Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, April 3, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
I haven't seen it reposted yet, but I would expect to soon at the likes of Bovada or Mybookie.ag: Odds on which shoe company wins the bidding war to sign Duke's Zion Williamson. Now that the best NCAA prospect since Anthony Davis is officially done with his college career, I'm sure his people already are being wined and dined by Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Puma and whomever else is out there these days. One would imagine Williamson is going to get the biggest contract ever for a rookie with all the buzz surrounding him. I'm sure these companies would like to wait and see which team wins next month's lottery, though. Obviously better for them if Williamson is in New York or Chicago rather than Cleveland or Phoenix. The books first had props up when Williamson blew through his Nike shoe, and I'd be shocked if Nike doesn't have the winning bid because it would be such an embarrassment if the company lost out on Zion after what happened. Few early lines for Wednesday's games as we're at that time of year.
Pacers at Pistons (TBA)
Second of a home-and-home. Indiana ended a three-game slide with a 111-102 victory on Monday to take a 2-1 series lead. Domantas Sabonis finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth, while Myles Turner added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. Darren Collison and Wesley Matthews were out for the Pacers, while Blake Griffin missed his second in a row with a sore knee. The Pistons have won five of the past nine at home in the series, including 113-109 on Feb. 25.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 against the spread in the past four. The "over/under" is 8-3 in the previous 11 in Detroit.
Early lean: Wait on Griffin.
Knicks at Magic (-12.5, 212.5)
New York was actually favored on Monday and snapped a six-game losing streak with a 113-105 win over the visiting Bulls. Luke Kornet scored a career-high 24 points. DeAndre Jordan sat for rest a second straight game so the Knicks can see their young guys. Dennis Smith Jr. was out with a sore back. Orlando was a 121-109 loser in Toronto on Monday. Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Would have been a terrific win for the Magic with the three teams immediately ahead of them in the East playoff race all losing. Orlando is 2-1 vs. New York this season.
Key trends: The Knicks are 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-2 in those.
Early lean: Knicks and under.
Bulls at Wizards (-11, 228)
The Bulls have shut down so many guys that the only player a casual NBA fan might know about on most nights is Robin Lopez. He had a season-high 29 points on Monday but the Bulls lost a fifth straight, 113-105 at the Knicks. Seriously, go look at that Chicago lineup. Washington is off a stunning 95-90 win in Denver on Sunday. Tony Brown Jr. scored 24 points, Thomas Bryant and Jabari Parker each had 20 for the Wiz. Trevor Ariza missed his third straight game with a left groin strain. Chicago leads the season series 2-1.
Key trends: The Bulls have covered four straight in DC. The under is 5-2 in the Wizards' past seven at home.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
76ers at Hawks (TBA)
Atlanta was in San Antonio on Tuesday. Philly again rested Joel Embiid - he won't play here - on Monday and lost by 20 in Dallas. Jimmy Butler was out as well due to back tightness. The Sixers are locked into the No. 3 seed so I doubt we see Butler on Wednesday, either. Atlanta is 2-1 vs. Philly this year, winning each by two points.
Key trends: The Sixers are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Atlanta. The over is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: TBA likely for Butler.
Raptors at Nets (TBA)
The Raptors won their fourth straight Monday, 121-109 over Orlando. Danny Green had a season-high 29 points as Toronto clinched the Atlantic Division title. Green did jam his left thumb in the first quarter so he might get a game or two off. OG Anunoby (concussion) missed his third straight game. The Nets are not assured a playoff spot even though that looked like a done deal not long ago. They lost for the third time in four games Monday, 131-121 vs. Milwaukee. D'Angelo Russell had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Toronto is 2-1 vs. the Nets but lost in Brooklyn.
Key trends: The Raptors are 5-2 ATS in their past seven in Brooklyn. The under is 5-2 in them.
Early lean: TBA because Raptors might be locked into seed by Wednesday and thus rest a bunch of guys.
Celtics at Heat (TBA)
NBA TV game and second of a home-and-home. Boston has won both at home this season, taking a 110-105 decision on Monday. Kyrie Irving had 25 points, including a pair of key late free throws, and Al Horford added 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. It was Horford's second career triple-double and first as a Celtic. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 30 points. Bam Adebayo added 19 points and 14 rebounds. Dwyane Wade finished with 17 points and seven assists in his final game in Boston.
