The first night of the 2021 NBA play-in tournament will get started on Tuesday, May 18th with an Eastern Conference doubleheader on TNT. The Charlotte Hornets will travel to play the Indiana Pacers, followed by the Washington Wizards heading on the road for the Boston Celtics.
Be sure to check the injury report prior to getting your wagers in because the Pacers have a number of players listed as questionable including Aaron Holiday, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis and Edmond Sumner on an already injured roster. Even with the health issues, the Pacers have done very well against the spread, and they’ll cover this number for the seventh time in their past eight games.
Hornets vs. Pacers total points: over/under 227.5
Indiana averages the second most possessions per game in the league, and they will speed up the Hornets, which rank No. 21 in that category. Overs cashed in 10 of the Pacers’ last 13 games, and that’s another good bet in this spot.
LaMelo Ball points, rebounds and assists: over/under 29.5
LaMelo Ball is way too big of a risk to take the over in this situation for a number of reasons. He scored in single digits in two of his last four games, and he is currently averaging 27.7 combined points, rebounds and assists this season. That’s under the oddsmakers’ total and that’s where we’re going.
Domantas Sabonis total points: over/under 22.5
Despite being listed as questionable, there’s probably a good chance Domantas Sabonis sees the floor Tuesday night. If he does, we’re still going under on this total. He went over 22.5 points just once in his last three games with a minimal threat from the three-point line and averages 20.3 points per game on the season.
This one should go right down to the wire like oddsmakers suggest as Boston has really struggled since Jaylen Brown’s season-ending injury. The Celtics are 2-5 straight up since Brown last played, and there’s not much reason to think they’ll flip the switch against Washington, which is 15-4-1 against the spread in their last 20 games.
Wizards vs. Celtics total points: over/under 232.5
Washington averages the most possessions in the NBA with 108.1 per game, but the Celtics will need to slow this game down as much as possible as they have continued to struggle on the offensive end. For this reason, we’re going under this high total.
Russell Westbrook points, rebounds and assists: over/under 49.5
Russell Westbrook will want to put on a show in a stand-alone game, so we’re going over on this. He is averaging a triple-double with 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists, which is 45.4 combined. Westbrook will have the ball in his hands a ton on Tuesday night and should reach this number.
Jayson Tatum total points: over/under 28.5
Boston will need a big game from their leading scorer, who averages 26.4 points per game this season. Still, in six games without Brown on the floor, he is only scoring 25.5 per game. We’re going under.
Which team will score the most points? Hornets, Pacers, Celtics, Wizards
The Wizards average the most possessions in the NBA and the third most points at 116.6 per game, slightly higher than the Pacers. We’re going with Washington to finish as the top scoring team on Tuesday night.
Which team will score the fewest points? Hornets, Pacers, Celtics, Wizards
The Hornets average the fewest possessions per game among the four teams, and they rank No. 23 in the NBA in points per game. Take Charlotte to score the least number of points in the first night of the play-in tournament.
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