Free NBA Picks: Warriors Over Thunder and Wednesday’s NBA Predictions

by Kevin Roberts
on January 18, 2017

Wednesday offers a fairly fresh NBA slate, as just two teams (Raptors and Rockets) played on Tuesday night. That means those two teams could be tired, but everyone else playing could be close to full strength. They will be part of a pretty active night of pro basketball action, as we get a solid nine-game schedule to bet with.

It’s a star-studded lineup at first glance, as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant face off in Golden State and we also get stars like James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and many others hitting the hardwood.

One star could miss out on tonight’s action, of course, as Anthony Davis took a fall in his last game and is questionable to suit up for the Pelicans. That’s probably the biggest injury to monitor going into these games, but we’ll do the best we can do touch on any key inactives that could impact your NBA betting.

Let’s dive into a healthy slate and see which way you’ll want to be leaning with tonight’s NBA picks:

Toronto Raptors (-5.5)
VS
Philadelphia 76ers (+5.5)
Total: 210

The Sixers have been surprisingly solid lately, as they’ve gone 6-4 in their last 10 games and even in losses are starting to carve out a more consistent fight. Philly could also be close to 100% for this home date, as point guard T.J. McConnell (wrist) could return to action after missing just one game:

McConnell would shore up Philly’s depth, while the 76ers suddenly could be a dangerous sleeper bet with a tired Raptors team coming to town. Except, not really. Toronto is the second best team in the Eastern Conference for good reason, and they’ve also dominated the Sixers for years. In fact, they’ve ripped off 14 consecutive wins over Philly, while the Sixers haven’t beaten the Raps since the end of the 2012-2013 season.

It’s been bad and while the 76ers are slowly improving, they’re not about to snap this losing skid.

Pick

Raptors
107
Sixers
100
Memphis Grizzlies (+3)
VS
Washington Wizards (-3)
Total: 205

The Grizzlies storm into D.C. in an effort to get back on the winning trail, while the surging Wizards shoot for a third straight win. John Wall has been battling some ailments (wrist) but he looked great in his last game and has the Wiz riding a hot stretch (7-3 in their last 10 games). The Wizards aren’t a lock against a good Memphis team, but it’s tough to ignore their hot run and home record (17-6).

Memphis is the superior defensive team and they could easily put the clamps down here, but they do not have a great offense and are just average on the road (9-10). They could easily grind this one out and smother John Wall, but the Wiz are healthy and really playing lights out these days. Their elite play on their home floor makes them a solid pick tonight.

Pick

Wizards
104
Grizzlies
102
Portland Trail Blazers (+4.5)
VS
Charlotte Hornets (-4.5)
Total: 215

Portland aims to recover from a thorough butt whooping in their last game, when they got housed by the Wizards in D.C. Their prospects don’t look that much better on Wednesday, when they take an abysmal 7-16 road record into Charlotte.

The Hornets have been slipping in the wrong direction lately (five straight losses), but they’re usually good at home (12-7 on their own floor) and are too solid to keep losing. The Blazers don’t defend and don’t play well on the road. We can see a tight contest with a good amount of points, but one where the Hornets finally get it together and get back on the winning path.

Pick

Hornets
105
Blazers
102
New York Knicks (n/a)
VS
Boston Celtics (n/a)
Total: n/a

The Carmelo Anthony trade rumors were alive and well on Tuesday afternoon, as Melo met with Knicks management to discuss his future with the team. That’s rarely a good thing, and when you add a banged up Kristaps Porzingis to the mix, the Knicks are a very tough sell on the road versus the Celtics.

The good news is Melo hasn’t been dealt yet (and may never be), while big man Kristaps Porzingis has a good shot at suiting up in Boston. With the Knicks possibly at full strength, they have to be seen as a potential upset pick.

Luckily Boston is the better team, at home, and isn’t floundering like the Knicks. Rather, the Celtics have looked fantastic lately, ripping off three straight wins and taking 8 of their last 10 contests. Boston is also thriving in this specific series, as they’ve downed Melo and the Knicks in four straight meetings (won 8 of last 9, as well).

The Knicks are in a bad spot any way you look at tonight’s matchup, but their shaky road record (6-15) and recent form (2-8 over their last 10 games) probably seal the deal here.

Pick

Celtics
108
Knicks
102
Orlando Magic (n/a)
VS
New Orleans Pelicans (n/a)
Total: n/a

The big news surrounding this game will be the status of New Orleans big man, Anthony Davis. The Brow took a spill and hurt his hip in the Pel’s last game and is questionable to hit the floor on Wednesday:

That’d be a big loss for the Pels, as Davis tends to wreck (scoring 31+ points per game) on his home floor. Luckily the Pels as a whole tend to play well at home (where they’ve notched 10 of their 16 wins). A healthy duo of Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday have also been great for the Pelicans, who could snap a two-game skid against a Magic team that seems even worse off at the moment (2-8 over their last 10 games).

