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NBA on ESPN Preview: Stars Clash in Duels of the Bubble Teams

Your DraftKings odds guide for ESPN’s Wednesday night slate

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has prepared a slate of NBA hoops with some playoff implications heading into the middle of the week. The Mavericks, Pelicans, Raptors and Clippers are all hovering around .500, and are looking to either stay out of the play-in game, or get into the top-8. It should be a competitive night of hoops, with some players facing off against their old squads.

Here are some odds from our friends over at DraftKings.

Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans (6:30 p.m. CT)

1.) Brandon Ingram over 1.5 threes (+120)

Without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans rely on Ingram to be a lead scorer. This season, he’s averaged 23 points per game, and shot 39% from three point range. Since the All-Star break, he’s come down a bit, shooting 35% from range. However, the Mavericks have not shown the ability to stop opposing wings since trading for Kyrie Irving.

The Mavericks are in the bottom 10 in defensive rating, and allow opposing teams to shoot 35% from 3. They have given up big performances to Kevin Durant, Lauri Markkanen, Julius Randle and LeBron James in recent contests. Ingram isn’t quite an all-star level scorer on the scale of those players, but is enough of a threat to cash in from deep against a porous Mavs defense.

2.) Luka Doncic under 6.5 assists (+105)

The fit between Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic has not bee seamless. The Mavericks offense is scoring in bunches, but haven’t been dominating teams in the way you would expect with two superstars. One of the biggest issues has been ball movement amongst Irving and Doncic, who are still learning to play together.

In games where the two have played, Luka has only tallied over 6.5 assists twice. Despite the Pelicans being in the back half of the league in defensive rating, they have some competitive wing defenders in Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones. It’s hard to shut down Luka, but it doesn’t look like the two Dallas superstars are going to learn to play with each other overnight. Hit the under on assists for Doncic against New Orleans.

3.) Josh Green over 1.5 threes (+150)

One player who has benefitted from the Dallas and Brooklyn trade is Josh Green. He’s asserted himself as a starter on the team, and filled a much needed three and D role that Dorian Finney-Smith previously occupied. He’s succeeded in this role, boosting his scoring and 3-pt output.

Since the trade, Green is shooting 40% from three, and has boosted his attempts. The Pelicans are the best in the league at defending the 3-point line, but with so much attention given to Irving and Luka, Green will find himself in position to take a couple of open 3s, hitting the over on this line.

Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers (6:30 p.m. CT)

1.) Jakob Poeltl over 9.5 rebounds (-120)

Poeltl has been a major help the Raptors as they push for playoff position in the competitive Eastern Conference. He’s filled the teams need for a force in the paint. Since joining the team he’s averaged over 10 rebounds a game, with a couple of double-doubles to his name.

The Clippers give up the 14th most rebounds in the league to opposing players. It will be a battle between Ivica Zubac and Poeltl, but with his recent rebounding prowess, expect the former-Spur to secure double-digit boards.

2.) Kawhi Leonard over 2.5 threes (+105)

Leonard has been nothing short of a superstar in February and March. The former-Raptor and NBA Champion has averaged over 27 points in that time. He’s also hitting over 50% of his three point attempts, making around 3 a game.

The Raptors are one of the worst teams in the league defending the 3-point line, giving up 38% from three to opposing teams. Given the Raptors general defensive limitations (they are in the bottom half of the league in defensive rating) I expect Leonard to light up Toronto inside and out.

3.) Scottie Barnes over 4.5 assists (+135)

Barnes has suffered from a sophomore slump this season, but has improved some aspects of his game. Mainly, forward has looked more comfortable as a playmaker. This year he’s averaging roughly 5 assists per game. Oddly enough, against Western conference foe, he sees a spike in his assist numbers.

The Clippers are not a stout defensive team, despite having some good wing defenders on the roster. Barnes has the ability to dice up this defense for a handful of assists, keeping up his improved playmaking this year.

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