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2024 NBA playoff picks, Game 3 best bets by proven model

The Oklahoma City Thunder will look to keep the pressure on the New Orleans Pelicans when they meet in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series on Saturday. Oklahoma City cruised to a 124-92 win in Wednesday’s game to take a 2-0 lead in this 2024 NBA playoffs series. The Thunder, the top seed in the West, finished 13-5 against Southwest Division foes during the regular season, going 2-1 against New Orleans. The Pelicans (49-33), the eighth seed, were 9-8 against the Northwest Division. Zion Williamson (hamstring) remains out for New Orleans.

The game from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans will tip off at 3:30 p.m. ET. Oklahoma City averaged 120.1 points per game during the season, third-best in the NBA, while New Orleans averaged 115.1, 13th-best. OKC is a 1.5-point favorite in the latest Thunder vs. Pelicans odds from SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 210. Before making any Pelicans vs. Thunder picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the second week of the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 90-58 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,800. Anyone following has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Pelicans vs. Thunder and just locked in its picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Thunder vs. Pelicans:

Pelicans vs. Thunder spread: Oklahoma City -1.5
Pelicans vs. Thunder over/under: 210 points
Pelicans vs. Thunder money line: Oklahoma City -120, New Orleans +100
NO: The Pelicans have hit the first-half money line in 55 of their last 82 games (+25.30 units)
OKC: The Thunder have hit the money line in 56 of their last 78 games (+18.60 units)
Pelicans vs. Thunder picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Thunder can cover
Center Chet Holmgren has come to play this series. In Game 1, he registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, with five blocks and two assists. He followed that up with a 26-point effort with seven rebounds and two blocks in Wednesday’s big win over the Pelicans. In three regular-season games against New Orleans, Holmgren averaged 18.3 points, 11 rebounds, 2.3 assists and two blocks in 33.7 minutes.

Guard Luguentz Dort is a dependable contributor on offense as well. In 79 games during the regular season, all starts, he averaged 10.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 28.4 minutes. He is coming off a 15-point, two-assist effort in Wednesday’s win. In 13 career games against New Orleans, Dort is averaging 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and one steal in 30 minutes of action. See which team to pick here.

Why the Pelicans can cover
Guard CJ McCollum has played well against the Thunder this season. In three regular-season games, he averaged 21.3 points, while adding 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 37.7 minutes. He poured in 20 points in the Game 1 loss, while adding six assists and three boards. He had 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in Wednesday’s loss. He registered two double-doubles during the regular season.

Small forward Brandon Ingram has reached double-digit scoring in each of his last 10 games, including a 24-point performance in a 105-98 win over the Sacramento Kings in the April 19 play-in game. He also added six boards and six assists. He is coming off an 18-point, four-rebound and three-assist effort in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss. Ingram has played well against the Thunder throughout his career. In 19 career games against Oklahoma City, he is averaging 16.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30.4 minutes. See which team to pick here.

How to make Pelicans vs. Thunder picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the point total, projecting the teams to combine for 214 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits over 50% of the time. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Pelicans vs. Thunder, and which side hits in over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,800 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.

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2024 NBA playoff picks, Game 3 best bets by proven model

The No. 1 seed Boston Celtics go on the road to play against the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in Game 3 on Saturday evening. The Celtics swept that season series over the Heat, winning all three games. During the regular season, the Celtics were second in the NBA in scoring offense (120.6), while Miami was third in the league in scoring defense (108.1). Miami evened this 2024 NBA playoffs series with a 111-101 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday. Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck) remain out for the Heat.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at Kaseya Center in Miami. Boston is a 10-point favorite in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds, per SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is 205.5. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer simulation model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the second week of the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 90-58 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,800. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Celtics vs. Heat and just locked in its picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Heat vs. Celtics:

Heat vs. Celtics spread: Boston -10
Heat vs. Celtics over/under: 205.5 points
Heat vs. Celtics money line: Boston -478, Miami +362
MIA: Has hit the Game Total Under in 57 of its last 95 games
BOS: Has hit the 4Q Game Total Under in 51 of its last 77 games
Heat vs. Celtics picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Celtics can cover
Forward Jayson Tatum is a very athletic playmaker who has a great first step and shifts through defenses with no problem. The former Duke product has a smooth perimeter jumper and crashes the glass. In the playoffs, Tatum averages a team-best 25.5 points, nine rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. In Game 2, he had 28 points and eight rebounds.

