Fans will have just a few hours to recover from the excitement of USA vs. Iran at the World Cup. Time to sober up (or drink more), wash the red, white, and blue dye out of your hair, and if you’re Christian Pulisic, ice your groin.
The first game is a rematch of the Western Conference Finals, featuring the Golden State Warriors visiting the Dallas Mavericks. The Warriors took that series in five games, and Andrew Wiggins took Luka Doncic’s soul by dunking over him.
Greatest replay challenge of Steve Kerr’s career right there.
In the late game, it’s a matchup between two injury-riddled Western Conference contenders when the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clips won’t have Paul George, John Wall, Luke Kennard, or Kawhi Leonard, which is weird because that guy is an iron man. The Blazers are missing Damian Lillard, Keon Johnson, and reigning Bob Lanier Community Assist Award recipient Gary Payton II. It’s a homecoming game for former Blazers Robert Covington and Norm Powell, who we’re pretty sure owns a popular bookstore in Portland’s Pearl District. It’s also a battle between two franchises who have fired Mike Dunleavy Sr.
But the real battle comes in the world of same-game parlays.
Golden State is a slight, 1.5 point favorite on the road. The over/under is 228, meaning the sports books believe in the Warriors’ defensive improvement, Hey, they’re only giving up the 4th-most points in the league now!
When choosing your bets for this matchup, it really comes down to which team can impose their preferred pace on the game. The Mavericks play at the slowest pace in the NBA, preferring to walk the ball up and let Luka Doncic slowly dissect the defense. Dallas has the fewest fast break points in the league. Meanwhile the Warriors are second in pace factor, and they’re trying to play even faster, leading the league in fast break points since November 7.
In this house - and against the house - we believe in Steph Curry. Parlaying the Warriors at -1.5 with Curry beating 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists (all below his season average) nets a tidy +450 return. We also believe in the new, strong-legged Klay Thompson, who has hit 19 three-pointers in his last three games, especially since Charles “He’s Slipping” Barkley will have to eat crow during and after the game if Klay goes off. So when you can get +700 for betting Steph goes over 30 points and Klay goes over 20, we like that.
If you like the Mavericks to win this game, you might as well parlay the Mavs moneyline with a Doncic triple-double for +475, since they’re going to need a big effort from him, and he has three career triple-doubles against the Dubs already.
We also like something I’ll call the “Klay Plus Guys Who Kill The Warriors” parlay, betting Klay at over 19.5 points, Dorian Finney Smith over 13 points, and Maxi Kleber over 8 points, which pays out at +1500. And for a Warriors inside-outside special, we suggest parlaying a Kevon Looney double-double with Jordan Poole making more than three three-pointers - also +1500. If you believe more in the starting backcourt, you can keep the Looney double-double and parlay it with Curry over four triples and Klay over three. That’s +1900.
The stars may be gone but the parlays are still there in the late game, where Portland is 3.5-point favorite. The over/under is 211.5, and you get a little juice from taking the over (+100 instead of -120).
We like the Blazers’ other scorers to step up in the absence of Dame Time. Give us a Sime Time parlay; that is, Blazers moneyline, Anfernee Simons over 30 points, and Jerami Grant over 20 points, for +850. But we also like betting on a fast game with a lot of rebounds, which is why we like the “Balkan Boards Special” - Bosnian Jusuf Nurkic and Croatian Ivica Zubac both getting 12+ rebounds, for +700.
There’s also the “Someone’s Gotta Score” parlay, with Reggie Jackson +16.5, Marcus Morris +15.5, and Terence Mann going +13.5. That’s +850. Finally we like a parlay that bets against the Clippers’ ability to protect the ball without three of their best ball handlers. Blazers -3.5 points, and then Simons and Josh Hart both getting 2+ steals, for +1300.
Archrivals Dame Lillard and Paul “That’s A Bad Shot” George won’t be playing, but both games tonight are still a rivalry. After all, Mark Cuban kicked some air freshener guys off Shark Tank for using a Warriors logo. His attitude stinks!