It’s Friday night, and the gambling’s right. We’re gonna have some fun, watch Brooklyn and Boston, TGIF!
ESPN is delivering a doubleheader of NBA action tonight that’s almost as action-packed as a Full House-Family Matters double feature. First, the new-look Brooklyn Nets visit the old-look Boston Celtics. All of Brooklyn’s former stars have disappeared without warning, sort of like younger daughter Judy Winslow. Mikal Bridges is a promising young player, but going from Kevin Durant to Bridges is like going from Stefan Urquelle to regular old Urkel. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons has been shut down with an injury, or because Jacque Vaughn is sick of Simmons saying, “Did I do that?” after being chewed out for passing up a wide-open layup.
In the late game, it’s a matchup of the two top Western Conference teams as the Memphis Grizzlies play at the Denver Nuggets. We’ve got Nikola Jokic, the only MVP candidate with the same musculature as Joey Gladstone, versus Ja Morant, a young star who needs a Very Special Episode about playing with guns, plus a heartfelt hug from Danny Tanner. Ja pulled a gun on a teenager? How rude!
The games are hotter than a shirtless Jesse Katsopolis forging college admissions documents with Rebecca Donaldson! Three of the best teams in basketball, plus a team with 17 three-and-D wings? Have mercy!
Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics
Boston is a whopping 10.5-point favorite against Brooklyn, who have lost four in a row and eight of ten since dealing Durant and Kyrie Irving. The over/under is 227.5, meaning the sportsbooks either really believe in the scoring power of Cam Thomas or they really don’t believe in the defense of Spencer Dinwiddie.
There’s no significant injury news. Brooklyn is missing Ben Simmons, Edmond Sumner and Yuta Watanabe, while Boston lists Malcolm Brogdon as “probable.”
We like the Celtics in this one, but Brooklyn does have a lot of defenders to send at Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. However, they also give up the second-highest three-point percentage in the NBA, while Boston has made the second-most threes in the league. That’s why we like a three-headed three-point parlay. Al Horford and Derrick White making 2+ threes, Tatum making 3+ threes, and Boston on the moneyline, for +400.
We also like Boston -10.5, parlayed with Tatum hitting 30+ points and Robert Williams grabbing 12+ rebounds. For a riskier parlay, we like Boston on the moneyline parlayed with Tatum and Bridges each hitting 30+ points, for +1400. For a real longshot, go with the Tatum-Williams combo above, and add Marcus Smart dishing 10+ assists, for a cool +4500.
Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets
Denver is favored by 5.5 points, and the over/under is 233.5 points.
The Grizzlies and Nuggets are five games apart in the standings, but they have a very similar point differential. Denver’s outsourcing opponents by 4.4 points per game; Memphis is doing it by 4.3. However, the Nuggets are incredible at home - 28-4 - and the Grizzlies are pretty ordinary on the road - 12-18. Of course, that’s five more road wins than the Golden State Warriors have this season.
Jokic is having a ridiculous season, evidenced by the low odds if you parlay a Joker triple-double with Denver on the moneyline. It only pays out at +125 - even the oddsmakers are numb to his “stat padding.” (We kid, don’t yell at us, Michael “Don’t Call Me Mike” Malone!)
While Jokic is racking up triple-doubles, he doesn’t seem to be as invested in scoring, which is why we think parlays involving Jokic exceeding 30 points are a stayaway. Instead, we like taking Jokic to score 20+ points, 5+ assists, and 12+ rebounds, along with 2+ blocks. That’s +675. We also like betting on Jamal Murray to get 20+ points, 5+ assists, and 5+ rebounds, for +340.
On the Memphis side, we like betting on the Grizz to cover but not win. That’s why taking Morant at +30 points, 5+ assists, and 5+ rebounds, plus Memphis +4.5 points is tempting, for a +425 payout. We also like an assist-based parlay: Jokic and Morant to get 10+ assists, plus Murray and Desmond Bane getting 5+ assists, for +1100.
For a longshot, we like this complicated defensive parlay: Morant and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 2+ steals, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Aaron Gordon with 2+ blocks, and Memphis +4.5. That yields +5500, which is enough to repair the damage if Urkel’s jetpack blasts through your roof or Stephanie Tanner drives a car into the kitchen.
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