Greetings gambling aficionados, it’s Chris Bengel with you once again.

Has there been a more disappointing team in the NBA than the Nets so far this season? First they fired Steve Nash and now, on top of everything surrounding Kyrie Irvinga report has surfaced revealing that Brooklyn is becoming frustrated with Ben Simmons‘ availability and “passion for the game.”

There was a reason that the Sixers chose to part ways with Simmons. It’s hard to blame the Nets for being frustrated with Simmons since he hasn’t been anywhere close to the All-Star caliber player that he was during his time in Philadelphia. Even worse, Durant is being forced to play with a lackluster starting lineup that has the Nets off to a 6-9 start.

Anyway, enough about the Nets. Let’s get to Wednesday’s picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Pacers at Hornets, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV

Latest Odds:

Charlotte Hornets
+1.5

  • Key Trend: The Pacers are 0-6 ATS in their last six meetings against the Hornets
  • The Pick: Hornets -2.5 (-110)

It was a brutal start to the season for the Hornets. But with LaMelo Ball finally back in the fold, this is a team that we can trust again. Ball missed the first 13 games to start off the regular season due to an ankle sprain. Since returning to the lineup, Ball has scored 32 points in two games and while he hasn’t shot the ball insanely well, his presence on the floor is a huge advantage for the Hornets.

Ball did connect on four threes against the Magic in a 112-105 win on Monday and clearly wasn’t afraid to shoot, since he did so on 14 attempts from long-range. As a team, the Hornets had seven players finish in double figures, so they’re more than capable of offering a balanced offensive attack, which takes pressure off of Ball.

Meanwhile, the Pacers have been a pleasant surprise thus far. This is a group that averages 117.3 points-per-game on the season, but they also don’t offer much resistance defensively. Indiana surrenders 117.2 points-per-game, which is the fifth-worst clip in the NBA. Even if they race out to a big lead, it’s never safe considering they’re the worst three-point shooting defending team in the league as they allow their opponents to convert 39.3 percent of their shots.


💰 More NBA Picks


USATSI

Celtics at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds:

Under 234.5

The Pick: Under 235.5 (-110) While this should be an entertaining matchup, the under is definitely the safe play in this spot. Getting to 236 points even with two elite teams is a tall task and I just don’t see it being a possibility here. One of the main reasons is because the Celtics’ backcourt is going to be very shorthanded.

Malcom Brogdon (right hamstring tightness) and Marcus Smart (ankle) have both been ruled out. That likely means that Derrick White will move into the starting lineup and Payton Pritchard will have a larger role on the team’s second unit. That’s just too much of a hit to Boston’s depth, so the usual offensive firepower may not quite be there.

The Hawks come into this game relatively healthy and certainly could be primed to pull off the upset. Atlanta possesses an offense that averages 115.6 points-per-game, but they’re near the bottom of the league when it comes to shooting from three. With that in mind, the under is by far the most valuable play.

Key Trend: The under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the Celtics and Hawks

Heat at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
The Pick: Jimmy Butler Under 25.5 Points (-113)
The Heat have been victorious in five of their last seven games and are currently riding a three-game winning streak. Even though star wing Jimmy Butler has played well, he still hasn’t been scoring at will. That’s why we’re attacking the under on his points prop here.

The Heat star has reached the 26-point mark in only three of his 12 games this season. In addition, Butler has only scored more than 26 points once over his last six games, which was a 35-point performance against the Hornets on Nov. 10. One huge positive is the fact that Butler only attempts 2.4 threes per contest and has connected on multiple threes in just three games this season. Count on Butler to continue to be effective, but not reach the 26-point mark here.

Key Trend: Butler has scored at least 26 points in only three of his 12 games this season

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