This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
4-Leg Parlay: Hawks to win vs. Hornets and Pelicans to win vs. Spurs, plus both games to go under their point totals (+608) -- 4:33 PM CT
We saw some low-scoring games yesterday, and it was a reminder that play-in basketball is essentially playoff basketball. Scouting reports are being read, and the defensive intensity is at its peak. I expect the trend to continue in these games, and I think the home favorite has the clear advantage in both matchups.
Atlanta Hawks -5.0 vs. Charlotte Hornets – FanDuel Sportsbook, 2PM CT
I'll start by saying I feel much less strongly about both of tonight's play-in games compared to Tuesday night's. But the fact that this number has swelled to -5.0 (it's Hawks -5.5 at some shops) makes me feel better about backing Atlanta. Man-to-man, Charlotte might be the more talented team with higher upside, but at the end of the day I trust Trae Young and the Hawks more. Even if Charlotte is able to successfully limit Young as a scorer, I think he has a big night as a distributor. If you're looking for a player prop to attack, consider that Young has a pair of 15-assist games against Charlotte already this season.
I'm taking the UNDER on Trae Young scoring 30.5 points (FanDuel, -110, 4pm ET)
Terry Rozier is an excellent on-ball defender. Long before he raised his FG% over 42% (year 5 of his career), defense was his calling card. Do I think he'll shut down Trae? No, but he'll slow him down. Plus, the Hawks are understandably favored by 5.5 at home. This could be a blow-out early, in which case Young may not need to play monster minutes. So between Rozier's defense and the blowout potential, I'll take the under.
Capela is -220 to record a double-double (12:02 PM CT) in the win-or-go-home matchup against the Hornets, but there's simply more value if you take the props individually, though it obviously comes at a greater risk. Regardless, Capela grabbed at least 14 rebounds in three of four matchups against Charlotte during the regular season, and the only time he failed was during his second game back from a two-week absence. He also averaged 13.0 points during the four regular-season matchups, including a 20-point outing. The lines appear to be set based on Capela's regular-season performances, but I expect the veteran big man to see increased opportunities as Charlotte focuses its defense on corralling Trae Young.