Who to back in Celtics vs. Mavericks — a battle of overrated squads — plus other best bets for Wednesday

Hello, and Happy Wednesday! I want to start today’s newsletter by thanking Gonzaga for making last night’s game against USC anticlimactic. You see, while I wrote about how excited I was to watch the game in yesterday’s newsletter (I was), there were mitigating circumstances I was forced to deal with.

A couple of months ago, when I got the fantasy baseball league I’ve been running for years set up for the 2021 season, I set the draft for the Tuesday before Opening Day. We always draft a couple of days before the season starts, so rosters are set, and any possible injuries are out of the way. The problem is that there usually isn’t any NCAA Tournament action on a Tuesday night! So when I scheduled the draft, it never even crossed my mind that there would be Elite Eight games going on.

But there was, and thankfully Gonzaga had built a 20-point lead before anybody blinked, which made it a lot easier to focus on my draft. Oh, and I was still keeping track of the pace of scoring in the game to make sure our under play won. Which it did, just like UCLA +6.5 did.

So yesterday was a good day for the newsletter, and hopefully, it’ll prove to be a good day for my fantasy team as well. I’m looking to win my third title in four years, after all. I won’t bring up the word dynasty, but a lot of other people definitely bring up the word dynasty when talking about my fantasy team. But I’ll leave that to the historians to decide.

Now let’s return to betting on paid professionals for a bit.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Mavericks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Celtics (-115)
: Considering how often I’ve been in this newsletter telling you how overrated both the Celtics and Mavericks have been by the betting market this season, I don’t see how I could not lead the letter with them facing off tonight. And in this battle of overrated squads, I’m backing the Celtics.

It’s important to remind you that when I’ve said to fade the Celtics, it’s been against the NBA elite. Dallas isn’t elite! Luka Doncic is, but the team as a whole is slightly above average. Also, while the Celtics haven’t been great against the spread this year, they’ve still been solid at home, where they’re 13-8 overall and 11-5 when favored like they are tonight.

Then there’s Dallas, which has done well on the road when facing teams its better than (9-3 straight up as road favorites) but struggles when facing a team similar to it or better (4-8 straight up as a road dog). There’s some question about Jaylen Brown for the Celtics, as he missed their last game against New Orleans due to a hip contusion. He was upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game, and you don’t typically see that happen unless the team expects the player to be available. That’s why I’m getting on this now because the line could grow before tip.

Key Trend: The Celtics are 11-5 at home this year when favored.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model isn’t in love with anything in this matchup, though it does have slight leans on both the spread and total.

💰 The Picks



Blazers at Pistons, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Over 221 (-110) — 
This line feels just a little too low. Portland is one of the best offensive teams in the league, ranking sixth in offensive efficiency. It’s friendly on the defensive end as well, as it ranks 29th in defensive efficiency. That inability to defend should help a Pistons offense that ranks 25th in the league in offensive efficiency find a bit more success than is typical, and I don’t see the Pistons defense doing enough to slow down the Portland offense. I’m good with the over here anywhere up to 224 on the total.

Key Trend: The over has gone 14-9 in Portland road games this season.

Kings at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Spurs -2.5 (-110) — 
While I wouldn’t call it a principle, I do like to fade hot teams. Particularly when those hot teams still aren’t very good. This is why we’re here tonight, fading a Kings team that has won five straight and seven of its last eight. All of that winning has helped the Kings improve to 22-25 this season!

Seriously, Sacramento is still awful defensively, and the fact the Kings just beat the Spurs 132-115 on Monday makes this line even more of an overreaction. I mean, unless you think the Kings are going to shoot 18-36 from three again and get to the free-throw line 11 more times than the Spurs. The Kings have to cool off eventually, and tonight is the night.

Key Trend: San Antonio is 7-3 ATS following its last 10 double-digit losses at home.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Golf stats expert Sal Johnson has showed an uncanny knack for picking long shots, and he has nailed the Masters two years in a row. Now, he provides his best bets for next week’s event.

💸 The DFS Rundown

Building Blocks

PG: Chris Paul, Suns
SG: James Harden, Nets
SF: Jimmy Butler, Heat
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Value Plays

PG: Jordan Clarkson, Jazz
SG: Svi Mykhailiuk, Thunder
SF: Bojan Boganovic, Jazz
PF: Isaiah Roby, Thunder
C: Mason Plumlee, Pistons

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.

 ⚾ MLB Season Futures

With MLB Opening Day on Thursday, I figure it’s time we got some futures in before the season starts. So on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I’ll be sharing my favorite futures plays on teams to make the playoffs, win their division and win the World Series. Today I’m sharing my favorite plays for teams to win the World Series

  • Yankees +550
  • Padres +900
  • Mets +1000
  • Astros +2200

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