Mavericks, trying to get in play-in tournament, face 76ersMarch 29th, 2023
If the NBA season ended today, the Dallas Mavericks wouldn’t be in the playoffs. Not even the play-in tournament.
Dallas is in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with only eight games remaining. That’s certainly not what the team had in mind when it traded for Kyrie Irving.
It doesn’t get easier on Wednesday. They travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers, who are hoping to have Joel Embiid back after he sat out Monday, are 4.5-point favorites at BetMGM.
Dallas is tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the standings. At the moment OKC would be the No. 10 seed. Not even finishing in the top 10 of the West would be a horrible season for the Mavericks, who traded for Irving on Feb. 6. The Mavericks are 9-13 since then. Irving and Luka Doncic have missed games due to injury. Even when accounting for injuries, missing the playoffs and the play-in tournament would be shocking for the Mavericks.
The 76ers are five games out of the No. 1 seed in the East and 2.5 games out of the second seed. Perhaps they could overtake the Celtics for the second spot, but they might see more value in resting Embiid and James Harden down the stretch. Both are listed as questionable for Wednesday.
The Mavericks should have some more urgency in Wednesday night’s game, but does that matter? We’ll start to find out if the Mavs are capable of finishing strong, or if their offseason will start way too early.
Here’s a first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
Rest of the NBA
The New York Knicks are trying to stay out of the play-in tournament, and a win Wednesday would be huge for them. The Knicks, in the No. 5 spot of the East, take on the Miami Heat. The Heat are the No. 7 seed, two games behind New York. The top six teams are in the bracket, while the No. 7 through 10 seeds are in the play-in tournament. The Knicks are 5.5-point favorites on Wednesday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls are both trying to make the play-in field. The Bulls are No. 10 in the East with a 2.5-game lead over the Washington Wizards. The Lakers are only a half-game ahead of the Mavericks and Thunder. The Lakers are 2.5-point road favorites.
Light night in the NHL
There are only three NHL games on Wednesday. The best is probably the Florida Panthers at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are a -150 favorite but have been up and down the past few weeks, and need to start finding some consistency before the playoffs.
What’s the best bet?
LeBron James is back, but did we forget that the Lakers weren’t all that great earlier this season with him? I’m not going to trust them as a road favorite against a Bulls team that hasn’t been playing bad. I’ll go with Chicago.
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