Handicapping the NBA: Wednesday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Wednesday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha

Jazz to win (-265) vs. LAC – DraftKings (4:19 PM CT)

I have no faith in the Clippers being able to beat the Jazz in Utah without Kawhi Leonard. It would take a monster game from Paul George plus multiple role players having their best performances of the series offensively while also playing top-notch defense. It's a heavy favorite, but I'm alright with the -265.

Nick Whalen

Jazz -7.0 (-112) vs. LAC – DraftKings (11:44 AM CT)

With Kawhi Leonard out for Game 5 – likely the rest of the series – the Jazz have been presented with an absolute gift after squandering a 2-0 lead. Not only does Kawhi's absence take the best player out of the series, but it also eases the pressure on Mike Conley (questionable) to play through his hamstring injury. Much like the Bucks last night, if the Jazz can't take care of business against a hobbled team, it will rightfully be viewed as a monumental failure. A big Paul George game could keep the Clippers in it, but without Leonard, whose absence swung the line by 4.0 points, there's no excuse for Utah to win this relatively comfortably.

Player parlay: Joel Embiid double-double + 76ers beat ATL (+100) – DraftKings

I'm going right back to the well with the same parlay I tossed out on Monday night. At halftime, Embiid already had a double-double and the Sixers looked like they were well on their way to winning the game. Of course, Embiid went on to have arguably the worst half by a superstar in a playoff game in NBA history, and the parlay blew up in my face. As has been the case all series, tonight's game will be dictated by the health of Embiid's knee. If he plays like he did through the first 14 quarters of the series, he probably gets a double-double and the Sixers probably win. But if his meniscus is bothering him more than it was earlier in the series, then some doubt starts to creep in. With the series shifting back to Philadelphia, I'm willing to put my faith in Embiid in an effort to get some favorable action on the Sixers at plus money. 

Jacob Lebowitz

Jazz to win series against LAC (-286)DraftKings (11:38 AM CT)

The Jazz started off the series hot, taking a dominant 2-0 series lead. However, they haven't looked the same since. The Clippers took back the series momentum after Game 4's controlling win. Everything was starting to fall into place for the Clippers until news broke Tuesday night of Kawhi Leonard's knee injury. Leonard will miss Game 5 and is likely to miss at least the next couple of games as he battles with a knee sprain. With Leonard out, there's no way the Clippers will be able to win two out of three games against the Western Conference's No. 1 seed Jazz. The Clippers have struggled with Leonard out of the lineup all year, and I expect more of the same. Leonard was a key reason why his team was able to win Games 3 and 4, but without him, the Jazz will be able to place more attention on shutting down Paul George.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Jacob Lebowitz
Jacob writes about fantasy sports and sports betting for RotoWire. He's always doing something sports-related whether that's playing NBA 2K, watching a football game or playing a game of pickup basketball.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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