We had a rough one on Saturday after a hot start on Friday, and the Heat covering early yesterday. Plenty of opportunity to bounce back today! Some teams are still finding their way in the bubble, while a couple of bottom feeders look to be exactly who we thought they were. The early game is the best example of the latter. We should also see a couple of teams bounce back – DAL & BOS – including a player of note that simply can’t be as bad today as he was on Friday.
Under 236 @ -109
Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets
BET: Under 236 @ -109
Both of these teams lost pretty bad in their first time out, including that Suns cover vs. Washington. There is a general belief that scoring will continue to go up, and the bubble will be more conducive to games finishing in the 210-220s. Getting to 240 isn’t easy.
While both of these teams are lacking in personnel and defensively on the floor, getting to 240 will be extremely difficult. Not every shot will be wide open, and you simply don’t have a carrier on either side to explode for 35-40 points. Turnovers should be plenty today but expecting them to turn into points is a stretch for me. Take the under, hopefully you will get a better game than advertised.
Celtics -5 @ +105
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics
BET: Celtics -5 @ +105
Two big factors play into why I’ll take the extra point, at an even return, with this game today. The first is Jayson Tatum. It’s going to take an extra amount of effort from this kid to shoot as poorly as he did against Milwaukee. There won’t be enough defensive pressure on him as there was by the Bucks. If Tatum has anywhere near a decent game, expect this one to get out of hand early. Portland has the backcourt firepower to stay in games or at least make a run, CJ McCollum has been pretty sharp during a stretch of Portland being dogs.
Which brings us to my second factor, the minutes restriction for Kemba Walker, something that truly hurt Boston’s ability to exploit the PG position against Milwaukee. This is a tough matchup vs. Damian Lillard – restrictions or not – and it’s a great way for Brad Stevens to ramp up Walker’s workload. Based on Tatum bouncing back and Walker playing more, I like the C’s by at least 5.
BET: CJ McCollum Over 22.5 Points @ +110
CJ seems to thrive when Portland is a dog coming in, including lifting his Blazers over the Grizzlies with 33 on Friday. As stated above and by stats.oddschecker.com, we’ve seen McCollum go for at least 23 in 6 straight underdog appearances. Even the return of two big men hasn’t detracted the backcourt from its prime objective, scoring. The scenario of over plays out if either Walker plays a ton or if he’s still on a minutes restriction. Here’s why; the Celtics will have to adjust on defense making Lillard a prime target, but if Walker is out there a ton then expect Lillard to have a tougher two-way matchup, opening things up for McCollum.
There’s no way the Blazers are in this game if McCollum isn’t in the mid 20’s, taking the number at over 22.5 when he’s consistently scoring seems like a gift here. While the Celtics aren’t the strongest team up front, any foul trouble Portland’s bigs find themselves in will be picked up by CJ scoring. This isn’t a “sit back and watch Dame drop 50” game. They need both guys in the backcourt over 25 a piece to hang.
Mavericks -6 @ +100
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
BET: Mavericks -6 @ +100
Everyone loves this over because of the OT high scoring thriller between Dallas and Houston. Even the Suns scored and let up some in their defeat of the Wizards. The line is tighter than it should because both teams are believed to come in and do what they want on offense. Looking at HOW the Suns won, I’m not convinced it’s a two-way affair. Let’s get the real issue out, Dallas has one of the most prolific fast-paced offenses in the league, and if they can tighten up just a little on defense, this game is a blowout.
The Suns didn’t get much – if anything – outside of their top two players, and while Booker/Ayton are two you can count on, it’s not enough to keep up with the Mavs. This isn’t a typical game late in the regular season where a team might be gassed following an OT game like Dallas had, it’s the bubble restart. Legs are still fresh, and Dallas wants to push the ball. All we need is one bad quarter from either Booker or Ayton and that’s enough for Dallas to pull ahead. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a double-digit lead by the Mavs at the half. Cruise your way to a 6-point cover tonight!