Key trends: The Heat have covered five straight meetings. The under is 5-0 in Miami's previous five at home.
Early lean: TBA for Horford and Irving, who might rest.
Hornets at Pelicans (TBA)
The Hornets are 0-3 on their road trip following a 111-102 defeat in Utah on Monday. Kemba Walker had 47 points. Almost impossibly, the other four starters combined for six points. The Pelicans were blown out Sunday at home by the Lakers. Julius Randle had 17 points before leaving with a finger injury. Anthony Davis sat again. The Hornets have never won a season series against the Pelicans and wont this year since the Pels won 119-109 in Charlotte on Dec. 2 behind a monster night from Davis.
Key trends: The Pels are 1-8 ATS in their past nine at home. The over is 7-2 in the previous nine meetings.
Early lean: TBA for Davis & Randle.
Timberwolves at Mavericks (TBA)
Minnesota lost its second in a row Monday, 132-122 to Portland. Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins had 21 - don't be shocked if the Wolves shop him this offseason. Taj Gibson sat again with a calf injury. The Mavs won a second straight Monday, 122-102 over the short-handed 76ers. Justin Jackson had 24 points. Luka Doncic sat out his second straight game with a thigh contusion. Dallas looks for the three-game season sweep of Minnesota.
Key trends: The Wolves are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Dallas. The under is 8-2 in the previous 10 meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Doncic.
Spurs at Nuggets (-4.5, 213)
Could be a first-round playoff preview. Denver had a huge game at Golden State on Tuesday, possibly without Jamal Murray (ankle sprain), while San Antonio hosted Atlanta. The Spurs lead the season series 2-1 but lost in Denver by three on Dec. 28. Murray had 31 points. Nikola Jokic added 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists before fouling out. Bryn Forbes couldn't get a 3-point try off at the buzzer for San Antonio, which was just 11-for-20 from the free-throw line.
Key trends: The favorite is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five in Denver.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Jazz at Suns (TBA)
The Jazz won their fifth in a row Monday, 111-102 over Charlotte. Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 18 rebounds. Gobert tied Karl Malone (1987-88) for most double-doubles by a Jazz player in a season with 62. Derrick Favors missed the game with back spasms and Kyle Korver was out with knee soreness. The Suns snapped a six-game skid with a 122-113 win over Cleveland on Monday. After scoring at least 48 points in each of his past three games, Devin Booker had 25 with 13 assists. Deandre Ayton was out again. Utah has won all three meetings easily this year and six straight overall.
Key trends: The Jazz have covered four straight in the series with the under hitting in each.
Early lean: TBA presumably for Ayton.
Grizzlies at Trail Blazers (TBA)
The Grizzlies were 113-96 losers at the Clippers on Sunday. Mike Conley was out and Jonas Valanciunas left with 6:16 in the third quarter to an ankle injury. Didn't look great so I'd imagine his season is over. He has been great since coming over from Toronto. The Blazers were 10-points winners at Minnesota to complete a four-game trip. Evan Turner had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists off the bench. He was 5-for-5 from the floor for the seventh triple-double in NBA history on five or fewer field-goal attempts. Memphis is 2-1 vs. Portland this season. Lillard is averaging just 20.7 points on 38.9 percent shooting.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 15-5-1 in the Blazers' past 11 at home.
Early lean: TBA for two Grizzlies.
Rockets at Clippers (-1, 228.5)
Houston was in Sacramento on Tuesday, so it's possible Chris Paul sits out against his former club here. Los Angeles continued its terrific play since the break with a 17-point win over Memphis on Sunday. Danilo Gallinari had 27 points and 15 rebounds. The Clippers closed March with the NBA's best record at 13-2, tying the highest winning percentage in the month in team history set in 2014. The Clippers lead the season series vs. Houston 2-0 and looking for their first series sweep since winning all four games in 2013-14.
Key trends: The Rockets are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 4-1 in the previous five in L.A.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
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