As the esteemed SpongeBob SquarePants once said, “It’s the best day everrrr!”
That’s because the NBA Play-In Tournament starts today. #PlayoffSZN means plenty of postseason bets, so I’ve got some plays for tonight and Wednesday’s games, plus some series predictions and a bold series bet.
The weather is warmer, and we don’t have to talk about the Lakers anymore. What a time to be alive!
Layups: 2-Unit Plays
Two-Pointers: 1-Unit Plays
Three-Pointers: 0.75-Unit Plays
Half-Court Shot: 0.5-Unit Plays
Record: 68-55-3 (+9.66 units)
Clippers +1.5 1H (-110) @ Timberwolves: The Clippers in the first half are like Will Ferrell in the 2000s — just absolutely dominant. They average an astounding +19 scoring margin in the first half of their last three games, and since Paul George came back seven games ago, the Clips have THE best first-half net rating in the league at 25.8. As an underdog, let’s take the points, and if you’re bold, sprinkle a little bit on the ML.
Patrick Beverley Under 10.5 points (-130): Everyone has a job to do, and Pat Bev’s job for this game will be to lock down Paul George and annoy the hell out of his former team. Beverley, who hasn’t scored over 10 points in almost a month, will be needed on the defensive end. The postseason is where the stars of the team take over, and offensively, Pat Bev won’t be relied on, so let’s fade him.
Hawks-Hornets Under 236.5 (-110): This just seems too high for a do-or-die game. These teams have in fact slowed their pace of play since the All-Star break with the Hornets having the third-fewest possessions in the league since the end of February. Plus, in the two games these teams have played against each other this year, they both went under. They know each other well, the defensive intensity will be turned up, and the pace is likely to slow a bit. Let’s ride the under.
Cavs +3 1Q (-110) @ Nets: This is a smaller play from me because of Jarrett Allen’s absence, but the Cavs have been a really solid first-quarter team this season. They have a top-10 first-quarter scoring margin and are fourth in the league in first-quarter scoring defense. Plus, I expect them to put up a fight for at least the first 12 minutes of this game. They’re a talented team that can take a sometimes apathetic Nets team by surprise.
Nuggets 1H +2.5 (-110): The Nuggets are one of the best first-half road teams in the Association, covering the spread with a 25-14-1 record and holding the fifth-best first-half scoring margin. The Warriors in the first half? Meh. They actually hold the fifth-worst ATS record in the first half this season. The Nuggets are simply a hard-playing team and often overwhelm opponents early on, so I’ll ride with Denver.
Nuggets Series Winner vs. Warriors (+195): I sorta said the Nuggets would win this series on the Points in the Paint Podcast, so I might as well ride that wave here. Look, we just don’t know how healthy Steph Curry is going to be after his foot injury. You know Steve Kerr is going to throw double and triple teams all night at Jokic, so this might come down to if Aaron Gordon and Co. can hit their outside shots. The Nuggets have a 2-1 record against the Warriors this year, so they’ve shown they can run with their speed. It’s certainly a long shot, but if there’s any big upset that’s going to happen, I think it’s the Nuggets that can pull it off.
Utah vs. Dallas: Jazz 4-2
Toronto vs. Philadelphia: Raptors 4-3
Denver vs. Golden State: Nuggets 4-3
Chicago vs. Milwaukee: Bucks 4-1
East Champion: Bucks
West Champion: Suns
NBA Finals Champion: Suns