Tonight we are going to see NBA’s play-in series format for our own eyes. The Brooklyn Nets will play the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 7th and 8th seeds, respectively. The Nets are scratching their heads on how they found themselves in this play-in position. However, they played through multiple injuries to their star players. Nets dealt with strict Covid rules that had Kyrie Irving only playing road games. Brooklyn dealt James Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers and in return got Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond. Although Ben Simmons is a big name pick up he was not ready to play NBA level basketball due to injuries. For the Cavaliers injuries have also been a problem as Jarret Allen broke his finger after the all Star break and is not expected to play.
Injuries for both these teams wont hold back their effort levels though. The loser of this game will have to play the winner of the Atlanta Hawks vs. Charlotte Hornets. However, the winner of this game tonight will go on to take the number 2 seed in the Boston Celtics. All the quotes coming out of the Nets camp show no pressure on the big stars. Kyrie and Durant have both played in the Olympics and had their fair share of deep playoff runs. The Cavaliers are much less experienced in Playoff basketball but wont be out of place. Look for Cleveland scrappiness on defense to give the Nets trouble.
As I write this article the spread is -9.5 for the Nets and the over/under 226.5. Both those numbers scare me as I would likely take the Cavaliers to cover the spread and the Under to hit. Playoff basketball is different than the regular season. Coaches will have their best defenses and offenses setups on full display. There was time to prepare this matchup as well. Thats why the under is a sure thing in my eyes with the Nets to win. However, if Kyrie and Durant go off tonight that line at -9.5 isn’t high enough. In the Prop market look for Seth Curry’s made three pointers and Durant’s total in points. Both of those should hit.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves
The Los Angles Clippers vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves should be a better game than the previous matchup. Both teams have played beyond pre-season expectations. Karl-Anthony Towns had a career year for the Timberwolves and the teams fighting spirit has been evident. As I am checking the starting lineups for both teams their are some question marks for the Clippers. Luke Kennard looks to be out 100% but I am also seeing reports about Paul George, Reggie Jackson, Norman Powell, and Marcus Morris Sr. are all out. All of them are listed out for the reason of “Rest”. I find that hard to believe as this is a play-in game but keep a look out for the starting lineups when they are made official.
Timberwolves injury report has Karl-Anthony Towns out for rest. D’Angelo Russel is listed as out with an illness. So as of right now, there is some shady reports about who is playing in this game tonight. No matter the case, I would expect both teams to be at full strength Besides Luke Kennard for the Clippers. I would be willing to bet that the Timberwolves will be at full strength and the Clippers to be missing only Luke Kennard and Kawhi Leonard.
The line is in favor of the Timberwolves at -3, although it did move up from a -2.5. The over/under is set at 230 which I feel is way to high. Playoff basketball is just different and both Head coaches will have their teams fired up to play some good defense. I would take the under as a base for the parlays. As for the spread its small enough you could just look for the money line for the Clippers to get some value. I see it at +136 so thats actually some nice value for the underdog in this game. However, I don’t see the Clippers as the under dog. I would Take the under with Clippers money line in a little two-leg parlay. The Prop market will be most likely be set kind of high for tonights game but if you see something you like take it because lines are going to moving all day.
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