- The Blazers are 10-3 against the spread this season, but surprisingly they’re a bad bet against a LeBron-led Lakers team that is finding its way with Tyson Chandler now in the fold.
After yet another 2-1 night, Three at 3 stayed hot by improving to 25-8 against the spread over the last 11 days. Here are the picks for an action-packed Wednesday night:
1. Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets (+1.5)
7:30 pm ET
While it might seem tempting to bet against the Nets after they lost Caris LeVert indefinitely, the Heat have done nothing to prove that they should be road favorites against anyone this season. On the year, Miami is just 2-3 both straight up and against the spread when playing on the road. The Heat also happen to be coming into this game on a three-game losing streak against the Nets. Brooklyn, meanwhile, is 14-4 against the spread when facing Southeast Division opponents since the start of last season. Losing a player as talented as LeVert is never going to benefit anyone, but the Nets are better equipped than most to handle his absence. Brooklyn already had a bit of a surplus of lead guards to begin with, so there will now be more opportunities for D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. Both players are capable of having big nights any day of the week, and they should be able to hold their own against Miami’s backcourt. The real X-factor in this game is the health of Jarrett Allen, who missed the Nets last game with an illness. If he is back in the lineup, then Brooklyn should have no trouble taking care of business here. The youngster has the ability to make life for Hassan Whiteside very difficult, which is exactly what the Nets need to win this one. Even if Allen doesn’t play, Brooklyn still represents a good value to win because of the disparity in how these teams shoot from the outside, where Miami doesn’t bury enough of its open looks.
Pick: Nets (+1.5)
2. San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns (+5.0)
9:00 pm ET
The Spurs are off to a 7-5 start this season but have struggled on the road. San Antonio is just 2-3 when playing away from home on the year, and the team has lost each of its past two road games—in Miami and Sacramento. The Spurs now face a struggling Suns team at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Don’t expect San Antonio to figure out its road woes here. Since the start of last season, the Spurs are just 8-19 against the spread in road games against teams that allow 106 or more points per game. That’s an important trend to consider here, as San Antonio hasn’t been doing its part to keep bad defenses on their heels when playing on the road. The Spurs also lost by an average of 2.6 points per game in those 27 games. San Antonio is going to be a bit shorthanded, too, as Rudy Gay will be resting here. That might not seem like a gigantic loss for the Spurs, but Gay is averaging 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this year. On a team that is relatively lousy at shooting the three, Gay's 52.4 three-point percentage will be missed. Meanwhile, the Suns have covered in three of their last four home games. They also have Devin Booker back and completely healthy, which was not the case when they lost by 30 to the Spurs on Nov. 1. With the way the Spurs defend the perimeter, Booker is capable of going off tonight. He’ll be able to keep the Suns close, and possibly lead them to an upset win.
Pick: Suns (+5.0)
3. Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers (-2.5)
10:30 pm ET
Siding with the Blazers has been a profitable strategy this season. Portland is 10-3 against the spread coming into this game. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that Los Angeles has what it takes to get the job done here. The first is that the Lakers beat this Blazers team at the Moda Center as recently as Nov. 3. Los Angeles was a 3.5-point underdog in that game but won 114-110. Rajon Rondo rose to the occasion in that one, coming off the bench to add 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 26 minutes of action. The Lakers have also showed that they are able to play up to their competition. Since the start of last season, Los Angeles is an impressive 21-9 against the spread when facing teams that outscore their opponents by three or more points per game. The Lakers have looked a lot more competitive in Tyson Chandler’s first three games with the team. Chandler isn’t quite the rim protector that he once was, but he is still a very good defender. The Lakers are undefeated since signing him, and his presence should pay dividends here. JaVale McGee was already playing well defensively for the Lakers, but Los Angeles now has a defensive anchor on the floor at all times. That’s important against a Blazers team that has a number of guys that are capable of getting to the rim with ease. After a slow start to the season, it appears that LeBron James has found his jumper. Over the past five games, LeBron is shooting 37.5% from the outside to keep opposing defenses at bay. He should lead them to their fourth-straight win tonight, and it’s hard to imagine it not being by at least five points.
Pick: Lakers (-2.5)
Overall Record: 38-23-2