The 2022 NBA regular season has almost hit its conclusion, and it seems as if two overlooked teams, the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, are going to earn the top seeds in their respective conferences.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant turned in memorable performances early in the week as the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player award is still far from settled, but before that can be determined, the league has to get past a loaded schedule of Wednesday night basketball.
Here are the best bets from around the league for March 23, 2022.
Atlanta Hawks -4.5 vs Detroit Pistons
Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks will continue their road trip through the Eastern Conference after they used a late-game surge to get past the New York Knicks last night. Young dropped 45 points and eight assists in the victory and will be looking to carry this momentum into a game against a weak Pistons defense.
Detroit pulled a near-comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers but ultimately came up short a couple of nights ago, which is discouraging on two fronts — the first being that they lost to such a bad team, and the second that they had to put in such a large effort to close a massive gap. Detroit has looked better as the season has gone on but is still far too inconsistent to reliably bet on night-to-night, which is why the small Hawks spread takes the cake here.
Phoenix Suns -1 vs Minnesota Timberwolves
The Phoenix Suns have won five straight games ahead of their matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves; they will be without All-Star guard Chris Paul but still have the consistent scoring of Devin Booker, as well as an elite supporting cast. The Suns won both matchups against the T’Wolves earlier in the season and are ready to make it a clean sweep tonight.
Minnesota had the Western Conference’s best record before dropping a closely-fought affair to the Dallas Mavericks two nights ago, and although they are an ascending team, they are simply outmatched. The Wolves can rarely get their stars firing on the same night, and unless they can figure out the recipe on the fly tonight, look likely to lose in a high-scoring event.
Philadelphia 76ers -7 vs Los Angeles Lakers
The term “regression to the mean” comes to mind when thinking of the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night; the 2020 NBA champions are coming off of a big win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James dropped a 38-point triple-double, and Russell Westbrook also had another 20-point double-double.
One of these two is likely to suffer an off-night against the staunch defense of the Sixers. If L.A. does not ready up its defense, they are going to lose the match.
Phili has a serious advantage with Joel Embiid, who the Lakers do not have a defensive counter for. Expect Embiid to go for at least 30 as the Sixers jump out to an early lead and overwhelm the Lakers on both ends.