per game right now (Montrezl Harrell and JaMychal Green) and the entire supporting cast is hard to count on to come up with the 114 points or so that they'll need to pull their weight for 'over' bettors.