The Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to lock up a playoff spot on Tuesday night. Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns to win the race to 50 games, and it’s looking more and more likely that the Bucks will be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference as they have a three-game lead over the Boston Celtics. They are now the favorites to win the NBA title per the NBA futures odds at BetRivers Sportsbook, and their first real test in the NBA Playoffs will probably come against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. Cleveland is the top NBA Parlay Pick on Friday as the Cavaliers are playing well and should cruise to a double-digit win against the Washington Wizards.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers
If the season ended today, the Washington Wizards would just barely sneak into the playoffs as the No. 10 seed, but they would need to win two games in order to make the actual postseason. The Wizards were 28-30 heading into the All-Star Break, but they are 4-7 since that point with their four wins coming against Detroit (twice), Toronto, and Atlanta.
Bradley Beal has looked great against a bad Detroit team, but he has underperformed against the other teams he has faced recently. Beal has made less than 30% of his three-point attempts during this 11-game stretch, and that number would be even worse if you take out the two games against the Pistons. Additionally, he is playing bad defense, and that’s not a good thing when you are facing Cleveland’s talented backcourt.
Washington does have another player like that in center Kristaps Porzingis. The 7’3 big man has been an offensive weapon for most of his career, but he has also been a defensive liability. He doesn’t have the physical size to stop imposing big men, and to make matters worse, the Wizards might not have their best defender in Kyle Kuzma for this game as he is day-to-day with a knee injury.
This is all great news for a Cleveland team that wants to lock down the No. 4 seed. The worry coming into this game for the Cavaliers is that center Jarrett Allen and guard Donovan Mitchell might not be able to play since they are listed as day-to-day.
The Cavaliers will have a day off before this tilt, and they will have the two best players on the court even if Allen and Mitchell are out. Darius Garland has taken his game to the next level, and Evan Mobley is rounding into the best young big men in the NBA. That makes Cleveland worth a bet here.
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers
This game might end up deciding a playoff spot as both the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are 34-35 and one game ahead of Utah and New Orleans for the final spots in the play-in tournament. LeBron James has been out with a foot injury for the last few weeks, and he has no timetable to return, but we have seen Anthony Davis rise to the occasion for the Lakers. Davis has scored 30+ points four times already in March, and the Lakers have won four of their last six games.
However, Davis is dealing with a foot injury and has already been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game against Houston. D’Angelo Russell has been up-and-down since he was acquired by the team just before the trade deadline, and that might make Dallas a sneaky play in the eyes of many bettors.
The Mavericks have been one of the worst teams ATS per the NBA betting odds this season though. Additionally, Luka Doncic will probably miss the game due to a thigh injury, and Dallas’ top four players are all banged up. Kyrie Irving, Christian Wood, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all listed as day-to-day, and that’s a big problem since Dallas doesn’t have much depth.
Although the Lakers are only two games above .500 at home this season, they are moving in the right direction with a 7-3 record in their last ten games. They have not been over .500 yet this year, but wins over Houston and Dallas in their next two games will finally put them over the hump, and that’s a bigger driving force than you might think for this squad.