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There’s a robust 11-game NBA slate on Wednesday featuring Zion Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans vs. LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers and Trae Young’s return to Madison Square Garden.
My favorite NBA looks on Wednesday are two home teams: New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.
Atlanta Hawks (4-3) at New York Knicks (3-3)
Atlanta has lost back-to-back road games to the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. This is the final game of Atlanta’s 5-game road swing. NY got thumped by double digits in road games at the Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Everyone remembers the Hawks ending the Knicks’ season with a first-round playoff beatdown in 2020-21. But, NY is 6-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) vs. Atlanta over the last two regular seasons with a +9.1 ATS margin.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline (ML): Hawks (+110), KNICKS (-130)
- ATS: Hawks +2 (-110), KNICKS -2 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 228.5 — O: -110, U: -110
The Knicks improved their backcourt
NY’s backcourt was the worst in the NBA last season. The Knicks finally has a point guard after years of misery at that position by signing Jalen Brunson.
Brunson gets Knicks F Julius Randle better looks and reduces SG Evan Fournier‘s role to a 3-point shooting floor spacer and less of a ball handler, which is for the better.
Furthermore, Knicks PG Derrick Rose‘s return to action further bolstered NY’s backcourt. He was a major contributor to the Knicks’ playoff run two seasons ago.
D-Rose runs one of the best 2nd-units in the league and NY’s bench is 2nd in bench points per game (PPG) while Atlanta’s is 22nd.
It’s a better spot for the Knicks
NY last played on Sunday. The Knicks are 10-6 ATS with 2-3 days of rest since the beginning of last season and 13-9 ATS when playing with a rest advantage.
Atlanta last played on Monday. The Hawks are 10-14 ATS when playing with a rest disadvantage over that time span. Plus Atlanta is 6-20 ATS as road underdogs with a -3.0 ATS margin since 2021.
The Knicks match up well with the Hawks because …
‘Styles make fights’
The Hawks attempt the highest volume of mid-range jumpers, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). The Knicks have the best defensive field goal shooting percentage vs. mid-range shot attempts.
Also, NY does a good job defending the play Atlanta runs the most: Pick-and-roll (PnR) through ball handlers. The Knicks have the 6th-best defensive efficiency vs. PnR action through ball handlers.
Finally, the Knicks lead the NBA in second-chance and paint PPG. Whereas the Hawks are bottom-10 in second-chance and paint PPG allowed.
NBA Best Bet #1: Knicks -2 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -3
Memphis Grizzlies (4-3) at Portland Trail Blazers (5-1)
Portland wraps up a 4-game homestand Wednesday by hosting Memphis at the Moda Center for a 10 p.m. ET tip-off. The Trail Blazers won and covered in two of their last three games.
This is the 4th of a 4-game road swing for the Grizzlies. Memphis was swept in a back-to-back at the Utah Jazz after pounding the Sacramento Kings 125-110 on Thursday.
The Trail Blazers were 3-1 SU and ATS vs. the Grizzlies last season, including a 123-119 victory in Memphis without All-Star PG Damian Lillard.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- ML: Grizzlies (-165), TRAIL BLAZERS (+140)
- ATS: Grizzlies -3.5 (-110), TRAIL BLAZERS +3.5 (-110)
Memphis is banged-up and road weary
Grizzlies starters C Steven Adams and SG Desmond Bane are both on the injury report and could miss Wednesday’s. Bane missed Monday’s game in Utah and Adams only played 18:31.
Both Bane and Adams have a higher adjusted on/off net rating than Grizzlies All-Star PG Ja Morant, per CTG.
Memphis is already without All-Defensive PF Jaren Jackson Jr. whose absence hurts the Grizzlies’ rebounding and interior defense because …
Portland attacks the basket and crashes the glass
The Trail Blazers attempt the highest volume of shots at the rim, per CTG, and the Grizzlies are 19th in defensive field goal percentage vs. attempts at the rim.
Jackson’s absence is a big reason why Memphis is 26th in adjusted defensive rebounding rate and allows the 3rd-most second-chance points per game (PPG).
Portland C Jusuf Nurkic is one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA. Nurkic should have success vs. Memphis’s weakened frontcourt.
The Trail Blazers have the better roster (currently)
This might sound crazy but Portland combo guard Anfernee Simons is gonna be up for his matchup with Ja and can somewhat negate Morant Wednesday.
Simons scored 31 points on 61.1% shooting (5-for-10 in threes) when he replaced Dame Time in Portland’s 123-119 victory in Memphis last season.
Also, the Grizzlies were healthier then than now. If Adams misses Wednesday’s game, Nurkic is going to have his way in the paint. Nurkic scored 32 points vs. Adams in Portland’s win mentioned above.
Trail Blazers acquired wing Jerami Grant this offseason. Grant leads Portland in adjusted on/off net rating and without Jackson’s length on the floor, Grant can his shot over any Memphis defender.
The public will be all over the Grizzlies in this spot despite their injuries. But, Memphis is 2-4 ATS so far this season for a reason. The Trail Blazers are still undervalued. Portland has a deeper roster and more continuity this season.
NBA Best Bet #3: Trail Blazers +3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +3
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.