There are several interesting games on the Wednesday night NBA slate, including Kevin Durant making his return to Brooklyn to play the Nets for the first time since asking for a trade. There’s a battle of NBA Western Conference powers in Oklahoma City and the Pistons are getting at least a dozen points in Cleveland. Let’s break it down.
NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | January 31
Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers Best Bet
The Pistons are coming off their best win of the season, by far. They were double digit underdogs to Oklahoma City, but thumped the Thunder 120-104 Sunday. If only the Lions had the same magic Sunday. Jalen Duren had the best game of his NBA career with 22 points and 21 boards.
Detroit has still been playing without star Cade Cunningham, and he’s questionable for this one. He was supposed to return by now. The Pistons are 6-40, and maybe they won’t set a record for worst NBA record ever.
Cleveland is the better team, obviously, and they are 9-1 in their last 10. There were trade whispers about Donovan Mitchell, but the Cavs have played well since.
The Cavs have beaten the Pistons seven straight times. They’ve played twice this season and Cleveland won by nine and eight points. Four times in the last 10 days the Pistons have been double digit underdogs and they’ve covered each time. Detroit can keep it close.
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bet
I keep saying the NBA is an ‘over’ league this season, but these are two teams that have bucked the trend.
This is the marquee game of the night. Denver is 33-15 and second in the West. OKC is 32-15 and third in the West. This is the third game in four nights for the Thunder. OKC has the No. 1 defense in the NBA, allowing 44.9 percent FG shooting.
Now let’s talk the total. Denver’s last six games have hit the under mark, during that time they’re averaging 106 points. The Thunder are averaging 111 points in their last six games. Nikola Jokic is questionable with lower back pain. Thunder star guard Shea Gilgeous-Alexander is questionable with an illness.
Even if they both play, the trend here is defense, which means under is the move.
Phoenix Suns at Brooklyn Nets Best Bet
Kevin Durant makes his return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the first time since forcing his way out of the Nets and getting traded to the Suns.
The Suns have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the calendar flipped. They’re 13-5 in their last 18 games. Durant though, he hasn’t been scoring much lately. He’s become more of a facilitator. Devin Booker has gone off. He’s posted 52, 46 and 62 points recently. So its easy to understand why Durant’s scoring has dropped.
Brooklyn got back enigmatic point guard Ben Simmons for its game over the Jazz. He was brilliant and the Nets stomped the Jazz 147-114. The Nets are boringly average though. They’re 19-27 overall and 22-22-2 against the spread.
Durant will downplay his return, but there’s no way the Suns let him lose tonight. Look for them to cover.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.