NBA – Wizards/76ers First Half over 117 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on NBATV
On Saturday I talked about how these teams love to score in the first half against each other and they proceeded to combine for 130 points. It was more of the same on Monday as that first half saw 121 points, making it a 4-0 play in the series and worth another shot tonight.
What’s notable about Monday’s game is Joel Embiid left the game late in the first quarter, yet the scoring pace never let up. His absence is a concern, but he’s such a force on both ends of the floor that I see it as essentially a wash in terms of the total. I also think the Washington Wizards take their fast-paced style to the max in this game since they have their backs against the wall in the series, and the door is slightly open with Embiid out.
That also means the Wizards could be employing their hack-a-Ben strategy against Ben Simmons early and often, leading to more Washington possessions and driving scoring up. The way these teams play first halves can’t be ignored and this number hasn’t adjusted enough to the trend, so look for another early over tonight.
Bonus Lock: Embiid’s absence matters for Philadelphia in a more general sense when it comes to the point spread. Embiid has missed 15 games since the All-Star Break, with the Sixers going 9-6 straight up and 8-7 ATS in those games. That’s not a particularly stellar record, and in a playoff elimination situation, I like Washington to stay within the number tonight, so I’ll take the 6.5 points with the Wizards. I’m also going to make a play on the Wizards +220 moneyline as I truly believe Embiid’s absence makes that big of a difference.
NBA – Grizzlies/Jazz over 226 (-110): 8:30 PM CT on NBATV
Speaking of 4-0 over trends, this series between the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies has hit the over in every game so far. Let’s also take the matchup of these teams a step further and talk about a 5-0 trend. That would be the record of these teams going over this particular total and clearing the 130-point threshold when Donovan Mitchell plays this season, with a lofty average of 240.4 points in those five games.
This being a close-out situation where the Grizzlies likely reach the end of their season, I see them throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at the Jazz tonight. That means a young team like Memphis will keep starters in the game as long as possible, even if the result seems inevitable.
Ja Morant doesn’t seem likely to go out quietly either, especially with revenge against the Utah crowd on his mind, so a big night from him is likely in store that will buoy scoring. Odds-makers have been playing catch-up with the totals this entire series, and I still don’t think they’re where they need to be, so look for another over as Utah puts the finishing touches on the first round.
Bonus Bet: Donovan Mitchell has steadily been getting into the playoff form we remember from the bubble last summer. His minutes have slowly increased in the three games he’s played and his scoring has risen as well, going from 25 to 29 to 30 points. With his points prop tonight sitting at 27.5 I’m looking for Spider to clear that number as he makes a statement in closing out Memphis.
NBA – Hawks @ Knicks -1.5 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on TNT
Fool me once shame — on you; fool me twice shame on — well, you can’t get fooled again.
I stubbornly refuse to get fooled again by this Atlanta Hawks team that has admittedly played superior basketball in building a 3-1 series lead. As long as Julius Randle keeps forgetting what sport he plays, the Hawks will enjoy a significant advantage on offense, and that’s been the theme as the New York Knicks have averaged only 99 PPG in this series after scoring 119.3 against Atlanta in the regular season.
But the last time we saw the Knicks play well was in Game 2 at home in MSG where they return tonight with their season on the line. Let’s not forget that the Knicks were the best home favorite team in the NBA this year at 14-5 ATS, so they know how to take care of business in The Garden.
Randle actually showed signs of a pulse in Game 4, so with a raucous home crowd behind them and their backs against the wall, I think the Knicks rally to extend this series at least one more game.
Tiny Nick is 272-179 ATS (+81.5 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.