Wednesday Winners: Opportunities Abound On Busy NBA Night

March 8, 2023

Tonight’s Trio

Three bets worth considering on a Wednesday night

© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
Miami-Dade Arena – Miami, FL
7:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Cleveland -2.5

This is an intriguing matchup in south Florida. Both teams are headed to the playoffs, but currently have different levels of stress about getting to the postseason.

Cleveland is currently sitting in the No. 4 seed. They’re three games behind Philadelphia and two ahead of New York. In other words, they’re fairly locked in.

Meanwhile, Miami is sitting in the seventh spot. That means the Heat are in the play-in tournament. They’re 2.5 games back of Brooklyn, with overtaking the Nets being their obvious goal. They also have Atlanta, Toronto and Washington on their heels, which could drastically alter their play-in route.

The Heat are a tough team to beat at home. Miami is 21-12 in front of their fans this season. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are just 13-19 on the road this season.

These two teams have split the head-to-head matchups so far this season. But both of those games have been played in Cleveland. They’ll play tonight and Friday night in Miami.

That doesn’t bode well for the Cavs. They are 3-13 against the spread (ATS) in the last 16 games in Miami.

Put it all together and take the home team getting points tonight.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Miami +2.5 (-110)


© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers Arena – Los Angeles, CA
10:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Los Angeles -3.0

This is a matchup between two middling teams. The Clippers are a disappointing 34-33 this season, currently sitting in the No. 8 spot in the West. Meanwhile, the Raptors are below .500, sitting at 32-34 and holding the ninth season in the East.

Given their star power, however, Los Angeles is the more-underachieving team. That’s been highly evident of late. Prior to their win over the Grizzlies on Sunday, the Clippers were riding a four-game losing streak, looking disjointed and out of sorts.

The Raptors are one of the better defensive teams in the NBA. They’re giving up the seventh-fewest points per game in the league. That could cause trouble for a Clippers team that is out of sync, especially since the Russell Wilson acquisition.

Toronto is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Clippers are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.

Yes, the game is in L.A. But Toronto is simply playing better basketball at this point. Take the points.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Toronto +3.0 (-110)


© Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards
Capital One Arena – Washington, DC
7:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Atlanta -3.0

The race for seeding at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings will be fascinating to watch down the stretch. Multiple teams are bunched together for the play-in spots, with Atlanta and Washington right in the middle of things.

Currently, the Hawks hold the No. 8 spot. They’re a game ahead of the Wizards, who sit in 10th. But the two teams will play each other three times between now and the end of the season, allowing for a lot of jockeying in the standings.

In tonight’s matchup, Atlanta has an advantage. Yes, they’ve lost back-to-back games, both to Miami, and three out of their last four, but they’re catching Washington on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Wizards were in Detroit last night, where they won a 119-117 squeaker to end a two-game losing streak. They had to travel through the night to play a Hawks team that will be rested.

Both teams are mediocre. Neither has been playing well of late. So look at the situation to provide the lean.

The Hawks are favored for a reason. They get the road win tonight.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Atlanta -3.0 (-110)

Perfect Parlay

Today’s best packaged deal

  1. Atlanta Hawks M/L -155
  2. Boston Celtics M/L -500
  3. Phoenix Suns M/L -1000

This might not be the sexiest parlay or price, but tonight’s slate is a bit weak. Since so many underdogs look good tonight, this is the way to look for building a parlay. Find the favorites that should win. Atlanta is in a good spot in Washington. Boston should bounce back against Portland at home. And Phoenix should clean up against OKC. 

Jason Schlefsky’s Three-Leg Parlay = +117

Around the Nation

Things we’ve learned this week

It’s good to be a quarterback – The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Everyone knows that; one look at the teams that made the playoffs will confirm that it’s almost always about who is behind center. The NFL’s franchise-tag deadline also showcased that reality. Despite having a relatively lackluster career thus far in New York, the Giants prevented Daniel Jones from hitting free agency by giving the quarterback a four-year, $160-million deal. One decent season is all it took.


J.J. Redick has no fear – ESPN’s “First Take” is known for trying to stir the pot. In recent days, it’s been Kendrick Perkins who has had the spoon in hand, mixing it up with his opinions about Nikola Jokic. First, he suggested that the two-time MVP is a “stat padder.” Then, Perkins suggested that Jokic has won back-to-back awards because he’s white. On Tuesday, J.J. Redick took issue with that opinion, firing back at Perkins in a heated exchange.