Well, that didn’t go as expected. After a pretty chalky day on Monday, Tuesday was loaded with upsets. The No. 1 seed in both conferences went down, and the Thunder also lost as a small favorite.
We’ve got another four games to choose from on Wednesday, and we’ll see if it’s another crazy day in the bubble or if things return to normal.
Here are five of my favorite bets to target on Wednesday’s slate.
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Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz: Nuggets -5 (-112)
I’m still trying to figure out how the Jazz lost Game 1 of this series. They were winning by four and had possession with 1:46 left, but Donovan Mitchell was called for an eight-second violation. Jamal Murray caught fire after that turnover and ultimately led the team to victory.
More concerning though is the fact that they lost despite getting a monster performance from Donovan Mitchell. He tallied 57 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, and he also shot 57.6% from the field and 100% from the free throw line. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that might be the best game he will ever play.
If they need that kind of performance from Mitchell just to lose a competitive game, I’m not sure what it will take to get them to win. I have no problem backing the Nuggets as small favorites.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers +5 (-113)
The 76ers were in their last contest – they were winning by four heading into the fourth quarter – but they ultimately ended up losing by eight. That said, even though they lost that battle, they may have taken a step towards winning the war.
For starters, Gordon Hayward went down with a severe ankle injury, and he’s expected to miss the next four weeks. He’s been the Celtics’ second-most important player this season in terms of Net Rating, so that’s a big blow.
The 76ers also discovered a potential secret weapon in Matisse Thybulle. He did a great job when matched up vs. Jayson Tatum, limiting him to just 2-9 shooting when operating as his primary defender. If Thybulle can limit Tatum a bit more in this contest – he finished with 32 points – that will go a long way towards shutting down the Celtics’ offense.
I’m also expecting a much better performance from Joel Embiid today. He started Game 1 with 11 points on 5-5 shooting in the first quarter but ultimately grew less aggressive as the game went on.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Under 214.5 points (-109)
I definitely like the 76ers, but my favorite bet in this contest might be the under. These two teams have met five previous times this season, and they’ve combined for 210 points or less in three of them. That includes Game 1 of this series, which was played at an absolute snail’s pace. The pace in that game was just 90.4, which is insanely low.
The only reason the last game even approached the total was because both teams were excellent offensively. The 76ers posted an offensive efficiency of 111.8, and the Celtics posted a mark of 120.6. If the Celtics come back to reality in this contest, the scoring could be really low.
Additionally, replacing Hayward with Marcus Smart in the starting lineup should result in a slightly more defensive battle. Smart is a pest on the defensive end, and he’s not nearly the same player as Hayward on offense.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks: Clippers -6.5 (-110)
The Mavericks almost managed to win the first game of this series despite losing Kristaps Porzingis to two technical fouls. With that in mind, they should be able to cover the spread in Game 2 with Porzingis back right?
I’m not so sure.
The Clippers’ starting lineup was absolutely dominant in Game 1, with all five posting a mark of at least +13 when on the court. The trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Marcus Morris in particularly has been outstanding this season, outscoring opponents by +21.3 points per 100 possessions over 341 minutes.
The only reason Game 1 was close was because the Clippers’ bench unit got absolutely roasted. That said, Patrick Beverley was limited to just 20.4 minutes and Montrezl Harrell played less than 15 minutes in his first game in Orlando. Both guys should see a bump in playing time moving forward, which should narrow the gap between the benches for both squads.
As long as the Clippers’ bench units can keep things competitive, their starting unit is going to absolutely blow teams out of the water.
Los Angeles Clippers Team Future: Clippers to win NBA Title (+260)
I think this is probably your last opportunity to buy the Clippers to win the title at a fair price. They are currently tied with the Bucks as the co-favorites at +260, while the Lakers have dropped all the way to +400.
If the Clippers take care of business today vs. the Mavericks, it would not surprise me if they checked in as the outright favorites. They have the highest ceiling in basketball, and they are just getting back to full strength. Once they put everything together, it’s going to become clear that they are the best team in the league.
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