NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Bulls vs. Knicks, Trail Blazers vs. Grizzlies (Wednesday, April 28)

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies.

For the duration of the NBA season, I’ll be publishing my projections for every NBA game on the Wednesday and Friday slate. Here’s what you’ll find in my model: projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline.

Note: My projections won’t be updated in real-time throughout the day, but Action’s PRO Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury and lineup news.

I’ll also be highlighting some of the slate’s most intriguing matchups with in-depth, game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.

NBA Projections Model

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks 7:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat 8 p.m. ET
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies 9 p.m. ET

Although projections give us a solid baseline for what a number should be, it’s also important to handicap each matchup for things that the numbers can’t tell us.

Check out my analysis for tonight’s 10-game slate.

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

Pick Over 208.5 | Knicks -4 (BetMGM)
Gametime 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

After spending the first half of the season struggling on the offense, the New York Knicks have been on a tear recently.

Although they had their nine game winning streak snapped by the Phoenix Suns Monday Night, the Knicks are scoring a league-best 122.8 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks. Even against the Suns defense, which ranks fifth in Defensive Rating (110.5) in its non garbage time minutes, the Knicks put up an Offensive Rating of 118.5.

There seems to be no regression coming for this Knicks’ high 3-point percentage (40.4%), which is the second-best in the NBA since the All-Star break. Over the past 10 games, the Knicks 50% or better from behind the arc in four games and 40% or better in 10 of their past 13. I don’t see this Knicks offense slowing down against the Bulls 20th-ranked defense (113.5 Drtg).

The Bulls are still missing Zach LaVine due to health and safety protocols, however this team isn’t without its own scoring threats. The trade deadline acquisition for Nikola Vucevic might have helped to save their season as he’s averaging 22.3 points, 3.6 assists and 10.2 rebounds.

The Bulls scored 110 points on 1.17 points per possession against the Miami Heat’s seventh-ranked defense, so I’m expecting the Bulls can put up over 100 here, too. In today’s NBA, it doesn’t take much for a game to go over a total this low. My model makes this game 212 and I played this over at 207.5.

I also think there’s some value on the Knicks coming off their loss against the Suns Monday night. The Suns were a step up in class, but the Bulls are a step down for the Knicks and this feels like a good buy-low spot for New York before face the Houston Rockets on the road where they will likely be double-digit favorites.

The Knicks are the better team, with the better offense and defense at this point. This is game where I expect the Bulls to really miss LaVine. I’ll also lay the 4 points with the Knicks.


» Return to the table of contents «

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

Pick Spurs +4.5 (PointsBet)
Gametime 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

The Miami Heat simply aren’t the team we saw during last year’s NBA Playoffs. They’ve dealt with injuries, absences due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols and overall this offense has regressed.

Despite being sixth in Defensive Rating, holding opposing teams to just 110.8 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, the Heat offense is so abysmal that they can’t run away and hide from teams.

They typically find themselves in close games as they’re just 23rd in Offensive Rating, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions. Their offense could take an even bigger hit here if they end up missing both Tyler Herro (foot) and Kendrick Nunn (neck) for this one.

This is a revenge spot for the Spurs — their last defeat came against the Heat in last Wednesday’s  107-87 loss. The Spurs held a 64-61 lead in the third quarter and shot just 11-of-38 (28.9%) in the second half and 4-of-17 (23.5%) in the fourth quarter before the game got out of hand.

Outside of that game, the Spurs have been in good form, winning and covering five out of their past six games. The Spurs are eighth in Defensive Rating (111.2) in their non garbage time minutes, but over the past two weeks, they have held opposing teams to 108.7 points per 100 possessions, fourth in the NBA.

The Heat also have a top tier defense, however, they’ve been slipping recently, allowing 114.6 points per 100 possessions, 18th among NBA teams. They gave up offensive ratings of 129.1 and 117.1 in losses against the Hawks without Trae Young and Bulls without Zach LaVine, so they can be exploited on any given night.

Overall, I think this spread a bit too high. The last time these two teams played the spread was Heat -1.5 and while there is a venue change from San Antonio to Miami, I’m not sure if the Heat are 4.5-points better at home, especially with the injuries to Herro and Nunn. I’ll take the points with the Spurs.


» Return to the table of contents «

Portland Trailblazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick Grizzlies -1.5 (BetMGM)
Gametime 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

The Portland Trailblazers finally snapped their five game losing streak with a 120-96 win over the Indiana Pacers. While the win was much needed, it’s hard to be impressed with the Blazers beating a Pacers team missing Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb and Goga Bitadze.

Despite the win, the loss highlighted one of their biggest weaknesses, defensive points in the paint as the Pacers scored 48 points in the paint despite not having Sabonis.

The Blazers team should have their hands full as they’re just 23rd in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (30.7%) facing a Grizzlies team that is scoring a league high 56.3 points in the paint this season. Jonas Valanciunas scored 21 points on 9-of-17 (52.9%) shooting in Sunday’s win against the Blazers and we can expect that to continue tonight.

This Blazers defense as a whole is downright abysmal as they rank 29th in Defensive Rating (117.4) in their non garbage time minutes. Even more troubling is that the Blazers struggle to stop fast breaks as they are 22nd in points per possession in transition facing a Grizzlies team with Ja Morant that pushes the pace.

The Grizzlies lead the league in fast break points at 16.9 per game while the Blazers are 27th in opponent fast break points at 13.9 a game. The Grizzlies put up Offensive Ratings of 125.6 and 110.7 in back-to-back games so the Blazers have little hope of stopping this team, which means they have to outscore them.

With Damian Lillard leading the Blazers, that’s possible as this offense is scoring 117.7 points per 100 possessions, fifth among NBA teams. However this is an offense that primarily relies on 3-point shooting as they shoot the second-highest frequency of 3-point attempts with 42.4% of their field goals come from behind the arc.

The Blazers are 29th in field goal percentage at the rim (60.4%), 25th in the mid-range (40%) and are seventh from 3-point range (38.4%). On a back-to-back on the road, facing a rested Grizzlies team that is 10th in Defensive Rating (111.5), I think the Blazers are at a disadvantage.

The Grizzlies are the better team but the market overvalues the Blazers based on Lillard’s superstar status. I’ll take the Grizzlies to get their third win in the past week over this bad Blazers team.

BetSync with BetMGM for easy bet tracking

Automatically import all your bets

Track your bet win probability

Available in NJ, PA, CO, IN, TN and WV

» Return to the table of contents «

Leave a Reply