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ESPN Preview: Playoff Risers and Fallers Face-off

DraftKings odds for Wednesday night’s slate

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The NBA playoffs begin in just 2 weeks, yet there still isn’t a sense of where teams will fall in the standings. Particularly in the Western Conference where the difference between being safe from the play-in and missing it entirely is just two games. Teams are in an exciting race to make the playoffs, and ESPN has 4 of them featured on its Wednesday night slate.

The struggling Dallas Mavericks will take on an Eastern Conference juggernaut in the Philadelphia 76ers, as the Minnesota Timberwolves look to gain ground on the Phoenix Suns for home court advantage. Of course there are smaller storylines to watch for as well, like Joel Embiid chasing the MVP, and Kevin Durant returning from an ankle injury. There is plenty to watch for, and bet on! We have all of the info you need to inform your Wednesday night parlay from our friends over at DraftKings.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

1.) Kyrie Irving over 24.5 points (-105)

Since trading for Kyrie Irving, the Mavericks have experienced far more lows than they have highs. One such high however, came against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 2nd, when the Mavs beat them 133-126. In that game, Kyrie and Luka Doncic were unstoppable. They both eclipsed 40 points on their way to a victory in Dallas.

Since joining the Mavs, Irving has averaged 26 points a game, shooting 50% from the field and 39% from three. Scoring has not been the Mavericks problem, with more of their issues coming on the other end of the floor. The 76ers are a strong defensive team, ranking 7th in the NBA in defensive rating. But so far the Mavs have proven to have their number, which could mean a big night for their lead guard.

2.) Luka Doncic under 2.5 threes (+115)

The 76ers are particularly good at defending the three point line. They are holding their opponents to the 4th lowest percentage in the NBA, at just 34.6% per game. Opponents are only making 11.5 threes a game against Philly this season. They are dominant at defending that part of the floor.

Luka shoots a high volume from the three-point line, but his efficiency numbers are down this season. He’s hitting just 35% from range on 8 attempts per game... that means he’s only hitting about 2.5 threes a game. The Mavs are coming off of a stretch where they were beaten by an improving Charlotte defense twice. Will Luka be similarly locked up by some of the 76ers better perimeter defenders? The percentages indicated a low 3-point output from Doncic tonight.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns

1.) Rudy Gobert over 10.5 rebounds (-130)

The Phoenix Suns, despite their size, are not a great rebounding team. They are just 22nd in the league in total rebounding. Gobert has been a great rebounder this season, averaging 11.6 boards per game. Even with fellow star big man Karl Anthony-Towns returning from injury, Gobert has still rebounded the ball well, grabbing 18 boards against Golden State.

That game against the Warriors was a part of a 3-game stretch where he’s had more than 10 rebounds. These teams have played each other three times this season, Gobert has picked up more than 10 rebounds two out of the three games. With DeAndre Ayton and Durant both coming back from injury, it will be a battle on the glass, but I expect Gobert to prevail and hit the over.

2.) Chris Paul over 8.5 assists (-140)

The point-god has never had a supporting cast quite like this one. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are some of the best scorers in the NBA, and Paul gets to set both of them up. That’s not including Ayton, and some strong bench wings like Terrance Ross. Paul has averaged 9.1 assists per game this season.

The Timberwolves have been much better at the point of attack with newly acquired point guard Mike Conley. CP3 will have his hands full facing an improving Timberwolves defense that has elite weapons like Gobert and Jaden McDaniels on that end. The Wolves are a top 10 team in defensive rating, but they do give up 25 assists per game, the 13th most in the NBA. The Suns offense has looked unstoppable when Durant is in the lineup. Look for that to continue, and for Paul to dish the rock effectively for the Suns.

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