Orlando’s defense has taken a hit, overall, and they’re even hurting offensively with star guard Evan Fournier (heel) likely sidelined yet again:

Big man Bismack Biyombo is also questionable to play, which could cause a severe dent in Orlando’s sulking defense. That news is only worse if The Brow ends up taking the floor.

Orlando isn’t usually a safe bet on the road (where they’re just 10-13) and they’re not 100%, so they’ll be tough to back in this one even if Anthony Davis is out. We can expect a close game, but Orlando’s four-game run in this series might be coming to an end.

Pick

Pelicans
106
Magic
101
Atlanta Hawks (n/a)
VS
Detroit Pistons (n/a)
Total: n/a

The Hawks and Pistons battle it out in Detroit, in the only other game on the docket that doesn’t presently have betting information out. One key reason why could be the pending status of Hawks star center Dwight Howard, who sat out Atlanta’s last game due to rest and isn’t a lock to suit up in this one. In addition, the Hawks will be without big man Mike Muscala, either way:

Detroit would love for Howard to sit, as his absence would hurt Atlanta’s interior defense and could potentially allow for Andre Drummond to have a big night. That’s even better news with this game going down in Detroit, where the Pistons have played their best ball on the year, going 10-9.

That doesn’t sound amazing, but the Pistons really struggle badly on the road and seem to be a little more cohesive in front of their home crowd. Atlanta isn’t an easy get, of course, as the Hawks are red hot right now (9-1 over their last 10 games) and has done well lately in this series (won 4 of the last 5 showdowns).

The Hawks would normally be the easy play, but with Dwight in limbo and this game being in Detroit, we like the Pistons.

Pick

Pistons
101
Hawks
98
Milwaukee Bucks (+7.5)
VS
Houston Rockets (-7.5)
Total: 227

We get a nice battle in Houston tonight, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden butt heads. Harden is fresh off of a 40-point triple-double in Miami and could be a little tired for this one, but will be back home, where he and the Rockets (16-4) tend to thrive.

Milwaukee certainly isn’t a team that can be taken lightly, of course, as the Bucks have proven to be fairly explosive on offense and can also lock down defensively at times. They haven’t been great on the road, however, as they’re just 8-10 away from the Bradley Center this season.

The Bucks are still dangerous in this spot, as this spread is a tad rich for a team that is extremely efficient offensively (3rd in FG%) and can put Giannis on Harden to give him trouble with size and length. That’s all enough to have us looking at Milwaukee to beat the spread, but the Rockets are too good to drop two games in a row or a game at home that they know they should win. After getting tripped up in South Beach last night, look for the Rockets to be back in top form in a fun one.

Pick

Rockets
116
Bucks
111
Oklahoma City Thunder (+12.5)
VS
Golden State Warriors (-12.5)
Total: 227

Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant II hits the hardwood on Wednesday night, as the Thunder and Warriors face off for the second time this year. The first meeting did not go well for OKC, as Westbrook was really off of his game in a blowout loss.

The Thunder aren’t exactly on a roll as they drop into the Oracle Arena tonight, as OKC is just 5-5 over their last 10 games and will be battling a Warriors team that has been very strong (19-3) at home and is also riding a nice four-game winning streak.

The obvious revenge game goes both ways for KD and Westbrook, but this game is bigger than them. Golden State just got done routing the Cleveland Cavaliers and now look borderline unstoppable. OKC doesn’t have the spread out offense it takes to dismantle Golden State’s defense, while big man Steven Adams (concussion) is also set to sit out for the second straight game:

Not having Adams on the glass and to defend the paint is huge and could be the most obvious reason to go away from OKC here. This spread is fairly rich, but the Warriors take care of business at home and will once again rally behind KD to get a big win.

Pick

Warriors
122
Thunder
105
Indiana Pacers (+1.5)
VS
Sacramento Kings (-1.5)
Total: 214.5

The other late game goes down in Sacramento, where DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings welcome Paul George and the Pacers. This game has a lot of potential for explosive offense and a tight contest, but Indiana’s sketchy road record (5-16 away from home this year) makes them a tough sell as a mild upset.

The Kings certainly haven’t been unbeatable on their home floor (just 8-12) and they’re slumping (3-7 over their last 10 games), but they’re healthy and taking on a Pacers team that struggles both on the road and with general defense (allowing 106 points per game).

This has also been a matchup that has favored the Kings, who have more impressive talent down on the block and have a swingman in Rudy Gay who can contest with PG-13. The Kings ride into tonight’s showdown having won each of the last four games in this series and it’s not too much to ask for them to make it five in a row at home.

Pick

Kings
106
Pacers
104
MONEYLINE
DECIMAL
FRACTIONAL
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