TNT moves their NBA doubleheaders to Tuesday nights during football season to avoid competition with Thursday Night Football, the NFL’s streaming showcase for the worst matchup of the week. Nonetheless, Americans prefer watching Russell Wilson struggling to score in double digits against the Indianapolis Colts over fan-tastic NBA action, so we don’t get Inside The NBA on Thursday nights until January.
But it’s a new year and a new night for Ernie, Kenny, Chuck, and Shaq, and the NBA has given TNT some premium matchups. First, the surging Dallas Mavericks, winners of seven in a row, host the scuffling Boston Celtics (8-8 in the last month). Former MVP darling Jayson Tatum battles back-to-back Player of the Week Luka Doncic in a battle with huge implications for the playoffs and the Kia MVP Ladder. (They’re Nos. 2 and 3 this week.)
In the second game, we may actually see a full-strength Los Angeles Clippers team against the Denver Nuggets, who feature the top dog on the Kia MVP Ladder, Nikola Jokic. Kawhi Leonard is back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game, while Paul George and his sore hamstring are questionable to face the top team in the Western Conference. It could be a revenge series for the Clippers, who blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in 2020, the last season Leonard was healthy during the playoffs.
Enough preamble. Let’s get to the same-game parlays!
Celtics at Mavericks
Boston is a three-point road favorite in this game, as the books believe in Boston’s entire body of work this season over their last few games. The Celtics gave up 150 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, which may be why there’s a high total of 232.5. That could reflect the belief that the Celtics will force Dallas to speed up their slow pace, or it’s simply that Luka Doncic has been cracking 50 points by himself every other game recently.
That’s why we like nearly any parlay based on Doncic’s scoring. Boston’s defense is middle-of-the-pack this year, and Doncic is on fire. There’s a simple parlay of Doncic and Tatum both going over 30 points, coupled with Dallas on the moneyline, which pays out at +360. We agree that this game will be faster than Dallas’ usual pace, so we also like a +350 parlay of Doncic getting 40+ points + rebounds, Christian Wood getting 30+ points + rebounds, and the Mavericks +2.5 points.
We like Wood because he’s in a contract year, and he’s effectively auditioning for a long-term role as Luka’s wingman. And we like the rebounding parlays because Boston’s three-point shooting has cratered recently, but they’re still putting up a ton of attempts from behind the arc. In that spirit, we also like parlaying the aforementioned Doncic and Wood points + rebounds overs (+40 and +30 respectively) with Tatum going over 40 points + rebounds and Jaylen Brown getting 30+ points + rebounds.
For longshots, we like this defense-heavy parlay: 2+ Luka Doncic steals, 2+ Marcus Smart steals, 2+ Christian Wood blocks, and 2+ Robert Williams blocks, along with the Celtics at +2.5 points. Look, if Smart is getting a ton of steals, Boston has a good chance to win this one.
Clippers at Nuggets
Denver is a six-point favorite over the Clippers, and the over/under is 229 points. Betting this game is rife with uncertainty, mainly centered around Paul George and his hamstring injury. Because this is the Clippers, you should always assume one of their stars is not playing - the Clipper Way is paved on load management.
Still, when they do play, the Clippers stars play hard. Which is why we like a Kawhi-centric parlay, taking the Clippers at +5.5 points, along with Kawhi exceeding 30 points, five assists, and five rebounds. It pays out at +950.
For Nuggets backers, there’s shockingly little value in betting Jokic to get a triple-double, because he’s nearly averaging one already (25.6/10.8/9.5 splits). Parlaying the Nuggets moneyline with Jokic triple-doubling only yields a +160 return.
Your opinion on Nuggets parlays depends heavily on how you think the Clippers will defend the Joker. Since Ty Lue took over as coach in 2020, they’ve been fairly good at limiting Jokic, but they tend to play him straight up and limit his passing. That’s why we like the scoring bets, specifically parlaying the Nuggets moneyline with Jokic getting 30+ points, along with Jamal Murray getting 20+ points (+625).
For longshot bets, give us the Nuggets moneyline parlayed with Jokic and Leonard both logging 40+ points + assists, for a payout of +2800.