Forward Jaylen Brown gives Boston another assertive and downhill scorer. Brown does a great job slashing to the basket and has the strength to finish in the lane. The 27-year-old is averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, and two assists in two playoff games. In his last outing, Brown totaled 33 points, eight boards, and made four 3-pointers. See which team to pick here.

Why the Heat can cover
Forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. has made an impact in his first season in the league. Jaquez Jr. uses his intangibles and high energy to make plays that don’t come up in the box score. The UCLA product is a crafty finisher in the lane with a jumper that can space the floor. He’s averaging 15 points, three rebounds, and 2.5 assists during the playoffs. In the Game 2 win, Jaquez Jr. tallied 14 points and two boards while knocking down three 3-pointers.

Guard Caleb Martin is another player who can step up on any given night. Martin is able to constantly get into the lane and is an improved jump shooter from beyond the arc. In Game 2, the Nevada product dropped 21 points, two boards, and made five 3-pointers. Last year in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Celtics, Martin averaged 19.3 points and 6.4 boards per game. See which team to pick here.

How to make Heat vs. Celtics picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 210 points. The model also says one side hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Celtics vs. Heat, and which side hits in well over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Celtics vs. Heat spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,800 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.

Byadmin

2024 NBA picks, February 22 predictions from proven model

We’ve got another exciting Eastern Conference matchup on the NBA schedule as the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are set to tip at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland is 36-17 overall and 19-9 at home, while Orlando is 30-25 overall and 12-17 on the road. The Cavaliers have dominated this series in recent years, winning eight of the last 10 meetings against the Magic.

This time around, the Cavaliers are favored by 8.5 points in the latest Cavaliers vs. Magic odds, and the over/under is 217 points. Before entering any Magic vs. Cavaliers picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Orlando vs. Cleveland. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for the game:

Cavaliers vs. Magic spread: Cavaliers -8.5
Cavaliers vs. Magic over/under: 217 points
Cavaliers vs. Magic money line: Cavaliers: -352, Magic: +276
Cavaliers vs. Magic picks: See picks here
What you need to know about the Magic
Winning is just a little bit easier when you work as a team to post 10 more assists than your opponent, a fact the Magic proved last Wednesday. They enjoyed a cozy 118-100 victory over New York. The win came about thanks to a strong surge starting at the 11:34 mark of the second quarter when the Magic were facing a 39-27 deficit.

Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero were among the main playmakers for the Magic as the former scored 21 points along with six assists and three steals and the latter went 6 for 10 from beyond the arc en route to 36 points and five assists. The Magic are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games and they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games on the road.

What you need to know about the Cavaliers
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers posted their closest victory since January 7th last Wednesday. The Cavs narrowly escaped with a win as the team sidled past Chicago 108-105. The victory was all the more spectacular given the Cavaliers were down 17 points with 6:14 left in the second quarter.

Donovan Mitchell was his usual excellent self, scoring 30 points along with seven assists and six rebounds. For the season, Mitchell is averaging 28.4 points, 6.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. Mitchell (illness) is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest. The Cavaliers have won 10 of their last 11 games and they’re 13-7 against the spread in their last 20 contests.

How to make Cavaliers vs. Magic picks
The model has simulated Cavaliers vs. Magic 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits in almost 70% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Byadmin

2024 NBA picks, February 22 predictions from proven model

We’ve got another exciting Atlantic Division matchup on the NBA schedule as the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors are set to tip at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto is 19-36 overall and 11-16 at home, while Brooklyn is 21-33 overall and 8-16 on the road. The Nets have dominated this series in recent years, winning eight of the last 10 meetings against the Raptors.

