Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM
Wednesday's NBA Best Bets for Feb. 26
We've got another busy night in the Association on tap for tonight, as nine games on the board leave no shortage of betting options. A couple of the other showcase-type games have been covered elsewhere on the site, but it's these two plays that I believe are worthy of an investment as well. So if you are looking to expand your betting card a bit, you may want to consider a couple of home underdogs.
New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets (7:05 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #1: Charlotte Hornets +2
Not entirely sure in what the Knicks have done to warrant laying chalk on the road, especially since they are already 0-2 SU vs the Hornets this year. I would suspect that Charlotte's recent form of suffering two blowout losses by at least 29 points may have more to do with this number then what the Knicks have done lately, because New York is an an 0-4 SU (1-2-1 ATS) run themselves.
Understandably, the approach of it being hard to beat a team three straight times during a year – especially when you've got two sub-par teams like this involved – has to be considered for a Knicks angle, and it's probably one of the reasons Knicks backers will quote as to why they are on New York for this game. I get that, and considering the Knicks are 4-0 ATS this year as a road favorite, there is an argument to be made favoring New York this evening. However, I look at those first two meetings between the two – both Charlotte wins – and don't really see anything out of the ordinary that would have me expecting the Knicks in a big way.
The first meeting – a 103-102 Charlotte win – New York actually finished the game shooting a better percentage from the field (45 vs 41%), made three more shots overall, and had four more points from the charity stripe as well. It was the three-point shooting from Charlotte (17 made) vs New York (6 made) that was entirely the difference there, and while that type of disparity is not likely to repeat, Charlotte is the marginally better three-point shooting team on the year, and if you are giving points to that team in this instance, at home, I'm definitely interested.
The second meeting – a 97-92 Charlotte win – was the only other game played in Charlotte, and once again, it saw the Knicks shoot a better overall percentage from the field (44 vs 39%), make four more shots overall, and had New York win the three-point shooting battle as well, making nine to Charlotte's eight. The disparity that time was the Hornets getting the benefit of the whistle, going 21-for-27 from the charity stripe to New York's 7-for-11.
Again, you can see the argument from Knicks backers suggesting that that kind of game script can't keep up, and eventually the team that makes more shots overall will win the game. Sure, that very well could be the case. But who says New York's a guarantee to be the team to knock down more overall shots yet again. And even if they do, they are 0-2 SU against this Charlotte team in that situation already this season, it's not like doing so guarantees them a victory.
Yes, Charlotte has looked awful of late, but three straight double digit home defeats can't sit well in that locker room right now. The last home win they had was a month ago against this same Knicks team, and that day the Hornets closed at -1.5. Is recent form – one where the Knicks are not exactly lighting the world on fire with a 4-6 SU record and 5-4-1 ATS mark – worth what is effectively a three-point swing on this line? I just don't believe that to be the case.
Remember, the Knicks don't have Marcus Morris out there trying to stretch the floor for them anymore, and of the 15-for-32 shooting from distance the Knicks have had in two games vs Charlotte this year, Morris' production accounts for basically half of that (6-for-16). Make or miss, those shots stretch things out and open up lanes elsewhere, and yet, now a month later, the Knicks who are minus that type of floor spacing this time around are worthy of a three-point swing. Not tonight, as the Hornets make it three in a row this year against the Knicks.
Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers (7:05 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #2: Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5
Since sorting out their coaching situation during the All-Star break, I would venture a guess that coming to work each day has become a lot more enjoyable for the players on Cleveland's roster. Yeah, they still aren't the best team in the league, but work's become fun again for this team, and that excitement is showing up on the court. In the Cavs three games since the break they are 2-1 SU and ATS), and riding them for the next week or so could be quite profitable.
While Cleveland's general happiness has improved since the All-Star break, Philly's general happiness continues to really be non-existent this season. This team has been maddening this year in regards to their effort level at times, not showing up for games from the start and/or blowing big leads within a particular game. The Sixers would probably lead the league in votes for “team that's under-achieved” the most this year, and there still are numerous questions about how deep of a playoff run this unit can make, and if next year's starting five will come close to resembling this year's unit at all.
But as Philly does, they go out and give a great effort from time to time to quiet down all the noise surrounding them for a brief bit. That's what they did the other night in blowing out the Hawks 129-112, although there were signs of what's plagued the Sixers this year in blown leads, as Philly actually turned a 17-point halftime lead into a one-point deficit entering the 4th. It's that kind of play that has to be maddening as a Sixers fan, but as a basketball bettor, it's something that hopefully can be exploited.
When Philly is up against much worse teams like they are tonight, they get priced like a team with the talent they've got, they just have a hard time consistently showing it. Put them on the road as significant chalk and it's potentially even better to jump aboard the Sixers fade train. Philly is just 9-20 SU away from home this year. Doesn't quite get much worse then that, especially when you consider that the Cavs record on the road is one game worse at 8-19 SU.
The gap of wins overall this year between the Sixers (36-22) and Cavaliers (16-41) is bigger (20) then how many wins Cleveland has on the year themselves, and yet in terms of road records the two teams are nearly identical. Doesn't that make taking this many points with anyone hosting Cleveland somewhat attractive already?
Then there is the questionable effort level you get with the Sixers on any given night, and with a trip to LA looming next week for dates with the Lakers and Clippers, I can't imagine an already mentally fragile team like Philadelphia giving 100% focus to the Cavs tonight.
Cleveland may not end up threatening a ML win like I expect to see from Charlotte tonight, but Philly is just 6-20-2 ATS in their last 28 on the road and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 as a road favorite.