NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Knicks vs. Magic, Rockets vs. 76ers (Wednesday, Feb. 17)

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks.

It’s Wednesday in the NBA, which means we’ve got a big slate of games and two national TV matchups on the schedule: Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) and Miami Heat vs. Golden State Warriors (10 p.m. ET on ESPN).

With 10 games to choose from, three of our NBA analysts have zeroed in on two games, including one of those ESPN games, that they think provide betting value tonight. Check out their analysis and picks for those matchups below.

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NBA Odds & Picks

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 Knicks vs. Magic Spread 7 p.m. ET
Rockets vs. 76ers Team Total 7:30 p.m. ET
Rockets vs. 76ers Prop 7:30 p.m. ET

New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic

Pick Knicks -4 (DraftKings)
Tipoff 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Malik Smith: Few teams have been as unlucky as the Orlando Magic when it comes to injuries this season. The team reported that Cole Anthony will be out until the All-Star break and Evan Fournier has been in and out of the lineup all season with back issues. Fournier James Ennis and Al-Farouq Aminu are all questionable to play, which means the bulk of the scoring will come from Nikola Vucevic as it has all season.

Meanwhile, the Knicks are on a roll with Julius Randle making his case to be an All-Star and Derrick Rose stabilizing the bench after landing in New York via trade. They aren’t a flawless team by any stretch of the imagination, but they are distancing themselves from the teams at bottom of the East and sit in the No. 6 spot in the conference standings.

The Magic are just 2-6 against the spread as a home underdog this season and Knicks have covered their past three games as favorites after starting the season 0-2 in that spot.

With all the Magic’s injury issues, I think there’s value on the Knicks as road favorites here and I’d bet them up to -5.5.


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Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick Rockets Under 108 (PointsBet)
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET

Raheem Palmer: According to Bet labs, the Houston Rockets are 17-10 to the under this season and given their statistics it’s not much of a surprise. The Rockets are fourth in Defensive Rating holding teams to a mere 109.4 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.

The biggest issue with this team is that the offense has been a complete mess as they’re 26th in Offensive Rating (107.7) and over the past two weeks they’ve fallen even further scoring just 103.1 points per 100 possessions which is 30th among NBA teams.

In addition to the absence of Christian Wood, they’ve had injuries to Victor Oladipo and Eric Gordon both of who are doubtful for tonight’s game and for a team lacking depth they simply find themselves fighting an uphill battle to score points.

The Rockets shooting percentages from all over the floor are downright depressing to say the least. They’re 20th in eFG%, 28th in 3-point field goal percentage (34.7%) and 29th in the mid range (35.5%) shooting percentage.

The only area of the floor in which they rank over higher than 24th is at the rim where they’re shooting 63.9%, which would be fine except they’re playing a 76ers team that’s third in shooting percentage at the rim, holding opposing teams to just 59.7%.

While the Rockets are sixth in pace this season, I’m not sure that’s enough to get them over this total as they’re playing a 76ers defense which seventh among NBA teams.

While my numbers project this game at 223,  going well under the total of 227, I like the Rockets team total under better as the Rockets would be the team carrying this under given the lack of offensive firepower without Wood, Oladipo and Gordon.


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Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick Joel Embiid Over 43.5 Pts+Reb+Ast (DraftKings)
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: The Sixers are in desperate need of a win, seeing their momentum slow with a three-game losing streak chock full of heartbreak. In Wednesday night’s game against the Rockets — the Daryl Morey revenge game — I expect “The Process” to come out on top against the originator of The Process.

Houston already had its fair share of issues in the frontcourt, and now without its anchor in Christian Wood, things have gotten a bit messy. The Rockets rank second-to-last in the league in rebounding rate this season, and since losing Wood six games ago they’ve allowed a weak 65.6% shooting in the restricted area, a considerable jump from their pretty solid 60.7% mark for the season.

With Embiid cleared to play against the Jazz before his late scratch and considering his probable tag heading into this one, I don’t see any reason he should sit or be limited in this one.

JoJo has gone for 35 points in each of his last two games and an average of 33.7 over his last seven, and while I’m expecting another 30-point night going against either P.J. Tucker or DeMarcus Cousins in the post, I think the rebounds should be there too considering how awfully Houston attacks the glass. This should give Embiid a very good chance to hit this over.

There is the slight concern about a blowout here, but I’ll remind you that Embiid scored 37 points in just 26 minutes against the Timberwolves in Philly’s last blowout win — a 24-point victory. He also scored 33 in 31 minutes against the Nets a few games back, one which Philly took by 16.

He’s incredibly efficient, and gets to the line plenty, so the points should be there, and with a decisive edge on the glass we should see him get his 15th double-double of the year.

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