Wednesday tip-off: 4 NBA picks to earn midweek money
Our best bets for a busy night of basketball, including the showdown at the top of the Western Conference...
Boston Celtics to beat Milwaukee Bucks -
In a meeting of two young, exciting Eastern Conference teams, the Celtics should come out on top.
Boston have surged to the top of the standings with a four-game winning run, and have been beaten just twice in their last 10 fixtures.
Their last loss at home came over a month ago, and they have a formidable record of 27 wins and just nine defeats at the TD Garden this season.
The Bucks, meanwhile, have played well recently with six wins in their last nine games.
They have lost 19 of their 36 away games, though, and lost their only meeting with Boston this season.
Given that the Celtics rank higher than Milwaukee in both offensive and defensive rating, a repeat of that result is likely.
Miami Heat to beat New York Knicks -
The Knicks eased to victory against the Pistons last time out, building a large lead in the third quarter and eventually winning by 14 points.
Unfortunately for them, however, that kind of result has been the exception and not the rule in the second half of the season.
New York have won just five out of 17 since the All-Star break, with Monday night’s win just their second in their last 10.
It is unlikely they will turn that form around against the Heat, who have won 11 of 17 since All-Star weekend.
These teams are relatively evenly-matched in terms of scoring, with the Knicks ranked 16th in offensive rating, just three places higher than Miami.
But the Heat have a clear advantage at the other end of the court, where they rank sixth and the Knicks are 27th.
San Antonio Spurs to beat Golden State Warriors -
The two best teams in the NBA meet on Wednesday night in a likely preview of the Western Conference finals.
The Warriors have the league’s best record, and are three wins clear at the top of the standings.
They are, however, without Kevin Durant, who has been out with a knee injury for the past month.
That should prove crucial against the Spurs, who have lost just seven times in 36 home games this season.
San Antonio have won 13 out of 15 against the top four seeds from each conference, including two blowout wins in two games against Golden State.
They have been at their best against the NBA’s elite all season, and it would be no surprise if that trend continued here.
Washington Wizards to beat Los Angeles Clippers -
The Clippers are floundering.
Doc Rivers’ side have lost five of their last nine games, and blew an 18-point fourth-quarter lead at home to the lowly Sacramento Kings last time out.
It won’t get any easier for Los Angeles on Wednesday night when they host the Wizards, who have climbed to third in the Eastern Conference with a four-game winning streak.
Washington’s youth and athleticism – particularly in the form of All-Star point guard John Wall – make them a tough match-up for the Clippers and 31-year-old Chris Paul.
LA are a talented team, and are perfectly capable of winning this game.
But their recent struggles make it hard to trust them to do so if it is close in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards, at this attractive price, are the right bet.