NBA Wednesday best bets: Cavaliers rolling again behind Garland's ascent
We're back from the holiday weekend after going 10-4 against the spread on our NBA picks last week and 20-8 ATS across the last two weeks. Here are our best bets for Wednesday:
You wouldn't know it from looking at their overall record, but the Magic (8-37) have been a tough out for teams all season long, especially this month.
Orlando owns just one loss by 12 or more points since the start of January, posting a 5-4 ATS mark with five single-digit losses and Friday's outright win over the Hornets (-11.5). That stretch has coincided with both the Magic getting healthier and the improved play of brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner.
Moritz didn't play in Orlando's 10-point loss to the 76ers on Jan. 5, nor in its five-point loss to them on Nov. 29. Meanwhile, Philly is shorthanded in this matchup with starter Danny Green joining Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton on the sidelines. Like when these teams met before, this one should be close.
Pick: Magic +12
What have the Hawks done to consistently earn such respect in the betting market? Sure, Monday's comeback win over the Bucks was impressive, but it followed an outright five-game losing streak and capped off a 7-16 ATS run since Nov. 27.
Atlanta ranks 29th in defensive rating (117.2) and opponent field-goal percentage (48.6%), as well as dead last in opponent 3-point percentage (38.9%) during that stretch. Somehow, the Hawks have still been favored in 12 of those 23 games, posting a ghastly 1-11 ATS record in that spot.
So, here we are again, with oddsmakers giving 1.5 points to a Timberwolves squad just days removed from blowing out the mighty Warriors. Karl-Anthony Towns should get whatever he wants inside in an outright win for the road 'dogs.
Pick: Timberwolves +1.5
The Cavaliers were once the best bet in the NBA, jumping out to the most impressive 30-game ATS start in at least 15 years. Then they lost starter and lead facilitator Ricky Rubio and plummeted in his immediate absence.
Things are looking up again due to the stellar play of Darius Garland, who's averaging 20.8 points and a league-leading 12.6 assists over his past five games. Unsurprisingly, Cleveland is 5-0 in that stretch (3-2 ATS) with wins over the Jazz and Nets to boot.
It's a different story for the Bulls, who've stumbled to a 3-7 ATS record in their last 10 games amid injuries to Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Javonte Green, and Derrick Jones, all of whom are expected to miss Wednesday's contest. That's a lot of missing firepower against a Cavs team that finally looks in sync again.
Pick: Cavaliers -3