This time around, the Raptors are favored by 1 point in the latest Raptors vs. Nets odds, and the over/under is 231.5 points. Before entering any Nets vs. Raptors picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the advanced computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Brooklyn-Toronto. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for the game:

Raptors vs. Nets spread: Raptors -1
Raptors vs. Nets over/under: 231.5 points
Raptors vs. Nets money line: Raptors: -115, Nets: -104
Raptors vs. Nets picks: See picks here
What you need to know about the Nets
The Nets were expected to have a tough go of it last Wednesday, and, well, they did. It’s going to take some time for them to recover from the 136-86 bruising that the Boston Celtics dished out last Wednesday. The loss unfortunately continues a disappointing trend for the Nets in their matchups with the Celtics: they’ve now lost four in a row.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the score, the Nets struggled to get the ball back on offense and finished the game with only six offensive rebounds. Brooklyn has struggled as the underdog this season and is currently 9-28 in that position. The Nets are also 2-12 against the spread in their last 14 games on the road.

What you need to know about the Raptors
Meanwhile, the Raptors’ recent rough patch got a bit rougher last Wednesday after their third straight defeat. They fell just short of Indiana by a score of 127-125. Despite their loss, the Raptors saw several players rise to the challenge and make noteworthy plays. Scottie Barnes, who dropped a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds, was perhaps the best of all.

For the season, Barnes is averaging 20.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. Barnes racked up 17 points and 11 rebounds in Toronto’s setback against Brooklyn on Nov. 28.

How to make Raptors vs. Nets picks
The model has simulated Raptors vs. Nets 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Byadmin

‘We’re never going to bottom out’

Generally speaking, success does not last forever in the NBA. Talented teams break up. Dynasties end. If you’re running a team that is in championship contention, you spend as much money as you’re allowed and steal from your future in order to maximize your short-term odds of winning it all. Eventually, inevitably, when you can’t see a path to the top, you must accept reality. This often means going all the way to the bottom.

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob, however, rejects this life cycle. He believes that the Warriors are an exception to the rule and that they have an “ace in the hole,” Lacob told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

“We are the Golden State Warriors,” Lacob said. “I believe in the culture. I believe that word gets out. I could go on and on. I’m not trying to brag. I’m just saying, that’s who we are.

“We’re never going to bottom out. I won’t settle for that. We’re not doing that.”

Lacob is not exactly guaranteeing that the Warriors will never be near the bottom of the standings under his watch. He is saying, though, that he believes they will never have to go there intentionally. In discussing the “tough path” they tried to walk with the two-timeline plan (i.e. developing Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and the since-traded No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman while competing for championships), Lacob described himself as an owner “who doesn’t want to ever be in the lottery, ever.”

He added, “We don’t want to be bad. We don’t want to go through a transition. I just can’t do that.”

Lacob is always thinking big, and he is confident that Golden State can attract top talent. Just before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, he reportedly called Jeanie Buss, the owner of Los Angeles Lakers, to ask about a potential LeBron James trade. (ESPN reported that neither James nor the Lakers were interested.) The team’s dream scenario is somehow landing Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it will explore any avenue it might have to get James, Paul George, or even ex-Warrior Kevin Durant, according to The Athletic.

“I’m not going to comment on something I can’t comment on, but, in general, I just want to win,” Lacob told ESPN. “We just want to win. We want to be the best, and we’re going to try whatever tactic it takes to get there. I am not here to screw around. We are not here to screw around. We are not here to be just ‘some team.’ We’re not going to do that. We may fail. Everyone fails. We may fail occasionally, but it will not be for lack of trying.”

As always, you can either commend Lacob on his confidence and competitiveness or clown him for his cockiness. The “we may fail” bit indicates that he doesn’t think the Warriors are infallible, but there is some arrogance inherent in any team-building plan that dismisses both being in the lottery and being just “some team.” The precise reason that franchises like the Oklahoma City Thunder have decided to build through the draft is that they didn’t want to be just “some team.”

Stephen Curry turns 36 next month, and it’s totally rational that Golden State does not want to think about rebuilding in the near future. It is possible that the team, which is 27-26 but has won eight of its past 10 games, will go on a post-All-Star run and establish itself as a legitimate title contender again this season. It is also possible that the front office will find a way to add another star and extend the Warriors’ championship window. If either of those things happen, though, it will be an incredible feat and a testament to Curry’s sustained brilliance. The NBA’s new collective-bargaining agreement has made it more difficult than ever to keep teams together (and improve expensive rosters), and Lacob himself recently said the Warriors would like to get out of the luxury tax next season.

