The NBA playoffs are just a week away, which means that teams vying for better position in the postseason need to make their moves now. The Western Conference payoff picture remains a mess, with seven teams fighting to either get into the play-in, or into the top six seeds. Most matchups are set in stone out East, but there is still room to avoid the 9-10 matchup in the play-in tournament.
ESPN’s Wednesday night slate has two games featuring three teams fighting for position. The Bulls will take on the Bucks as they attempt to get home court in the play-in tournament. The late game features the Lakers and the Clippers in a star-studded contest, as the Lakers try to pull themselves out of the play-in.
There will be plenty of interesting storylines to follow and bet on with the slate. We have all of the info you need to inform your Wednesday night parlay from our friends over at DraftKings.
Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
1.) Giannis Antetokounmpo over 48.5 points + rebounds + assists (-110)
Joel Embiid may have taken the lead for MVP with his 52-point performance against the Celtics last night, but Antetokounmpo still has a chance to make a push for voters with a few games left. There would be no better team to do it against, as he has dominated this matchup all season.
In his two full games against Chicago this year, he put up 45 points, 22 rebounds and 7 assists, and then 36 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. He’s been a monster all season long, averaging 31 pts, 12 reb and 6 ast. Not many teams have an answer for Giannis, and the Bulls certainly do not. One cause for hesitancy may be that the Bucks have almost completely locked up the #1 seed, and may choose to restrict their star player’s minutes. But with Chicago fighting for their playoff lives, and Giannis looking for another MVP trophy, the game may be close enough to warrant him playing more than 30 minutes. If that’s the case, smash this over.
2.) DeMar DeRozan over 23.5 points (-115)
As much as Giannis has dominated the Bulls, DeRozan has been just as good in the matchups with Milwaukee. In his two matchups against the Bucks, DeRozan has put up 36 and 42 point performances. Chicago relies on his shot making ability to make this offense productive, and it’s been clicking recently, as they have won 6 of their last 10 games.
The Bulls star has been playing great in the late stretch of the season as the team fights for better playoff position. In March he averaged 24 points a game on 51/41/82 shooting splits.
Despite the Bucks having a top-10 defense in the NBA, they have not yet figured out DeRozan. This game means a lot more to the Bulls than it does Milwaukee, so ride DeRozan to the over on his point total.
3.) Nikola Vucevic over 10.5 rebounds (+105)
Yet again we have a player who has put up huge numbers in this matchup. The Bulls center is averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds against Milwaukee this season, and had 16 boards in their most recent matchup on February 16th. He’s averaging 11 total on the season.
The Bucks are the best in the league at securing rebounds, averaging 49 a game. However, they are in the bottom-10 in the NBA in rebounds allowed. They give up 44 boards a night and can be punished on the offensive glass, giving up 11 offensive rebounds per game. Vucecic is a strong offensive rebounder, pulling in 2 a game, good enough for top 50 in the NBA.
With his proven success against the Bucks, and a strong rebounding season thus far, this game proves yet another opportunity for the big man to clean the glass and hit the over.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
1. ) LeBron James over 39.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-120)
The King is back, and that’s bad news for the Western Conference. In the Lakers overtime win against the Jazz, James had 38 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. He was dominant in an important game that clinched the Lakers a spot in at least the play-in tournament. Now they have a chance to get out with a win over the Clippers. No matter what age he is, this seems like the type of matchup he would dominate.
And he has done that so far this year. Despite going 0-3 against the Clippers, James has averaged 32 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in their matchups. In his most recent matchup with the Clippers, he put up 46 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. The Lakers are catching fire at the right time, and James is a big part of that. He will be on the tail-end of a back-to-back, but if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s this: never doubt the King.
2. Anthony Davis under 12.5 rebounds (-115)
Davis is having an under-the-radar season. He’s appeared in his second most games as a Laker, and is averaging 26.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He’s been so important to the Lakers newfound success down the stretch.
However, he has not been incredibly impactful against the Clippers, especially on the glass. LAC is not a particularly strong rebounding team, as they are right in the middle of the league in terms of rebounding and opponent rebounding. But they have been able to keep AD off of the glass in their previous outings this year. He’s had 9 and 8 rebounds in his two games against the Clips, and in those games, the opposing big, Ivica Zubac has thrived on the glass. They have enough big bodies to keep him from dominating that area of the game, and with both teams really needing a win in this game, I’d stick with the bigger bodies and precedented success. Go under on Davis’s rebounding total.
3.) Russell Westbook over 16.5 points (-125)
Russell Westbrook revenge game? Facing off against his former team, in the Crypto.com Arena... there is no better storyline than Russ having a huge game. Since joining the Clippers, Wesbrook has averaged 15 points and 8 assists, playing a bigger role. His shooting percentages have gone up as well. He’s shooting 48% from the field and 32% from 3. Still not incredible numbers, but he’s playing better for the Clippers.
Just intangibly, Russ is the type of guy who circles these games on the calendar. Much like Patrick Beverly (oddly enough,) he’s a fierce competitor and wants nothing more than to send the Lakers to the play-in game. I expect him to have a big night as he attempts to do so.
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