The NBA is rolling out a massive slate on Wednesday, January 19, and we're looking to make things easy on you by picking out the winners. With that said, keep reading for our best bets on a night that features an ESPN doubleheader in which the Boston Celtics host the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Denver Nuggets:
1. Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics - 7:30 p.m. ET
The Hornets are a ridiculous 8-0 against the spread when playing against teams with winning percentages between 51% and 60% this season. They're also 15-5 against the spread against teams with winning records, in general. If that's not enticing enough, Charlotte is 14-4 against the spread when facing teams that force 13.0 or fewer turnovers per game on the year, and Boston just so happens to be 0-7 against the spread when facing teams that get outrebounded by their opponents by 3.0 or more rebounds per game. Also, after winning and covering against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday, the Hornets will get LaMelo Ball back in the lineup for this meeting with an underperforming Celtics team. His playmaking could really get to Boston in this one. Also, Terry Rozier is a threat to have a big performance in what is a revenge game for the sharpshooting guard.
THE PICK: Hornets +3.5
2. Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat - 7:30 p.m. ET
The Blazers might not have Damian Lillard right now but this team is starting to play some solid basketball as of late. Portland has actually won four of its last five games heading into this meeting with Miami, and the team had CJ McCollum back in its win over the Orlando Magic last game. With Anfernee Simons and McCollum in the backcourt, the Blazers still have the firepower at guard to stick around against any opponent. That's especially true against a Heat team that is missing Kyle Lowry. Sure, Miami still has Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but there's no replacing what Lowry can do on the defensive end. And he'd be directly responsible for stopping either Simons or McCollum, so it's just not something bettors should take lightly in a game with such a massive spread. Portland also happens to be 10-6 straight-up and 9-7 against the spread when facing Eastern Conference teams this year.
THE PICK: Blazers +10.5
3. Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets - 10:00 p.m. ET
The Clippers and Nuggets should be very familiar with one another, as this will be their third meeting in less than 30 days. These teams split those first two games, but both of those ones were in Los Angeles. With the two heading to Denver now, look for the Nuggets to come away with a convincing victory. In addition to Nikola Jokic being, by far, the best player on the court in this game, Denver's role players should be able to perform at a much higher level in front of their home fans. The Nuggets have already started to turn things around offensively lately, as they're averaging 125.0 points per game of their last three contests. The Clippers won't be able to keep up with that with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard out. Even Luke Kennard, the team's best three-point shooter, isn't at full health right now. It also doesn't help that the Clippers are 5-10 against the spread against teams with winning records this year.
THE PICK: Nuggets -7.5