There’s a new class of young superstars emerging in the NBA, but the older generation isn’t going away. Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and the self-proclaimed Memphis Grizzlies dynasty head to Southern California to face the ageless (well, 38-year-old) LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, featuring a bunch of other players born in the 1980’s. And 33-year-old Jimmy Butler takes his talents, his Miami Heat, and the oldest player in the league (Udonis Haslem) to Big D, to face 23-year-old baby faced Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s a classic battle of millenials versus Gen Z! LeBron and Jimmy Buckets still remember things like the NBA dress code, mix tapes that were actually tapes, hand-checking defense, 9/11, and back-to-the-basket centers. While Luka and Ja don’t believe in antiquated ideas like taking a quick two down four points, two steps being a travel, the gender binary, or home ownership being an attainable dream for most young people. Tonight, it’s two big basketball games that will help settle the field of contenders ahead of the trade deadline, and which is the worst generation. (It’s Baby Boomers.)
But it’s also a great chance for single-game parlays on Draft Kings!
Miami Heat (25-21) at Dallas Mavericks (24-22)
Though their records are almost identical and Dallas is at home, Miami is a 1.5-point favorite in tonight’s matchup. It’s got the lowest over-under of the night at 218 points, because both these teams like to take their time. Dallas slows it down because they run their whole offense through Luka, and he likes to survey the scene before dissecting a defense. Miami plays slow because otherwise Kyle Lowry’s lumbago starts acting up.
This is a rematch of the 2006 Finals won by the Heat and Dwyane Wade’s foul-drawing, and the 2011 Finals won by the Mavericks and J.J. Barea’s lockdown defense on LeBron James. The only player who remains is the eternal Haslem, who does not have any player props listed for this game, probably because he’s only played 36 minutes all season.
One key gambling factor is that while Miami has an elite defense, they play a great deal of zone, and give up a lot of three-pointers. They’re very good at defending twos, and they’re good at defending without fouling. Meanwhile, Dallas takes the third-most threes in the league.
To us, that says bang the overs on threes. We like a simple parlay of Luka Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Dorian Finney-Smith all hitting at least three triples. Pays out at +500. If you believe in Doncic breaking out of his January slump (25% from three for the month), bump Doncic to 4+ threes and it’s +800.
While Dallas lost five of six games on their recent road trip, they are simply a different team at home. We like taking Dallas +1.5 points, and taking Doncic to get 30+ points and 12+ rebounds, for+400. We also like taking Dallas on the moneyline and both Luka and Bam Adebayo to get 12+ rebounds, which pays out at +1000.
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis, the winners of eleven straight games, are a six-point favorite in the City of Angels. And we don’t mean Anaheim, the City of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The over/under is 243 points, a full Nikola Jokic game over the earlier game’s total. It’s not a surprise the young Grizzlies are playing at the league’s third-fastest pace. It may be a surprised that the veteran Lakers are playing at the league’s second-fastest pace. And while the Lakers’ defense has slipped since Anthony Davis went out with a foot injury, their offense is putting up the 8th-most points in the league.
Is this the game where the Grizzlies’ streak ends? Look, we wouldn’t bet on it. But we do think it’s another game where LeBron James lights it up. And we think they keep the game close. Give us a parlay of the Lakers +5.5, LeBron racking up 50+ points + assists + rebounds, and Russell Westbrook notching 40+ points + assists + rebounds, for +700. Since there’s no penalty for missed three-pointers, we will take the Westbrook triple-double, combined with his old teammate Steven Adams getting a double-double, for +1100.
For some higher-risk, higher-reward parlays, we like Memphis on the moneyline, with Westbrook and Morant hitting 10+ assists, for +1000. And for +2000, the same Westbrook-Morant parlay, with James and Tyus Jones getting 5+ assists is very tempting.
It should be amazing watching the future of the league match up with its present, and perhaps recent past. But while the Lakers and Heat are aging, there’s one thing that never gets old: Same-game parlays.