Why the Pacers actually have a shot at covering vs Celtics, plus other best bets for Wednesday

By | December 21, 2022

Greetings gambling aficionados, it’s Chris Bengel back with you on this Wednesday.

It’s a sad day in the football world as Steelers legendary running back Franco Harris died at 72. His death comes just two days before the 50th anniversary of Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” against the Raiders back in 1972. Along with a celebration of that anniversary, the Steelers were scheduled to retire Harris’ No. 32 during a half-time ceremony. It is unclear if those plans will be altered in the wake of his death. Rest in peace to one of the top rushers that the sport has ever seen.

Let’s jump into Wednesday’s picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV

Latest Odds:

Indiana Pacers +9.5

  • key trends: The Pacers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning percentage over .600.
  • The Pick: Pacers +10.0 (-110)

I know what you’re thinking. Taking the 15-16 Pacers side of the spread against one of the NBA’s best teams is insanity. If you take a closer look, it’s really not crazy at all.

Yes, the Pacers’ record isn’t phenomenal by any stretch, but this is a scrappy team that has thrived against elite competition. When facing a team that has a home winning percentage above .600, the Pacers hold a 4-1 record ATS. Indiana is actually 5-2 ATS over its last seven games again teams that hold a winning percentage above .600. When facing some of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, Pacers have kept the game close more often than they haven’t. They’ve lost to the Cavaliers by six points, only lost to the Nets by more than 10 points in one of their four matchups and lost to the Knicks by three points.

It also doesn’t hurt that the Celtics have had their fair share of struggles lately, with losses in four of their past five games. Oh, and Boston owns a 0-4-1 record ATS over those last five games. With double-double machine Tyrese Haliburton continuing to light up the stat sheet for the Pacers, I like them to keep this one within the 10 points.


💰 More NBA picks

USATSI

Magic at Rockets, 8pm | TV: NBA.TV

Latest Odds:

About 223.5

The Pick: Over 223.5 (-110) — These are two of the worst teams that the NBA has to offer — but there are no standards when it comes to cashing winning tickets. When it comes to scoring offenses, these are two of the lowest ones across the league. The Rockets average 109.5 points per game (27th in the NBA) while the Magic rank 28th in the NBA with just 109.4 points per game.

However, I’m also not expecting much defense to be played in this contest. Both teams allow at least 113.3 points-per-game and rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of points allowed. In addition, the Rockets are one of the worst teams when it comes to defending the three, as opponents shoot 36.7 percent from long-range against them. I expect this to be a track meet of sorts with quite a few threes being made.

key trends: The over is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings between the Magic and Rockets

Hornets at Clippers, 9pm | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: LaMelo Ball Over 21.5 Points (-129)
— Since returning to the court earlier this month from injuries, LaMelo Ball has been on fire. In four games back from an ankle injury, Ball has scored at least 23 points in each contest. The former no. 3 pick is currently shooting 46.7 percent from beyond the arc this month, including connecting on at least five threes in three of those games. Ball has been extremely efficient as he’s shot around 50.0 percent from the field in each of those contests.

While the Clippers are one of the league’s better defensive teams, Ball is never afraid to hoist up a shot, so I think he’ll easily clear the 22-point plateau that we need in this spot.

key trends: Ball has scored at least 23 points in each of his four games since returning from injury

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