Greetings sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Wednesday.
It almost felt surreal watching LeBron James break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA all-time scoring record on Tuesday. We knew it was coming, but seeing it actually happen was unforgettable. I've considered it an honor to watch James take the court over the last 20 years, which has been over half my life. I can't imagine this sport without King James and I'm just going to appreciate his greatness while we still have it in front of us.
Now let's get to Wednesday's picks.
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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Timberwolves at Jazz, 9 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
- Key Trend: The Jazz are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight-up loss
- The Pick: Jazz -5.5 (-110)
The Timberwolves got throttled at the hands of the Nuggets on Tuesday to the tune of a 146-112 loss. With another elite offense on tap in the Jazz, I'm more than happy to fade the Timberwolves.
The Jazz may be slightly below .500 at 27-28, but Utah is averaging 117.5 points-per-game, which is good for fifth in the league. The Jazz also excel from three, as they're shooting 36.4 percent from long-range on the season. This is a team that has a strong stable of shooters, including Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton, who both shoot above 40.0 percent from deep.
It also doesn't hurt that the Timberwolves struggle to defend the three-point shot. Minnesota ranks 25th when it comes to defending the perimeter as opponents are shooting 36.8 percent from three. After two consecutive losses, I expect the Jazz to get back on track in what figures to be a good matchup.
💰 More NBA Picks
Hornets at Wizards, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
The Pick: Under 235.5 (-110) -- The Wizards are a slight favorite here at home, but I really can't bring myself to trust either side. Instead, I'm taking the under.
The Wizards rank 20th in scoring with 112.8 points-per-game while the Hornets come in at No. 25 with just 112.0 points per contest. Of note, Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is listed as questionable due to a foot injury. Meanwhile, forward Kyle Kuzma, who is averaging 21.3 points on the season, missed practice on Tuesday as a result of an ankle injury and is also being listed as questionable.
Even if both Beal and Kuzma end up playing, I just don't see the stars aligning for a ton of points to be scored in this one. The trends suggest that the under is the right side to be on: it is 4-0 in the Hornets' last four games. On the other hand, the under is 6-2 in the Wizards' last eight games when facing teams with a winning percentage below .400. In the last 10 meetings between the Hornets and Wizards, the under possesses a 8-2 record. Don't overthink this.
Key Trend: The under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings
Warriors at Trail Blazzers, 10 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
The Pick: Klay Thompson Over 25.5 Points (-111) -- The Warriors are without Stephen Curry for an extended period, and in his absence Golden State is going to have to depend on guys like Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole. That's why I'm riding Thompson's scoring prop tonight.
On Monday, the first game without Curry, Thompson took the scoring reins by the throat as he poured in 42 points against the Thunder. Thompson has scored at least 28 points in three of his past five games and four of those contests were with Curry in the lineup. Thompson obviously makes his living from beyond the arc and the Trail Blazers don't exactly excel in defending that area of the court. Portland is allowing their opponents to make 36.5 percent of their three-point shots, which is 21st in the NBA. Expect Thompson to score early and often.
Key Trend: Thompson has scored at least 28 points in three of his last five games