As determined as Lacob might be to win, at some point – maybe in a few months, maybe only after Curry retires – he and the Warriors will likely find themselves in an extremely uncomfortable position: No shot at a title, with a choice between two unappealing options: rebuilding and mediocrity. No team, not even the San Antonio Spurs, who long served as their model, has been able to avoid this in perpetuity.

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Magic’s Paolo Banchero stands out as top fantasy play for Wednesday

Wednesday’s NBA slate will feature nine games, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Here’s who you should keep an eye on as you look to build optimal lineups:

Banchero is gearing up for his third meeting with the Atlanta Hawks this season. He torched them for 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists the last time they played and will need to be aggressive to keep up with Atlanta’s high-octane offense. The Orlando Magic forward is down Franz Wagner (ankle) and has had to do some heavy lifting — he’s posted 27.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists over his previous seven outings, and he attempted more than 20 shots in five of those contests. Banchero’s shot volume and increased playmaking involvement will elevate his fantasy ceiling for the foreseeable future.

Barrett’s efficiency has been off the charts since the New York Knicks traded him to the Toronto Raptors. He’s tallied at least 23 points, six rebounds and two assists in four of his last five games while shooting 59.7% from the field. He notched at least 35 minutes in four of those contests and Pascal Siakam’s absence should help him take on an even larger role in the offense. The Miami Heat are a stingy defensive team, but Toronto’s recent trade with the Indiana Pacers could allow Barrett to pop on Wednesday.

“Dillon the Villain” is ready to handle a full workload after returning from an oblique injury and loves playing in Madison Square Garden. The Houston Rockets wing has scored at least 23 points in four straight meetings with the Knicks and those contests were on the road. Brooks logged 31 minutes in his second game back from injury and Houston will likely need to lean on his physicality against the new-look Knicks.

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2024 NBA picks, Jan. 17 best bets by proven model

The Cleveland Cavaliers welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Wednesday evening. Cleveland is 23-15 overall and 14-8 at home this season, with the Cavaliers also entering on a five-game winning streak. Milwaukee is 28-12 overall and 9-8 on the road. Darius Garland (jaw) and Evan Mobley (knee) are out for Cleveland, with Caris LeVert (wrist) listed as questionable. Jae Crowder returns to action for the Bucks, and Milwaukee lists no injuries for Wednesday’s game.

For this game, SportsLine consensus lists the Bucks as 4-point favorites, and tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. The total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, or the over/under, is 236.5 in the latest Bucks vs. Cavaliers odds. Before making any Cavaliers vs. Bucks picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Bucks vs. Cavs and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Cavs vs. Bucks:

Bucks vs. Cavaliers spread: Bucks -4
Bucks vs. Cavaliers over/under: 236.5 points
Bucks vs. Cavaliers money line: Bucks -179, Cavaliers +150
MIL: The Bucks are 8-9 against the spread in road games
CLE: The Cavaliers are 10-10-1 against the spread in home games
Bucks vs. Cavaliers picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Bucks can cover
The Bucks lean on two of the best players in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard. The pairing combined for 65 points in Milwaukee’s victory over Cleveland earlier this season, and Antetokounmpo is once again in the MVP race. Antetokounmpo is averaging 31.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 60.8% from the field and providing strong defensive impact. In the last six games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 33.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, and he is flanked by a fantastic shot creator in Lillard.

In his first season with the Bucks, Lillard is putting up 25.2 points and 6.8 assists per game, and he remains one of the league’s best pull-up shooting threats. With Antetokounmpo and Lillard at the forefront, the Bucks are No. 2 in the NBA in offensive efficiency, scoring more than 1.21 points per possession. The Bucks are second in the league in free throw creation, averaging 26.4 attempts per game, and Milwaukee is also in the top three of the NBA in field goal percentage (50.2%), 2-point percentage (58.7%), and 3-point percentage (38.3%) this season. See which team to pick here.

