Once again, I split my NBA Parlay Picks for Wednesday, March 22. The Denver Nuggets had no problem with the Washington Wizards in the first game of the day as Nikola Jokic had 31 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Three of Denver’s starters had a plus/minus of +28, but the real difference maker was the three-point shooting. While the Nuggets went 15 of 32 from beyond the three-point line, the Wizards went just 4 of 26 from downtown.
Unfortunately, the Utah Jazz let me down as I bought into their chances against the Portland Trail Blazers. We had seen Portland lose six straight games, so it seemed likely that Damian Lillard would start to sit in order for the Blazers to get extra ping pong balls for the draft lottery. Lillard was the difference maker for Portland in the victory with 30 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds. Rookie Shaedon Sharpe was very good too with 24 points, nine rebounds, and four steals.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors
I keep waiting for the Toronto Raptors to turn the corner a little bit. Toronto is right in the middle of the Play-In Tournament picture at this point of the season, as the Raptors have virtually hovered around .500 all season. It looked like we would see a pivot earlier this week after Toronto knocked off Denver, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota in consecutive games, but the Raptors followed that up with a respectable loss to Milwaukee and a bad loss to Indiana.
Gary Trent Jr. and Scottie Barnes are both considered day-to-day prior to this game, but Toronto still has a lot more talent on its roster than Detroit. Jakob Poeltl has been great since the Raptors brought him back to the Great White North, and Pascal Siakam can still stuff a stat sheet.
Meanwhile the Detroit Pistons are one of the teams that has been playing for ping pong balls since the start of the season. Detroit has lost four straight games (all by double digits) as 2021 No.1 overall pick Cade Cunningham has only played in 12 games, and leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic hasn’t taken the court since March 1. Rookie Jaden Ivey is seeing plenty of playing time, and fellow rookie Jalen Duren was seeing an uptick in minutes too until he suffered a head injury against Miami.
That should lead to Toronto covering a double-digit spread per the NBA betting odds.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
There will be a lot of buzz surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder coming into next season. Oklahoma City could have been a real playoff team ahead of this season before the Chet Holmgren injury, but the Thunder are still turning a lot of heads with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poised to be named an All-NBA guard. SGA was the key player that Oklahoma City got back in the Paul George trade, and he is averaging 31.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 5.5 APG.
Gilgeous-Alexander has led the Thunder to wins over Phoenix and the LA Clippers in consecutive games, and OKC is now 36-36 and in eighth place in the Western Conference standings. They are a half-game ahead of both Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoff race, and they split their two previous meetings with the Lakers this season.
This is a tough spot for the Lakers. They have no choice but to go for it considering they mortgaged their future to continue keeping their title window open with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but James is still out and hasn’t played in nearly a month. In the meantime, Davis is doing what he can to keep the Lakers above water, ad he is averaging 25.9 PPG and 12.4 RPG while making almost 56% of his field goals.
The Lakers are going to be favored by the NBA betting line in this game because they are playing at home and there are still quite a few people that doubt the Thunder. Oklahoma City has proven to be gritty and has shown that it can win in LA, so the Thunder are my pick and it could be a juicy moneyline.