Just when it seems like we’re getting a bit of clarity in the NBA postseason race, everything changes. The Mavericks and Pelicans had carved out a bit of breathing room for the final guaranteed postseason spots in the West, but they’ve given it back recently. The Pelicans have dropped two straight contests, while the Mavs lost to the Warriors in their last contest.

The Kings and Suns each picked up a win in their last game, so those four teams are now separated by just one game in the standings. Even the Lakers are alive for a guaranteed playoff spot! This race is likely coming down to the final day of the regular season.

Meanwhile, the battle for the No. 1 seed in the West is even thinner, with the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Thunder all within 0.5 games of each other. They’re all tied in the loss column, with the Nuggets owning a one-game edge in wins. The head-to-head matchup between the Nuggets and Timberwolves next week could ultimately decide who has homecourt advantage in the Western Conference.

Will we get any clarity on Wednesday, or will chaos continue to reign? Let’s dive into a few of my favorite NBA best bets for Wednesday, starting with a real doozy…

NBA Bets Today - Wednesday, April 3

Hornets ML vs. Trail Blazers (-106; FanDuel)

This is a classic showdown between two teams who both desperately want to lose. It’s the kind of matchup that we occasionally see at the end of the year; while some teams are jockeying for playoff positioning, others are trying to move up in the lottery.

Both squads have been doing a pretty good job as well. The Blazers are currently riding a 10-game losing streak, while the Hornets have lost three straight and nine of their last 11. Charlotte is now just 0.5 games behind the Spurs for the third-worst record in the league, while the Blazers are 1.5 back. The team that finishes with the third-worst record gets the maximum number of ping pong balls in the lottery, so it’s easy to see why winning might not be the biggest priority for both squads.

So, how do you handicap a contest like this? It’s important to remember that teams look to tank, not the players. The guys who are on the floor are still going to be trying their hardest, so the evaluation process isn’t that much different overall.

When looking at these rosters, it’s hard not to prefer the Hornets. Even with Miles Bridges not expected to suit up, they still have a solid talent edge over the Blazers. Brandon Miller has had a promising rookie season, while guys like Tre MannGrant Williams, and Davis Bertans at least belong on an NBA court.

The Blazers have very few guys who I know for certain will be in the NBA in the future. Most of their best players are sidelined, and Scoot Henderson has not lived up to the billing as the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. His book is far from written – he can turn things around in future years – but he just set the wrong kind of record a few nights ago.

I think the Hornets deserve to be favored in this spot, so I’ll grab them on the moneyline at -106.

Magic +4.5 at Pelicans (-115; BetMGM)

These have been two of the biggest surprises this season. The Magic have greatly exceeded expectations, and they’ve been excellent over the second half of the year. They’re currently tied for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, and the No. 3 seed is within their sights.

The Pelicans have also been fantastic over the second half, but they’ve shown some signs of regression since losing Brandon Ingram to injury. They’ve lost two straight games, albeit to strong teams in the Celtics and Suns.

The Magic might be a slight step down in competition from Phoenix, but they’re definitely in the same ballpark. They’re No. 4 in Net Rating since the All-Star break, outscoring opponents by +6.5 points per 100 possessions. They’re also one of the few teams that are fully healthy at the moment, with only Caleb Houstan listed as questionable.

The Pelicans desperately need a win in this spot, but without Ingram, they’re facing an uphill battle. I’ll take the points with the underdog.

Lakers -13.0 at Wizards (-108; DraftKings)

I rarely bet on the Lakers, who are consistently overvalued by the public. They’re merely an average team at this point, ranking in the middle of the pack in Net Rating for the year and since the All-Star break.

That said, I’m laying the wood with LA in this spot. The Wizards are barely an NBA team at this point, and they should be really thin on the second leg of a back-to-back.

They did manage to beat the Bucks on Tuesday, but they had Deni Avdija in the lineup. There’s no guarantee he suits up on Wednesday, while Kyle KuzmaTyus Jones, and Richaun Holmes all missed Tuesday’s contest. Their injury report will be important to monitor, but I’m expecting them to be at far less than 100%.

The Lakers are also on the second leg of a back-to-back, but head coach Darvin Ham has already stated that he expects LeBron James and Anthony Davis to be in the lineup. The Lakers still have a chance to move up from the No. 9 spot in the West – they’re just 1.5 games behind the Suns and Kings – and the difference between ninth and eighth is massive.

Ultimately, I’m expecting the Lakers to take care of business. They need a win, while the Wizards are just ready for the season to be over. This one shouldn’t be close.

NBA Player Props Today - Wednesday, April 3

Pascal Siakam Over 0.5 3-pointers (+100; DraftKings)

  • Play To: Over 0.5 (-130)
  • Paydirt DFS simulations: Over 0.5 in 83.24%

It’s rare to see an NBA player have a 3-point prop of just 0.5. It’s even rarer to have the over on that prop priced at +100. It’s rarer still when that guy plays for a team that averages 120.0 points per 100 possessions.

Siakam checks all three boxes for Wednesday’s matchup vs. the Nets. Siakam is far from a lethal 3-point shooter, but he’s not a non-factor either. He’s averaged 1.0 made 3-pointers since arriving in Indiana while knocking down 38.2% of his attempts. He’s had at least one triple in 24 of his 35 games with the Pacers (68.6%), including five of his past seven.

Brooklyn is also a decent matchup, ranking in the middle of the pack in opponent 3-pointers made per game. Siakam might be due for a bit of regression from an efficiency standpoint – he’s a career 32.9% shooter from downtown – but this number is simply too low. Getting the over at even money is a steal, and I’d play it to -130.

Donovan Mitchell Under 26.5 points + rebounds (-113; FanDuel)

  • Play To: Under 26.5 (-120)
  • Paydirt DFS simulations: Under 26.5 in 61.02%

Mitchell has had a fantastic season for the Cavaliers, but he’s missed a lot of time with injury of late. He sat out the teams most recent contest vs. the Jazz, and he’s missed 16 of their past 23 outings.

He’s expected to return to the lineup Wednesday vs. the Suns, but expect the Cavs to take it easy on their star shooting guard. Their seed is still up in the air for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but that doesn’t matter if Mitchell isn’t at 100%. If he’s not ready for the postseason, it doesn’t matter what seed they get.

Mitchell has played 32.3 minutes or fewer in his past four contests, and I’d expect a similar workload on Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, the reduced playing time has had a significant impact on his numbers. He’s averaged just 13 points and 2.5 boards in those contests, so I’m willing to grab the under on 26.5 at -120. Even if he sees a slight uptick in playing time, we have plenty of cushion compared to his recent output.

Matt LaMarca
Matt LaMarca
Matt LaMarca has worked full-time in the sports betting and DFS industry since 2018, with his work appearing on sites like The Action Network, DraftKings, Awesemo, and Props.com. He has a proven record as a bettor thanks to his analytic approach focused on line movement, public betting percentages, and trends. He specializes in the NFL and NBA sides, but he’s also had success in MLB, college football, and the player prop market. Matt is also an avid Mets fan who hopes to be alive for the team’s next World Series, whenever that may be.