Why the Cavaliers can cover
Cleveland has the clear advantage over Milwaukee when it comes to defensive impact. The Cavaliers are in the top five of the NBA in defensive efficiency, giving up only 111.7 points per 100 possessions. Cleveland ranks in the top five of the league in opponent field goal percentage (45.9%) and opponent 2-point percentage (52.3%), and opponents are shooting only 35.6% from 3-point range against the Cavaliers. Cleveland is in the top three of the league in assists allowed (24.2 per game), and the Cavaliers are averaging 7.9 steals per contest.

From there, Milwaukee has clear defensive flaws, including the league’s worst mark in turnover creation (11.8 per game) and a bottom-five ranking in steals (6.5 per game). On offense, Cleveland is clearly led by Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 30.1 points per game in the last eight outings and 28.1 points per game for the season. The Cavaliers are shooting 55.7% on 2-point attempts, and Cleveland is firmly in the top 10 of the league in offensive rebound rate (30.1%) and second-chance points (16.2 per game). See which team to pick here.

How to make Cavaliers vs. Bucks picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the total. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time. You can only see the model’s picks at SportsLine.

Byadmin

2024 NBA picks, Jan. 17 best bets by proven model

The Dallas Mavericks (24-17) go on the road to square off against the Los Angeles Lakers (20-21) on Wednesday. The Western Conference is extremely competitive halfway through the season. Dallas sits as the No. 5 seed, meanwhile, Los Angeles is in the 10th spot. The Mavericks are ranked seventh in the league in scoring (118.7), while the Lakers average 114.1 points per game, which is good for 19th in the NBA. LeBron James (ankle) is listed as questionable for Los Angeles, while Luka Doncic (ankle) is questionable for Dallas.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The Lakers are 4-point favorites in the latest Mavericks vs. Lakers odds via SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is 243.5. Before making any Lakers vs. Mavericks picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Lakers vs. Mavs and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Mavs vs. Lakers:

Lakers vs. Mavericks spread: Los Angeles -4
Lakers vs. Mavericks over/under: 243.5 points
Lakers money line: Los Angeles -172, Dallas +144
LAL: The Lakers have hit the game total Under in 31 of their last 46 games at home
DAL: The Mavericks have hit the 1Q game total Under in 19 of their last 27 games
Lakers vs. Mavericks picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Lakers can cover
The Lakers have added D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves back to the starting lineup. Reaves is a crafty ball handler and three-level scorer. The Oklahoma product gets into the lane with ease and has a knack for drawing contact to get to the free-throw line. The 25-year-old averages 15.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. In his last outing, Reeves finished with 15 points and seven assists.

Russell owns a smooth jumper on the perimeter with solid vision as a playmaker. The Ohio State product logs 15.4 points, 6.1 assists, and shoots 39% from beyond the arc. He’s dished out at least six assists in four of his last five games. On Jan. 13 versus the Jazz, Russell notched 39 points, eight assists, and went 6-of-11 from downtown. See which team to pick here.

Why the Mavericks can cover
Guard Kyrie Irving is an explosive ball handler and scorer who has the quickness to blow past defenders and is an acrobatic finisher around the rim. Irving averages 25.8 points, five rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. In Monday’s win over the Pelicans, he dropped 42 points, seven boards and seven assists.

He’s scored 33-plus points in five straight games. Forward Tim Hardaway Jr. is a nice perimeter asset for the Mavericks. He can score off the dribble or put the ball on the deck when needed. The Michigan product logs 18.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Hardaway Jr. dropped 24-plus points in three straight games. In his last outing, he totaled 41 points and made nine 3-pointers. See which team to pick here.

How to make Mavericks vs. Lakers picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, projecting 237 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time. You can only see the model’s picks at SportsLine.

Byadmin

Jrue Holiday assists and rebounds prop stands out in Wednesday’s best bets

Nine games make up Wednesday’s NBA slate with matchups tipping off between 7 and 10 p.m. ET. The Golden State Warriors-Utah Jazz matchup has been postponed, but there are still plenty of options to choose from. Are you looking to find an edge? We’ve gone over each pairing to identify a moneyline, spread and player prop pick worth considering.

Moneyline: Miami Heat (-155) @ Toronto Raptors
Jaime Jaquez Jr. is out with a groin injury but Jimmy Butler is back in the mix just in time to take on the depleted Raptors. Bam Adebayo should dominate Toronto’s frontcourt in the absence of Jakob Poeltl (ankle) and Pascal Siakam, who was traded to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Miami has excelled while shorthanded all year while Toronto is 0-1 without Siakam.

