The Wednesday ESPN NBA doubleheader is upon us, and it’s a big one. The Philadelphia 76ers clash with the Boston Celtics at 4:30 p.m. (PST) followed by the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Who has the best chances to emerge victorious? We’ll have a look at the most important factors affecting each matchup, starting, as always, with the early game.
PHI Spread: +4.5 (-110) Moneyline: +160
BOS Spread: -4.5 (-110) Moneyline: -190
Things to consider…
1) Sixers center Joel Embiid (left foot soreness) has carried a “questionable” designation for several games now, competing in all of them regardless. He is listed as questionable again tonight, though it is fair to expect that he will still compete given his recent track record. If he is unable to go, Montrezl Harrell will see a larger role.
2) On the Celtics’ side, centers Al Horford (right knee swelling) and Robert Williams (left ankle sprain) have cropped up on the injury report. If either is unavailable for tonight’s contest, Embiid could have an easier time scoring the ball inside.
3) The Celtics, currently playing with the best record in the league, will be hosting this game. They boast an impressive home record of 20-7, whereas the Sixers are just 14-10 on the road. Boston will look to extend its lead over the pack with a win in the Garden tonight.
Main takeaways: This one is really anyone’s game, but I would grant a slight edge to the Celtics for homecourt advantage. That said, you’ll make more money betting the underdog if you think the Sixers can capitalize on this opportunity.
And now, the late game.
DAL Spread: +8.5 (-115) Moneyline: +270
LAC Spread: -8.5 (-105) Moneyline: -325
Things to consider…
1) Point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to make his Mavericks debut tonight against the Clippers. This is mixed news because he is an All-Star talent but also largely unfamiliar with Dallas head coach Jason Kidd’s playbook. There could be some growing pains and miscommunications as Irving adjusts to his new team.
2) More importantly, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (right heel contusion) is unavailable for the contest. This puts more pressure on Irving to produce, and means a larger role for Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, and Josh Green.
3) The Clippers are playing at home tonight and, sans reserve guard John Wall (abdominal strain), have a completely healthy roster. Between their good fortune and the Mavericks’ injury woes, there is a strong possibility that the Clippers will take this one.
Main takeaways: Never underestimate a wildcard. The Mavericks are entering this matchup as an unknown to the fans but also to themselves and the Clippers too. Hard to predict means hard to plan for. Of course, the smart money remains with LAC this time, for obvious reasons.
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