Free Picks: Wednesday, March 8th
If there’s one thing that spurs us on more than winning money, it’s bouncing back after a tough week to make the wins even sweeter. Last week wasn’t great, but we’re here to make things right, and on our favored Wednesday night slates too, no less. There are plenty of games this evening, with a few teams playing their second back-to-back games which could come into play with our picks tonight.
Kevin Durant over 25.5 points scored (-111)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (31-34) make their way to Phoenix for the latter of their back-to-back games to face a revitalized Suns (36-29) team since the return of Devin Booker and the acquisition more recently of Kevin Durant. OKC did win last night at home to Golden State but have had a mixed bag of results when playing on consecutive nights, with the last time they did this actually being against Phoenix and resulting in a 124-115 loss. In total they’ve played 4 matches in 2023 back-to-back, winning 50% of those games, but averaging 122 points against. The Suns’ offense looked as strong as ever last time out against the Mavericks, with Kevin Durant seeing 40 minutes on the court, something he hadn’t done since late October. If he can continue to see out a full game, this should be promising. In the last 10 games that KD has seen 36+ minutes, he’s averaged 33.7 points, and topped 26+ in all 10 of them. The Suns also rank 12th in points scored per game (120) in their last 3, and with a tired OKC team, they should be looking to really put the pressure on them with their high-powered offense tonight. We have Durant projected at 26.98 points.
Jayson Tatum over 15.5 rebounds & assists (-102)
Did we all see Grant Williams’ pre-shot declaration before missing both free throws the other night? Some things you can’t come back from. The Boston Celtics (45-21) however are looking to come back from a 3-game losing streak against the Portland Trailblazers (31-34) who’ve won back-to-back games for the first time in a month. If you include the All-Star game, Jayson Tatum has hit this line in 8 straight matches. Since that game, he’s had 11+ rebounds in 5 of those 6 matchups, and had 5+ assists in all 6 of them. Tonight he’s up against a Trailblazers team ranked 21st in defensive rebounds allowed per game (33.7) over their last 3, and in the same timeframe the Celtics are shooting just 42.9% from the field (28th), which may explain him having 9+ defensive rebounds & 2+ offensive rebounds alone in each game during that time.
Jarrett Allen under 9.5 rebounds (-130)
Next up we’re in Miami as the Heat (35-31) host the Cleveland Cavaliers (41-26) with their sights set firmly on breaking into the main playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Alongside Evan Mobely, Jarrett Allen has been a consistent figure in this Cavs team and sits just 6 rebounds behind Mobely (589) for the season. Though over the last few games, he seems to have lost a little steam. He’s only had 10+ rebounds in 2 of his last 6 games and now comes up against a Miami team that ranks 2nd in defensive rebounds allowed per game (27) in their last 3, and in their last matchup with Miami, he had just 6. As well as this, he’s only played 25 minutes in their last 2 games, a ways from his average of 33 minutes per game, so we’ll hope his slump continues tonight.
CJ McCollum over 20.5 points (-115)
This pick really has more to do with the Mavs’ recent history than the Pelicans tonight, so take a look and make your own decision on this one. The New Orleans Pelicans (31-34) travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks (34-32), on yet another back-to-back matchup for the home team. In the 3 games this calendar year that the Mavs have played on consecutive nights, they’ve lost all 3: 133-128 v Sacramento, 140-123 v Portland & 120-109 v Oklahoma. They’re averaging 131 points against. Now, the Pelicans in their last 3 have only averaged 109.1 points per game (27th) but they may have a slightly better chance against a wary Mavs team. In all the aforementioned 3 games that the Mavs lost, all 3 teams were led in scoring by a guard and all of those players hit 30+: Fox (36), Lillard (40) & Gilgeous-Alexander (33). I’m not putting McCollum in that bracket of scorers, not with his recent form, but I like to find trends, and although he’s been a little boom/bust recently, he’s hit 21+ in 7 of his last 11 games. Our FantasyData projection tool has him at 20.15 points.
I’m David, 28, originally from England but now married and living in Texas. Originally studied English Literature at Liverpool Hope University, alongside Sport & Education. Having been an avid sports fan my entire life, I had a season ticket at Everton FC in the EPL for 17 years. Since moving here I’ve become a Kansas City Chiefs fan after Kelce won me my Fantasy League on my first-ever try. Love watching the games whether it be college on Saturdays or the NFL throughout the week. You’ll always find me with a bet or two on as well. 1 leg losses are my Kryptonite.