NBA On ESPN Wednesday Night: 3 Underdog Basketball Picks & Predictions

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Written By Josh Lander | Last Updated
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NBA player prop bettors and Underdog Champions contest players have the luxury of choice on Wednesday night with a jam-packed 12-game slate in the Association. I put together my top three plays, all of which are available as straight bets on betting sites, or as a part of Underdog NBA picks. I’m looking at Steph Curry, Tyrese Haliburton, and Kelly Olynyk. Let’s get into it.

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NBA Player Prop Pick: stephen curry Over points (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 26.5 Points

Golden State is on the second leg of a back-to-back situation in Orlando on Wednesday. Curry only dropped 17 points in 31 minutes during the Warriors’ impressive victory over the Heat on Tuesday. His Splash Brother Klay Thompson did the bulk of the damage on offense, posting 28 points over his 30 minutes. Those results offer coach Steve Kerr the freedom to run up a few more minutes for Steph in a pivotal game for the 10-seeded Warriors.

The Dubs have relied heavily on Curry in these situations all season long. In 13 games on no rest, he’s averaging 21 shots in 33 minutes while putting up nearly 30 PPG. His 33.3% usage rate is up nicely from the 31% he averages on the season. While he’s failed to reach 26 points in three back-to-backs since the All-Star break, two of those were blowout wins. In his last game on no rest, Curry put up 18 shots in 29 minutes before exiting with an injury.

Orlando’s stingy defense has had more difficulty defending the NBA’s all-time 3-point leader than most other opponents. Steph has torched the Magic for nearly 34 PPG over his last four meetings with the current Southeast Division leaders. That includes the 36 points he put up at home earlier this season.

As good as the Magic’s defense has been, its weakest point is at the top of the attack. Ball handlers in the pick-and-roll have had plenty of success as Orlando allows the 5th most PPG to that play type. Simply put, Jamahl Mosley’s defense would rather pack in the paint to ensure opponents can’t gain an advantage driving to the rim. That leaves way too much room for the best shooter of all time and he’s taken advantage. Let’s bank on him doing it again while he tries to drag this Warriors team back into the postseason.

Use our player props search tool to find the best odds for NBA props on your favorite players. If you’re interested in betting spreads, discuss betting angles with other NBA bettors in our free Discord.

NBA Player Prop Pick: tyrese haliburton Over Assists (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 11.5 Assists

After taking more than a month to ramp his minutes back up to normal, Pacers’ point guard Tyrese Haliburton appears back to his full form. Even if he wasn’t, taking the over play for his assists against the Bulls would still be reasonable bet. He’s recorded at least 11 assists in five of his last six matchups with Chicago, averaging 12.8 over that time.

In three matchups this season, Haliburton has averaged 26 potential assists per game, leading to nearly 16 assists. To fully illustrate how high 26 potential assists is, even over just a three game sample, Trae Young leads the league in potential assists per game at 18.4.

Bulls defensive specialist Alex Caruso is listed as questionable to play and we may not learn his status until shortly before tipoff. Despite Caruso’s defensive prowess, his presence wouldn’t be much of a hindrance to Haliburton’s assists. The Bulls crowd the top of the key, especially on pick-and-roll plays, forcing the ball out of the point guards hands as often as possible. As a result, Chicago limits opposing PGs to the fewest points per game on the season, while allowing them to record the fifth-most assists.

Haliburton has shown his propensity to find the open man as often as possible and I’m backing his assists play with confidence. In this instance especially, Underdog is providing us with great value to take the over.

NBA Player Prop Pick: Kelly olynyk under PTS + REB + AST (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 25.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists

Olynyk has been the focal point of the Raptors offense over the last six games. Toronto shut down all of its starters and key players with the hopes of a top 3 pick in the draft. That hasn’t led to very many successful nights for Toronto or its undersized starting center. He’s gone under 26 PRA in four of those six games, exceeding it against the Wizards and the Thunder. In his matchup with Oklahoma City, the former Gonzaga Bulldog shot 78% from the field en route to 16 points, both statistical outliers.

Labeling Olynyk as a true center in the NBA is to a complete misnomer. Since assuming the role for the Raptors, he’s recorded 11.8 rebound chances per game and just 5.3 actual RPG. His contested rebound chance percentage stands at an abysmal 30%, well below the mark of Knicks starting center, Isaiah Hartenstein. On the season, Hartenstein has pulled down nearly 50% of his rebound chances. His backup, Precious Achiuwa, is also at 50% since joining the Knicks.

As far as points and assists are concerned, we’re getting good value to play the under thanks to Olynyk’s recent successes as a distributor. Over his last two games, he’s recorded 10 and nine assists respectively, while averaging 14.5 potential assists. Those numbers, however, came against the Wizards and Brooklyn Nets, neither of which compare defensively to the Knicks.

New York limits opposing centers to the fewest points per game, the fewest rebounds per game, and the second-fewest assists. Simply put, this number is a little bit high for Olynyk against decent competition. Against the best possible competition for his position, however, it’s likely 3-4 points over his accurate projections.

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