Somehow, the Brooklyn Nets managed to overcome the absences of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to top the Phoenix Suns last night. That’s impressive. We have another injury-stained marquee matchup on tap for tonight, as the Los Angeles Clippers will have to take on the Utah Jazz without Paul George — and Kawhi Leonard is questionable, too.
If you’re looking to get some skin in the game for tonight’s slate, here are the top NBA betting plays for Wednesday, February 17, provided by BettingPros experts James Bisson, Raju Byfield, and Isaiah Sirois (Main game odds courtesy BettingPros Consensus; lock and prop odds sites may vary):
Betting Lock of the Day
Bisson: Nuggets-Wizards Under 233 (-110 at FD Sportsbook)
I know there’s this temptation to see “Washington” or “Wizards” on the betting card and immediately hammer the over – but there are circumstances to consider here. Denver has a bunch of players listed as questionable, and it’s likely that at least some of them will be sidelined. That will leave Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to once again carry the bulk of the scoring burden on the tail end of a back-to-back. Washington will no doubt be tempted to push the pace against the weary Nuggets, but the 23rd-ranked true shooting percentage doesn’t inspire confidence. This one should come in below its lofty total.
Sirois: Knicks -4 (-114 at FD Sportsbook)
The Orlando Magic lost to the Knicks by a seven-point margin the last time these teams met, and they still had Aaron Gordon and Cole Anthony in the lineup back then. Obviously, things have gotten worse for them since. In contrast, the Knicks are moving in the right direction. They’ve acquired Derrick Rose and are on a three-game winning streak. My efficiency-based model favors the Knicks here, too, and it projects them to win by at least five in what should be a low-scoring, slow-paced game.
Top Team Prop of the Day
Bisson: Magic First Quarter Under 26.5 (-130 at FD Sportsbook)
You could certainly opt for a more valuable team prop Wednesday (Isaiah, for example, has one for you right below this write-up), but this feels like a free betting square. The Magic are a dreadful first-quarter team, and they will likely be missing three-fifths of their starting lineup again Wednesday. The Knicks are a truly stingy first-quarter team, and they should be able to limit Orlando’s possessions over the opening 12 minutes. I see the Magic as being much more likely to finish with under 20 first-quarter points than going over 26.5.
Sirois: Knicks First Quarter -1.5 (-105 at FD Sportsbook)
The New York Knicks allow the fewest points per first quarter (25.3). They may score the sixth-fewest (27), but that average jumps by six points when you look at just their last three games. Going backward, they’ve won those first quarters by margins of 11, five, and seven — all of which point to value on this line. It helps that the Magic score the second-fewest points per first quarter (25), a number which somehow drops by 2.3 points when you look at only their last three games. I also like the Magic first quarter under (as does James, whose writeup you can read above), but I’d prefer to roll with this line due to the juice.
Top Player Prop of the Day
Bisson: Anthony Edwards Over 17.5 Points (-110 at FD Sportsbook)
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is finally being given a shot as a full-time starter — and he’s running with it, as they say. Edwards is averaging 17.3 points through nine February games and has caught fire of late with four 20-point performances in his last six games. He’s also averaging an absurd 15.6 field goal attempts in 32.2 minutes for the month, so he isn’t shy about taking his shots. Look for him to continue to be one of the Timberwolves’ offensive focal points Wednesday against the visiting Pacers.
Sirois: R.J. Barrett Over 14.5 Points (-110 at FD Sportsbook)
I’ll feature one last Knicks play here. Barrett scored 22 points against the Magic the last time these teams met, and he’s averaging 16.5 points per game on the year. Although he failed to go over in three of Derrick Rose’s first four games with the Knicks, all of those performances were due to poor shooting averages, not a lack of volume. Further, Tom Thibodeau admitted that he’d been giving the reserves more run through that stretch, so it makes sense that Barrett failed to go over in those games. Also, it’s worth noting that the Magic give up the fourth-most points per game to shooting guards (24.8). I have faith that Barrett will sail over this low total with ease.