NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | March 20

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

How about some March Madness NBA style? We’ve got your best picks for a big Wednesday night in the NBA, including a match-up of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. Is Milwaukee the only team with a shot at beating the Celtics? The Pistons open up a three-game homestand against the Pacers, but are dealing with injuries again.

Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons Best Bet

Pacers -9.5 (-110) at FanDuel

This ugly season for the Pistons has taken another downward turn. After a two-game win streak, Detroit has lost three in a row, including a horrible loss to the Heat where they botched an end-game situation and a chance to win. It is fair to wonder if Coach Monty Williams will be back next year, even though he signed a big deal.

Indiana was the hottest team in the NBA the first two months, remember they went to the finals of the NBA Cup? Now they’re seventh in the East. Tyrese Haliburton just hasn’t been the same player he was early in the year. Indiana is coming off a loss to Cleveland.

Indiana has won three in a row over the Pistons by 14, 8 and 23 points. Detroit is missing Ausar Thompson and Simone Fontecchio with injuries. Cade Cunningham is probable with a knee injury, but the Pistons don’t have the players (or the interest) to keep up with Indiana.

fanduel sportsbook
Pacers -9.5 (-110)

Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics Best Bet

Celtics -8.5 (-110) at BetMGM

This is the marquee game of the night with the top two teams in the Eastern Conference meeting, but there’s a wide margin between the two. Boston is 54-14 and has won six in a row. They are 10 games up on Milwaukee for the top spot in the conference and have already clinched a playoff spot.

Milwaukee did hand the Celtics their worst loss of the season, 135-102, back in January. The Bucks just got back Khris Middleton in Sunday’s win over the Suns, but Giannis Antetokoumpo is dealing with a hamstring issue. He’s averaging over 30 points a game. My guess is he plays tonight, but it may not matter.

Boston has won six in a row against the spread, they lead the NBA in rebounding and are second in the NBA in scoring at 121 a night. They don’t lose a home. They’re 31-3 on the parquet floor. They roll past the Bucks.

betmgm sportsbook
Celtics -8.5 (-110)

LA Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers Best Bet

Over 216 (-112) at DraftKings

The Clippers are suddenly fighting to hold on to the fourth spot in the West (and homecourt advantage in the first round) with the Pelicans nipping at their heels. LA has lost four out of their last five. James Harden has been off since dealing with a shoulder strain. LA has averaged 108 points in their last five games, eight points off their season average.

Portland is already eliminated from playoff contention. They’ve lost seven of their last nine, but they have some guys playing hard. Anfernee Simons is a rising star. He just needs some more talent around him.

This doesn’t look like a high scoring game, but these two teams combined for 259 points when they met in December and 234 back in October. You have a Portland team playing with nothing to lose and a Clippers team looking to find their rhythm again. Add that all up and it means points.

draftkings sportsbook
Over 216 (-112)

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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.