NBA Best Bets for Wednesday March 4, 2020 – Picks on Oklahoma City and New York

Wednesday's NBA Free Picks

With only about 20 games left in the season for every NBA team, sorting out the playoff picture is going to be a big talking point in the NBA the rest of the way.

Tonight we've got two teams right in the heart of the Western Conference playoff picture out on the road facing bad Eastern Conference foes, and one should be backed and the other should be faded. Who are they?
Let's get to the plays:

NBA Best Bet
Oklahoma City at Detroit

Betting Odds: Oklahoma City -8, Over/Under 210.5

Date: March 4, 2020
TV/Time: Fox Sports Detrot, 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Little Caesars Arena
Location: Detroit, Michigan

The Thunder aren't in the best spot overall tonight to be backed, as they did play at home last night and lost by 15 to the LA Clippers. That was the fourth straight ATS loss for the Thunder, but they did manage a 2-2 SU record in that span. Oddly enough, the two ATS losses that came in outright wins both happened when OKC was laying this identical -7.5 spread.
But losses to the Bucks and Clippers like OKC has had the last two times out on the floor are nothing to be ashamed about, especially considering the Bucks loss (133-86) came on the second leg of a back-to-back. That's the spot the Thunder find themselves in again tonight, but facing the Pistons rather than Milwaukee is going to be a far easier task. Remember, OKC is still a league-best 8-1 ATS this season when playing without rest.
Detroit may own the rest advantage tonight, but they are far shorter on talent in this matchup, and a 1-9 SU record can't exude much confidence. Yes, Detroit has been able to hang tough of late with a 4-2 ATS run going in their last six games, but of the three currently-bound playoff teams they've played in that stretch – Denver, Milwaukee, Orlando – the Pistons have dropped all three games, and lost by 17 and 20 points respectively to the Nuggets and Bucks. Quality teams just blow this Pistons team up more often than not.
OKC may not be the same quality as those teams in general, but they are more then capable of holding their own, and how the Thunder have excelled this year is by beating the teams they are supposed to beat. Detroit is one of those teams for the Thunder, and with a 11-10 ATS record this year against Eastern Conference foes, OKC should be able to add another ATS win to their tally tonight.
As I said earlier, the lack of rest isn't as big of an issue for a younger team like the Thunder, and with a 21-7 ATS record as the road team this year, this has been a role that the Thunder have thrived in all season long. Coming off two blowout losses against the league's elite, I expect OKC to take out some frustration tonight on the hapless Pistons and run them out of the gym rather early.

Best Bet: Oklahoma City -7.5

NBA Best Bet
Utah Jazz at New York Knicks

Betting Odds: Utah -8, Over/Under 218.5

Date: March, 4, 2020
TV/Time: ATTSN Rocky Mountain, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Location: New York, New York

The Knicks came through with a surprising win over Houston the other day, and in true Knicks fashion, all the headlines about that game have to do with superfan Spike Lee and his dispute with management. Because of that, the headlines become all about the Knicks being unable to stay out of their own way, or how laughable the organization is, and those perceptions bleed into the market in a way they probably shouldn't. Nevermind that on the court the Knicks have won two in a row and have started to find some balance and identity in their game.
The Knicks controlled that game with Houston basically from the outset, as some hot early shooting allowed New York to play comfortably the rest of the way. Yes, there was the close call in nearly coughing up that huge lead they had, but it's not like they are a great team overall, they are just learning to find their way. It just so happened it worked out for them vs the Rockets, and positive reinforcement is always a powerful tool.
At the same time, I'm not convinced Utah is nothing more then a 'paper tiger' team this year, and that makes fading them at these prices as road chalk rather easy. The Jazz have beat up on comparable teams in Washington and Cleveland their last two times out, but prior to that it was a four-game losing streak – all at home – for the Jazz, one that ended with a 114-103 loss to Boston a week ago. It just so happens that a trip to Boston is what's on deck for Utah following this Knicks game, and I would not be surprised to see this Utah team get caught with one eye looking ahead to that tilt.
With Utah on a 2-10-2 ATS run in their last 14 games laying any sort of chalk, and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven against a losing team, I'm not sure how the majority doesn't see this -8 price as too steep. At the same time, New York is 4-0-1 ATS after their last five wins, 9-2 ATS the last 11 times they've had a single day off between games, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 at home regardless of spread.
That's more then enough evidence for me to grab the points with the home dog tonight. And who knows, maybe the Knicks will continue their upward trajectory of late now that they don't have to deal with Spike Lee's distracting antics in the front row.

Best Bet #2: New York Knicks +8