It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time another ESPN NBA doubleheader. This time, the Dallas Mavericks take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 4:30 p.m. (PST) before the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers clash at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Ahead of placing your bets on the winners, read on to find out who is playing, who is out, and who has the best chance to make you some money! We’ll start, as always, with the early game.
DAL Spread: -2.5 (-110) Moneyline: -140
NOP Spread: +2.5 (-110) Moneyline: +120
Things to consider…
1) According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (right hamstring) is “not close” to returning. Williamson has been sidelined for over two months and will not be available for tonight’s contest. It is unclear when he will be ready to take the court, but it appears that the setback he suffered in February was significant.
2) Outside of Williamson, the Pelicans are missing guard Jose Alvarado (right tibia), forward Larry Nance Jr. (right ankle), and forward E.J. Liddell (right ACL). The Mavericks, on the other hand, are mostly healthy with the exceptions of center JaVale McGee (right ankle) and forward Maxi Kleber (right hamstring). Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock (right quad) is doubtful to play.
3) While this is shaping up to be a potential runaway for the Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Mavericks, the Pelicans do have homecourt advantage. New Orleans is 20-11 at home this season. Dallas is 12-19 on the road.
Main takeaways: Look for the Mavericks to capitalize on the Pelicans’ misfortunes. New Orleans is slowly fading from the NBA Playoff picture in the Western Conference just as surely as Dallas is pushing to make a run. Expect this matchup to unfold accordingly, but weigh the value of homecourt on your own before putting money down.
And now, the late game.
TOR Spread: +2.5 (-110) Moneyline: +120
LAC Spread: -2.5 (-110) Moneyline: -140
1) Clippers forward Norman Powell (left shoulder) underwent treatment for shoulder subluxation last week and will not be available for tonight’s matchup. Neither will Raptors forward Otto Porter (left foot), who underwent season-ending surgery in January. No other players are listed on the injury report.
2) Both teams have been aggressively mediocre this season, so it’s almost a wonder that this game is being broadcast on ESPN. The Raptors, though, seem to be moving in the right direction, whereas the Clippers have floundered in recent weeks, losing seven of their last 10 games.
3) The Clippers may have homecourt advantage, but remember that they are only 16-15 at home. That’s the worst home record in the Western Conference outside of the lottery bound San Antonio Spurs (10-22) and Houston Rockets (9-23). So, even though the Raptors are a mere 12-21 on the road, this is a reasonable opportunity for them to improve.
Main takeaways: This one is anyone’s game, so bet with your gut. I tend to favor the Clippers, here, simply because Kawhi Leonard is healthy and playing. Some of Los Angeles’ woes this season can be attributed to his absences. The Clippers are 10-18 without Leonard, and 24-15 with him. That’s a winning pace we haven’t seen from the Raptors regardless of personnel or recent trends.