Spread: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Detroit Pistons under 222.5 points (-110)
The league’s top defense will face the Pistons’ bottom-five offense in Wednesday’s first game. Minnesota is holding opponents to a league-low 107.3 points per game and Detroit won’t have its primary creator in Cade Cunningham. The Pistons scored 110 points or less in three of their last four games before hanging 129 on the Washington Wizards’ bottom-ranked defense. It’s unlikely that Detroit will have the firepower to keep this competitive as 13.5-point underdogs.

Player prop: Jrue Holiday over 12.5 rebounds + assists (+104)
Derrick White has been ruled out with an elbow injury so the Celtics will rely heavily on Jrue Holiday. The point guard has averaged an impressive 8.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists in the three contests he’s appeared in without White this season while logging nearly 40.0 minutes per night. Boston likely won’t rely on Payton Pritchard too heavily, as a quick, strong guard will be needed to stick with Donovan Mitchell. Holiday is averaging 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists without White as a Celtic, so I’m comfortable with this total. Especially given that he’ll likely play at least five more minutes than he usually does.

Byadmin

Pacers finalize deal to acquire All-Star forward from Raptors

The Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers have finalized a deal that will send two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam to Indiana, the Pacers announced on Wednesday night. The Raptors will receive three first-round picks as well as Bruce Brown and Jordan Nwora in the blockbuster deal that comes three weeks ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline. The Pelicans are also involved in the trade, sending Kira Lewis Jr. to Toronto.

Two of the three first-round picks acquired from the Raptors will be in the 2024 NBA Draft: Indiana’s pick, plus a pick originally acquired from the Thunder that will be the lowest pick among the Jazz, Rockets and Thunder’s picks. The other first-rounder is Indiana’s 2026 selection. The 2026 pick is top-four protected, per The Athletic.

Here’s the deal in full:

Pacers receive: Pascal Siakam, 2024 second-round pick (via Pelicans)
Raptors receive: Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, Kira Lewis Jr., 2024 first-round pick (via Pacers), 2024 first-round pick (lesser of picks from Jazz/Clippers/Rockets/Thunder) and 2026 first-round pick (via Pacers, protected 1-4)
Pelicans receive: Cash considerations
Siakam, an impending free agent, is “expected to be eager” to work out a long-term deal this summer to stay in Indiana, ESPN adds.

“I’m excited that Pascal is getting a first-class opportunity with the Pacers, being paired with Tyrese [Haliburton] and Myles [Turner] and being coached by a great coach in Rick Carlisle. His future there looks bright there,” Siakam’s agent Todd Ramasar told Andscape.

Several other teams reportedly explored acquiring Siakam, including the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors were seemingly at one point involved in talks with the Sacramento Kings, but those talks eventually fizzled. Sacramento was reportedly been unwilling to include second-year forward Keegan Murray in any deal for Siakam. Siakam, with his summer date with free agency, had unusual leverage in these trade talks. He could scare off teams he was not interested in by refusing to negotiate an extension.

Indiana, now 23-17 and holding the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, was well-positioned to make the significant addition. Not only did the Pacers — who average an NBA-best 125.6 points per game — own all of their own first-round picks as well as another 2024 first-rounder from the Thunder, but they are positioned to create max cap space this offseason as well. That gave them a bit of leverage against the Raptors in these negotiations.

Siakam, 29, is averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season. This is his eighth season in the NBA, all of which came with the Raptors, who drafted him 27th overall in 2016. Siakam has made two All-Star teams, two All-NBA teams and helped Toronto win its first NBA title in 2019.

The Raptors already made a big trade this season by sending OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks in a deal that landed them RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. Barrett and Quickley have fit in seamlessly in Toronto, and now, the Raptors dealt another key veteran to continue their push to make the roster younger around centerpiece forward Scottie Barnes.

Indiana is not known to be especially aggressive in pursuing veteran talent, but the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton as a legitimate MVP candidate has changed their roster-building calculus. The right upgrades could turn the Pacers into championship contenders in the near future.