February 27, 2023
Three suggestions for early-in-the-week action
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
7:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Boston -2.5
As always, the trickiness of the NBA is determining who will and won’t be on the floor. Between injuries and load management, it can sometimes be a guessing game right up until tipoff.
Tonight, it’s a little different. It’s already been determined that Jaylen Brown is not playing. Boston’s shooting guard is sidelined with a facial fracture. Nonetheless, the Celtics are still the favorites for this matchup at MSG.
That’s a little surprising, as the Knicks are playing good basketball. They’ve won eight of their last 10, matching the Celtics record during that same stretch.
New York has lost eight out of 13 games against the Atlantic Division this season, however. That doesn’t bode well heading into a game against the best team in the East, as Boston is 9-1 within the division this season.
The Knicks won the last game between the two teams, so this also sets up as a revenge spot that enters this contest on two days rest. The Celtics have won five straight games overall and are the better team.
Not having Brown will hurt, but they should find a way to get past this Knicks team that is due for a letdown.
Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Boston -2.5 (-110)
Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche
Ball Arena – Denver, CO
9:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Colorado -130
This matchup is all about finding value. It’s right there for the taking, as this game offers a good price for a surging team.
The Avs have won five games in a row and are rounding into form as the season progresses. Colorado is also 46-13 in their last 59 games when its opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game. Vegas fell 3-2 in overtime to Dallas on Saturday night.
The Golden Knights have lost two out of their last three, all of which have gone to extra time. The season series with the Avalanche is tied 1-1, with both games ending in a 3-2 score.
There’s no reason to go against the hot hand in this one. While this is Colorado’s third game in four nights, they enter the matchup following a rest day and an extended layoff last week.
In their five-game winning streak, four victories have been convincing. The Avs have allowed just 10 goals over that span, half of which came against the Oilers. They’re coming off of convincing 5-1 and 4-1 wins against the Jets and Flames, respectively.
Take the hot team. There’s no reason not to.
Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Colorado M/L (-130)
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA
7:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Philadelphia -6.0
This matchup features two teams heading in different directions. As the playoffs loom, one is surging, while the other is faltering.
Yes, Philadelphia is coming off a frustrating 110-107 loss to Boston, a game that was within a microsecond of going into overtime on Joel Embiid’s desperation heave. But prior to that loss, the 76ers had won five straight games. They’re firmly entrenched as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, Miami has lost four in a row. The Heat have fallen into the No. 7 spot, putting them in the play-in round. And their hold on that spot is precarious, with Atlanta, Toronto, Washington and Chicago all looming.
There’s no reason to think anything is going to change tonight. The Heat are just 13-18 on the road, the worst record in the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Sixers are 24-9 at Wells Fargo Center.
Don’t overthink it. Go with the better team.
Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Philadelphia M/L (-220)
Today’s best packaged deal
- Philadelphia 76ers M/L -220
- Boston Celtics M/L -135
Jason Schlefsky’s Two-Leg Parlay = +153
Package the two best teams in the East to create some easy value.
Three Things We Learned…
Takeaways from a weekend full of great games and performances
Damian Lillard is still a star
The Trail Blazers might not be very good, sitting at 29-31 and on the outside looking in for a playoff spot at the moment. But their star guard can still hoop with the best of them. On Sunday night, Damian Lillard made 22 out of 38 field goals, 14 of 14 free throws and 13 three-pointers en route to a 71-point performance in a win over the Rockets. It’s too bad he’s languishing out of sight in Portland.
Nothing beats a buzzer beater
It was a crazy weekend for last-second shots. In college basketball, Arizona State knocked off Arizona with a heave at the horn, while Iowa bested No. 2 Indiana in women’s hoops in similar dramatic fashion. In the NBA, those moments were nearly in play this weekend. Joel Embiid had a game-tying buzzer beater wiped off the board against the Celtics, as did Paul George on Sunday night against the Nuggets. What a wild ride!
The NFL will protect itself
While the conversation about outlawing the push play on QB sneaks will get a lot of attention as the league’s Rules Committee meets to discuss adjustments, one development flew under the radar. After reviewing 80 roughing the passer penalties, the NFL determined that only three of the calls were questionable in 2022. Anyone who watched a game knows that’s not true, but the league isn’t going to call out itself.