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NBA On ESPN Preview: Banged Up Contenders Try to Fend Off Playoff Hungry Teams

A DraftKings checklist for the first NBA Friday after the break

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s been a while since we’ve seen some competitive basketball on the weekend! With the All-Star Game behind them, the Bucks and Heat will battle for playoff position in a competitive Eastern Conference. The Suns and Thunder are fighting to avoid the play-in and climb the tight standings in the West. ESPN’s Friday night slate will feature competitive action with playoff implications.

For your betting needs, head to DraftKings for up-to-date odds.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks (6:30 PM CT)

1. Bam Adebayo over 10.5 rebounds (-110)

The Miami Heat are a small team, even with the new additions of Kevin Love and Cody Zeller. Their recipe for success relies on Bam securing boards on the defensive and offensive glass. Against the Bucks this season, Adebayo has averaged 12 rebounds. With Giannis Antetokounmpo out, dealing with a wrist injury, expect the Heat big man to dominate the glass.

2. Jrue Holliday over 33.5 points, rebounds, assists (-115)

Holliday is having one of his most impressive seasons in a Bucks uniform, coming off of an All-Star appearance. With no Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton, the veteran guard has stepped up as a lead option. Holliday has faced Miami twice without the Bucks’ other superstars. In those games he averaged 18 points, 10.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. Expect Jrue to have a big game against a Heat team trying to integrate Love on the defensive end.

3. Gabe Vincent over 2.5 threes (+120)

With Kyle Lowry out, Gabe Vincent has stepped into the starting lineup as Miami’s starting point guard. Although, he doesn’t really play like one, mostly leaving the facilitating duties to Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Adebayo, while he spots up off the ball for open looks from outside, filling a role similar to what Mario Chalmers played in the Big Three era. Vincent has had an up and down shooting season, but is shooting it much better as a starter (37% from 3) and has shot 44% from downtown against the Bucks this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns (9:00 PM CT)

1.) Devin Booker over 26.5 points (-110)

This may be one of the last times we see the Suns resemble the team they’ve been over the last few seasons, as the addition of Kevin Durant back from injury looms. Since coming back from injury, Devin Booker has scored over 26 just once, against the Kings on February 14th. However, he got the All-Star Break to rest, and is catching the Thunder on the tail end of a back to back. Look fort fresh legs to prevail, and D Book to have a big night.

2.) DeAndre Ayton over 11.5 rebounds (+100)

Once again, coming off of the back to back, this will be a tough game for the Thunder. Thursday night they gave up double digit rebounds to both Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz. Ayton has been a beast on the boards this season, grabbing 10 a game. OKC is inexperienced in the frontcourt, so expect Ayton to take advantage.

3.) DeAndre Ayton over 20.5 points (-110)

Similar points as above stand here. The Thunder are not great at defending the paint, and gave up 43 points to Markkanen in their previous outing. With Durant coming back from injury soon, there may not be many chances for Ayton to be a focal point of the offense again. It’s not hard to see him taking advantage of what opportunities he has left.

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