Scoring Champ – Cleveland Cavaliers/Houston Rockets
Surprisingly, I’m a bit worried about this play. James Harden is the obvious focal point of this play, as his usage rating is sitting around 40% at the moment. He’s also averaging 40.3 points per game over his last 14 games. Furthermore, Harden has scored 40+ points in six of his last eight games. He scored 40 points in his first matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and he has been a significantly better scorer at home, where the game will be played tonight. It’s likely that Harden scores 40+ points in this game, leaving Clint Capela and Jordan Clarkson to have to combine for only 46.7% of the points needed to hit this play. Capela certainly comes with a bit of risk, but he’s averaging 19.7 points per game over his last nine games. He also owns four games with 20+ points over that span, including games with 29 and 31 points. Capela struggled in his only matchup against Cleveland this season, but he was a passive player, and shot 4-4 from the field and 4-4 from the line for 12 points. He’s averaging 12.9 shot attempts and 5.9 free throw attempts over his last nine games, and a more aggressive Capela has a chance for 20+ points once again tonight. Jordan Clarkson is another risky option, but he’s the best scorer for Cleveland, and he leads the team in usage. While he has featured quite a few ups and downs this season, he’s averaging 19.7 points per game over his last 14 games. He has also scored 20+ points in eight of those games, including each of his last three games. Clarkson will likely play around 30 minutes if this game stays relatively close, and he’s another player that has the potential for 20+ points tonight. With Harden playing at such a high level, Clarkson and Capela will likely need to combine for less than 50% of the points needed for this play, and they both come with more than enough upside for that to be a very viable option.
Play $50 on James Harden, Clint Capela, and Jordan Clarkson OVER 74.5 points to win $100 (2x)
Over Under 2/2 – Milwaukee Bucks/Washington Wizards
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the primary scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks, and he features a usage rating north of 30% this season. He has been playing at a high level recently, averaging 27.9 points per game over his last 13 games. Those numbers feature three performances with nine, 15, and 16 points, though. The latter two totals were scored in only 26 and 19 minutes because of blowout wins, though. The third was truly his only bad game recently. This game projects to stay relatively close, meaning Antetokounmpo should have a full game worth of minutes to contribute. His point total has been too low for his recent production, and he’ll also see an added boost from the pace of this game. Bradley Beal has taken on a new role for the Washington Wizards with John Wall injured. His usage rating has shot up to around 32%, while he’s locked into big minutes on a nightly basis. Since the injury to Wall, Beal is averaging 28.1 points in 36.8 minutes per game. He has scored under 24 points once in those seven games, while scoring north of 30 points three times. I expect Beal and Antetokounmpo to get into a bit of a shootout as two of the league’s premier scorers, and they will both benefit from extra opportunities because of the pace of this game. These totals are simply a bit too low, specifically for the 2.43x aspect to this play.
Play $50 on Giannis Antetokounmpo OVER 25.5 points and Bradley Beal OVER 23.5 points to win $121.50 (2.43x)
Over/Under – Brooklyn Nets/Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard has been the clear-cut focal point of the Toronto Raptors scoring offense in 2018. He struggled a bit to start the season, but he has been playing at an extremely high rate over his last 19 games. Over that span, he’s averaging 29.4 points per game, and he has scored 27+ points in 15 of those 19 games (79%). Leonard has also been better in Toronto this season, where he’s averaging 28.3 points per game, as opposed to 25.8 points per game on road. His opponents, the Brooklyn Nets, have found some success slowing down small forwards this season, but Leonard simply isn’t an average small forward. In his only matchup against Brooklyn, Leonard scored 32 points in 37.4 minutes, and we could see similar results tonight. D’Angelo Russell has featured plenty of ups and downs throughout the season, but he has been playing at a higher level with Brooklyn dealing with multiple injuries. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 22.3 points in 31.0 minutes per game. He has also scored 22+ points in five of those games, while a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics allowed him to play only 23 minutes, scoring only five points. He’s expected to resume to 30+ minutes once again tonight, and Toronto has struggled at times against guards this season. I’m a bit worried about the potential matchup against Kyle Lowry, but Russell’s total should have been set in the 20s, and we have a few points advantage on him tonight.
Play $50 on Kawhi Leonard OVER 26.5 points and D’Angelo Russell OVER 18.5 points to win $107 (2.14x)
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