Tonight, the first game of ESPN’s doubleheader features a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Boston Celtics. It will be their first meeting since opening night, a 126-117 Celtics win. However, Joel Embiid had a big game on the glass, and he will look to repeat that performance tonight.
Rudy Gobert returns to Utah for just the second time since being traded from the Jazz in the offseason. However, tonight I am looking at Anthony Edwards, whom the Jazz have had a tough time containing this season. But first, let’s begin in Cleveland where Darius Garland could be in a generous mood against the Pistons.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Darius Garland Over 7.5 Assists (-130)
|Time | TV||7:10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Darius Garland is averaging 8.1 assists per game this season, which means he is going over this line on an average night. Over his last 10 games, Garland has recorded eight assists six times. In the last two games, however, he has gone under. Blowouts were a factor, particularly on Monday, when he played just 28 minutes. Against the Pistons a blowout is a possibility, but he may just need three quarters in this matchup.
According to props.cash, the Pistons are the worst team in defending point guards. They are 19th in assists allowed and are 26th in assists allowed to point guards over the last 15 games. The last two times Garland has faced the Pistons, he finished with 12 and 10 assists.
The Pistons are 29th in scoring defense and particularly struggle defending the paint. Consequently, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen should have a lot of success in this matchup. As correlated plays, I also like their points props, but Garland will be the one setting them up on lobs and in the pick-and-roll. This should lead him to getting eight assists and possibly another double-digit assist game against the Pistons.
Editor’s Note: Garland is now questionable to play with a thumb injury, so his status is worth monitoring.
Joel Embiid Over 10.5 Rebounds (-128)
|Time | TV||7:40 p.m. ET | ESPN|
On Monday, we cashed on Robert Williams III’s points + rebounds line, which he cleared easily with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Tonight, I am on the opposite side. Against Joel Embiid, Robert Williams III and every other Celtics big man is a liability to be in foul trouble. The Celtics still have defended Embiid better than most teams as he is averaging just 24.8 points in their last five meetings. However, they have not had the same impact in keeping him off the glass.
Embiid has had recorded 11 rebounds against the Celtics in three of the last five meetings. He had at least 13 rebounds in three of those games and finished with 10 in another. He had 15 against the Celtics against the lone matchup this season on opening night. Embiid is averaging 10.2 rebounds this season, but he has picked up the pace of late. He is averaging 12.8 rebounds over his last five games, finishing with 11 in four of them.
The Celtics also present a great matchup for him. While Time Lord had a big night against the Pistons, Jalen Duren had 14 rebounds himself. Boston is 18th in rebounds allowed and 26th in defensive rebounds allowed. Recently, it has allowed double-digit rebounds to Duren, Isaiah Stewart, DeAndre Ayton, Bam Adebayo and Wendell Carter Jr.
Additionally, the first meeting this season featured 243 points. However, four of the previous six matchups have had 210 points or fewer. A lower-scoring game will provide more rebound opportunities for Embiid.
Anthony Edwards Over 27.5 Points (-108)
|Time | TV||9:10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Anthony Edwards has not scored 28 points in his last four games. However, both of Minnesota’s home-and-home games against the Denver Nuggets were blowouts. Edwards was well on his way to a big night scoring last night in Denver after scoring 19 in the first half, but Chris Finch pulled his starters with eight minutes left in the third quarter. As a result, I expect Edwards to be fresh tonight despite this being a back-to-back.
Despite the last four games, Edwards is still averaging 28.9 points over his last 10 games as he had scored 28 points in five of his previous six games. Tonight, I love his matchup against the Jazz as a bounce-back spot. According to props.cash, the Jazz are 24th defending shooting guards. Over the last 15 games, they are 27th in points allowed to shooting guards and 29th in 3s allowed to the position.
On Monday, they allowed 29 points each to Dallas’ Jaden Hardy and Josh Green. They also allowed 35 points to Spencer Dinwiddie recently before the Mavericks traded him. Additionally, though other guards such as Damian Lillard (60 points) and Fred VanVleet (35 points) have excelled against the Jazz. Edwards has scored 29 points in two of the meetings against the Jazz this season. As a volume scorer and 3-point shooter, this is a favorable matchup he should take advantage of.