Just over 10 days remain in the 2021-22 NBA regular season, as just 1.5 games separate four teams at the top of the Eastern Conference. Three teams are within one game of the 10th (and final) seed in the Western play-in tournament.
Let’s look at a few teams involved in both and see where the value is ahead of tonight’s slate.
1. Heat +4.5 | -110 at DraftKings Sportsbook
After losing four straight games and seeing their lead atop the Eastern Conference shrink to a tie, the Heat got back on track Monday at home vs. the Kings, winning 123-100 as 13.5-point favorites. The first real test will come tonight as they hit the road to play in a hostile TD Garden (Boston), taking on a Celtics team they are just one game ahead of in the standings.
They’ll have to do it facing the return of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the C’s, whose combined 50.5 points per game were off the court Monday in the team’s 115-112 loss to the Raptors. While turmoil inside the Heat locker room is certainly not nothing, I think the veteran leadership of this team prevails, and the Heat can keep this one close as they head into a critical final week of the season.
2. Mavericks -3.5 | -110 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Another team clawing and scratching to hang onto what they had in the East is the Cavaliers. Months ago in contention for the top few spots in the East, one injury after another now has the Cavaliers sitting one game behind the Raptors for the 6th (and final) guaranteed playoff seed.
They now draw a Mavericks team heading in the opposite direction, winners of seven of their last 10 (6-4 ATS) and just one game behind the Warriors for the #3 seed in the West. Despite playing last night, the Mavs were able to rest their starters (namely Luka Doncic) for much of the second half and come into this one relatively rested for a back-to-back set. Look for the Mavericks to pull away late as Luka has a big night in Cleveland.
3. Suns -4.5| -110 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Not long ago in a neck and neck battle with the Warriors for the top of the West, the Suns are now 13.5 games back and suddenly in danger of slipping all the way down to #6. A major catalyst for the slide, of course, has been the absence of Steph Curry (foot), who hasn’t played since March 16th as the Warriors have lost five of six.
Smelling blood in the water, I like for the Suns to continue to push the pedal to the floor tonight in San Francisco, winning this one with relative ease without Curry on the floor.
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