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Old rivalries rekindled on ESPN Wednesday

It’s the first-ever matchup of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid! Plus two dynasties collide when Memphis faces Golden State.

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Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green tells Dillon Brooks to talk to the hand, because the face ain’t listening!
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On ESPN’s Wednesday slate of games, we’ve got two franchise enemies going into the lion’s den to face an arena full of opposing fans who will be booing their every move. And no, we aren’t talking about Scott Foster.

In the early game, it’s the first-ever meeting of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as opponents, when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid missed the teams’ matchup in November, when the shorthanded Sixers surprisingly beat the Nets, even without Embiid or James Harden. In case you’re wondering, Harden played one game against the Nets after the deadline deal that sent him to Philadelphia, and he had more turnovers than made shots (four turnovers, 3-17 from the field).

In the late game, Dillon Brooks and the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Golden State Warriors exactly a month after their Christmas Day game, where the Warriors won 123-109, and Klay Thompson did this to Brooks:

Brooks was already creating a rivalry with the Warriors before he broke Gary Payton II’s elbow in the playoffs, but now he’s truly a Chase Center villain. But how will that affect the parlays?

Draft Kings Odds

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is a six-point favorite over Brooklyn, who could get Kevin Durant back before the All-Star break, but won’t have him tonight. The over/under is 224.5 points.

The Sixers have been rolling, winning five straight and ten of their last 12 games. The Nets lost four straight after Durant’s injury, but got it together for wins over the Jazz and Warriors last week. This is bold, but we think Simmons is going to send a message tonight and go OVER 9.5 points. Do we think he’s going to shoot a lot? No, but there’s a non-zero chance that Doc Rivers tells his players to employ the Hack-a-Simmons and send him to the free throw line. Of course, he’s only a slightly worse free throw shooter than Nic Claxton (46.3% to 43.4%).

Parlay Simmons over 9.5 points with Claxton getting 12.5 points yields a payout of +260. Honestly, we like Simmons to have a solid game, as the rabid Philly crowd that would normally be ready to hurl expletives and batteries at their former player is too distracted by thinking about what they’re going to yell and throw at Deebo Samuel on Sunday, not to mention which police horses they’re going to punch.

Let’s take the Hack-a parlay. Nets +6.5 points (alternate spread), Claxton with 12+ rebounds and 2+ blocks, plus Simmons getting 7+ rebounds and 1+ blocks for +1200. Of course, Harden also has something to prove. If you believe in The Beard, try taking the Sixers moneyline with a Harden triple-double for +525.

But our favorite longshot is based on a Harden-Irving duel. Harden and Irving both getting 40+ points + rebounds and the Brooklyn moneyline is +2800 (With the Sixers moneyline, it’s a less lucrative +1000).

Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors

Despite being 8.5 games back in the standings, the Warriors are a 3.5-point favorite at home, where they are 17-5 this year. The over/under is 245.5, which proves that the oddsmakers have watched the Warriors play defense this season. Their new starting lineup with Jordan Poole should contribute to the big scoring on both sides of the ball, especially as Steven Adams remains out for Memphis.

We believe in Poole during this game, who has a chip on his shoulder after being unfairly accused of injuring Ja Morant (returning from injury tonight) in the playoffs. We like a parlay of the Warriors moneyline with Steph Curry scoring 30+ points and Poole going for 20+ points, for +400. And even though he’s coming off the bench, we’ve seen what Kevon Looney can do on the boards against this Memphis team. We’ll parlay the Dubs moneyline with Looney grabbing 10+ boards, plus the under, for +500.

On the Memphis side, we consider Jaren Jackson Jr. props to be a stayaway. He’s gotten much better at avoiding fouls this year, but not against the Warriors, who seem to sucker him into fouls and off the court. Instead, we’ll take Morant going over 30.5 points, Desmond Bane hitting 4+ three-pointers, and Dillon Brooks going UNDER 14.5 points, for a payout of +750.

And for our official Longshot Parlay (sponsored by Jordan Poole), we will take Curry and Morant both going 50+ in points + rebounds + assists, along with the Warriors moneyline, for +1700. If we could parlay that with a Draymond Green technical foul, trust us, we would.

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