Wednesday tip-off: 5 top tips for your midweek NBA coupon
With home-court advantage and the best offense in the NBA, the Warriors lead our best bets this week...
Chicago Bulls to beat Orlando Magic –
The Magic’s 23-41 record is no surprise considering how poor they have been at both ends of the court this season.
They rank second-last in offensive rating, and are also among the league’s bottom 10 defensively.
This should be an easy win for the Bulls, who have conceded fewer points per game than all but six teams and currently occupy eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago have beaten four genuine title contenders in the Raptors, Celtics, Cavaliers and Warriors during their last eight games, so this one should prove relatively straightforward.
Milwaukee Bucks to beat New York Knicks –
With seven wins in their last 10 games, the young Bucks are beginning to find their stride.
They are now just two wins off the playoff spots, and should boost their chances of reaching the postseason against the struggling Knicks.
New York have lost three of their last five games and 11 of their last 16, and have only won 11 times on their travels this season in 32 attempts.
These teams split their two meetings earlier this season but, considering the Bucks now rank higher than the Knicks in both offensive and defensive rating, there looks to be only one winner here.
Los Angeles Clippers to beat Minnesota Timberwolves –
The Clippers’ offensive firepower should earn them the win here against a Timberwolves side that simply cannot stop their opponents scoring.
Only seven teams have a worse defensive rating than Minnesota, who have allowed the fifth-highest average shooting percentage this season.
The Clippers, meanwhile, rank eighth in points per game, and have made 46.9 per cent of their field goal attempts – the NBA’s fifth-highest mark.
And being at home is no major advantage for the Timberwolves.
They have won 15 and lost 18 on their own court, while Los Angeles have won 18 and lost 15 on the road.
Toronto Raptors to beat New Orleans Pelicans –
The Pelicans are still struggling to accommodate Boogie Cousins after their blockbuster trade during All-Star weekend, and they now face a real test in the Raptors.
Toronto are fourth in the Eastern Conference and have won five of their last seven games, while New Orleans have lost five of seven since the Cousins trade.
They have scored 98.1 points per game over that period – a drop of over four points from their season average.
They should struggle, then, to outscore the Raptors, who rank fourth in offensive rating this season.
Golden State Warriors to beat Boston Celtics –
In undoubtedly the biggest game of the night, the Warriors should have enough to overcome a potential finals opponent in the Celtics.
Golden State have just completed a gruelling five-game away trip, and will benefit from being back at home where they have won 26 of 29 this season.
An overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies was their only defeat at Oracle Arena since 1 December – a run that now spans 19 games.
Boston are playoff certainties in the East but they have stuttered recently, losing five of their last eight.
It is difficult, then, to see them getting a win here against the title favourites, who rank first in offensive rating and third at the other end of the court.