Good afternoon sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Wednesday.
We were treated to some tremendous theater in Tuesday's final of the World Baseball Classic: Mike Trout vs. Shohei Ohtani with the game on the line. It was a tremendous moment to see two of the game's biggest stars go head-to-head, since we don't normally see them face off. It also just puts into perspective how electric of a player Ohtani is and what he means to the game.
Now we're officially in baseball mode as the MLB season begins next week. But before we focus on the diamond, let's get to Wednesday's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Warriors at Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- The Pick: Mavericks Pick (-110)
- Key Trend: The Mavericks are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games
The Warriors are on the road so, this is a very simple decision. You fade them. Why? Well, the Warriors possess a 1-8-1 record ATS when playing on the road over their last 10 games. For an even larger sample size, Golden State has a 9-26-1 ATS mark during the 2022-23 season and a 16-36-1 record across its last 53 road games.
It's a phenomenon that really can't be explained. The Warriors just play much better at home, as they have gone 24-11-1 ATS at the Chase Center this season. Yes, Stephen Curry has missed stretches of time, but this is still a team that has a roster comprised of Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and Draymond Green.
The Mavericks have covered the spread in both meetings with the Warriors this season. On Nov. 29, Dallas won 116-113 at home and when the two teams faced off again on Feb. 4 in San Francisco, the Warriors came away with a 119-113 victory, but failed to cover the 10.5-point spread as favorites. In that contest, the Mavericks were without both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but still managed to cover.
I's worth noting that Doncic and Irving are both listed as questionable for Wednesday's game. However, even if both don't play, I'm still backing the Mavericks due to the Warriors' road woes.
💰 More NBA Picks
Nuggets at Wizards, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Over 228 (-110) -- Ordinarily, one team on the second night of a back-to-back is a spot where I'm all over the under. But I'm all about the over in this spot.
The Nuggets are one of the more dangerous scoring teams, as they average 116.6 points-per-game (seventh in the league). Denver also shoots the ball exceptionally well from long-range, with a 38.8 percent clip (tied for first in the league with the Sixers). The Nuggets have a 5-2 mark when it comes to the over in their last seven games. When the two teams met back on Dec. 14, the Nuggets defeated the Wizards 141-128 and easily covered the over/under of 224.5.
Now, the Wizards did play on Tuesday, but that still doesn't really worry me here. Washington has a 6-5 record when it comes to the over on the second night of a back-to-back this season, including covering in three of its last four games. It also doesn't hurt that the Wizards shoot the ball pretty well from beyond the arc (35.7 percent) and connected on 19 of their 39 attempts in the first meeting.
Key Trend: The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the Nuggets and Wizards
76ers at Bulls, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
The Pick: Joel Embiid Over 33.5 Points (-137) -- Is there anyone filling up the stat sheet quite like Joel Embiid is this season? Embiid has poured in at least 34 points in six of his last seven contests. In fact, he's surpassed this number 27 times throughout the 2022-23 season.
Embiid has reached the 34-point mark in eight of his 10 games this month, so it's really been a formality on most nights. The Sixers star dominated the Bulls on Monday to the tune of 37 points on 11-of-22 shooting and secured 16 rebounds. A similar performance tonight isn't going to surprise anyone, including myself.
Key Trend: Embiid has scored at least 34 points in six of his last seven games.