The All-Star break is in the rearview mirror, which means that the momentum of the NBA season is about to pick up. Sports betting cappers know that it’s all leading to the chase for playoff positions and seedings that will culminate in April and then give way to the two months that will decide a champion.
Boston Celtics @ Phoenix Suns
Wednesday, 9:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Suns -8
This game could offer some intrigue, if only because the NBA trade deadline is near and Rajon Rondo is still a Celtic. There does not appear to be a deal in the works for Rondo, which should probably have a calming effect on both him and the Celtics. If Boston – after a break of nearly a week – is able to find fresh answers during the second half of the season, this could become a team that will at least threaten to grab the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If the Celtics dig deeply, they might be able to throw a scare into a Phoenix team that – while seemingly legitimate – could still potentially turn into a pumpkin in the final 30 games of the season. One should not expect this to happen, however. The Suns have been a far better ballclub to this point in time.
Brooklyn Nets @ Utah Jazz
Wednesday, 9:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Brooklyn -2.5
The key aspect of this game is something that will be shared by a lot of other games being played on Wednesday night: It will be the first game after the All-Star break for both teams. Since the Nets are so old – Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in particular – they are probably going to benefit more than other teams from the ability to rest and recover. The Nets will have been able to refocus as they attempt to move upward in the Eastern Conference standings. Say all you want about the desire of Pierce and Garnett to get one more shot at the Miami Heat, a mortal enemy, in the postseason; it would be far better for the Nets to get at least the number six position in the East so that they wouldn’t have to face Miami in the first round. They could actually win a playoff series. Expect Brooklyn to beat Utah and cover on the betting lines.
Pick: Brooklyn -2.5
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers
Wednesday, 10:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Trail Blazers -3.5
The San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of their annual “Rodeo Road Trip,” the longest trip of the season while the city of San Antonio hosts a sprawling rodeo in an arena that is unavailable for basketball. During this road trip, the Spurs have not been close to full health, and they won’t be back to full health for this game. Tony Parker won’t play, in a bit of breaking news announced by head coach Gregg Popovich after the All-Star Game. Kawhi Leonard is on the verge of returning to the lineup, but how effective he’ll be is anyone’s guess. Tiago Splitter is doubtful for this game as well. Moreover, San Antonio will have played the previous night in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The Spurs are just not in a very good position to handle this game or the final stretch of this road trip, which extends through the All-Star break and continues on the other side of it. Portland has struggled in recent weeks, but the youthful Blazers – who saw the All-Star break arrive at just the right time – should be refreshed and ready to perform well.