In the immortal words of Zaza Pachulia, “We’re going to Game 7 baby!” And we do it twice! Sunday is a basketball fan’s dream. Two win-win or win-win games, featuring five of the NBA’s brightest solar system stars. The action on the pitch is going to be fire.
Let’s make the action off the pitch just as fun. These are the games where legends are created, where the stars shine a little brighter. So today we’re going to theme our picks and focus on these five stars: Luka Doncic from Dallas, Chris Paul and Devin Booker from Phoenix, Giannis Antetokounmpo from Milwaukee and Jayson Tatum from Boston.
As the Warriors and Heat advance, my streak is making record moves at 10-0, so I’m going to continue to trust my pre-playoff predictions, which will inform tonight’s picks. General advice for Game 7: Everyone is nervous, so with a few exceptions (like Giannis), hammer those unders.
Overall balance against the spread: 22-23-1
Milwaukee Bucks (+5, +180) at Boston Celtics (-5, -220) – 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT
This streak has been a stellar back-and-forth, with neither team able to pull off back-to-back wins at any time. If Milwaukee can continue that trend and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, this series would immediately be part of the myth-building around Antetokounmpo. He essentially does it alone on offense, against the best (and most physical) defense in the NBA.
It was simply breathtaking. Transcendent. And although Antetokounmpo had 40 points and 20 rebounds in a game Boston managed to win by double digits, I want my money on the Giannis Transcendence. Now Tatum is starting to build his own legend, scoring 46 points for the Celtics on Friday in a playoff game. And he has a lot more help. But it’s not like the Bucks role players are idiots.
Boston hasn’t had a good back-to-back night yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer walk away from Grayson Allen completely after watching Tatum attack him repeatedly on switches. There are micro adjustments to be made for Milwaukee, while Boston just seems to be sinking or swimming on their shot.
Boston has only beaten the gap about 42% of the time as home favorites, while Milwaukee is even worse as road dogs at 37%. This is the classic stoppable force with respect to a moving object.
But when the chips are down, I want my money on Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee (+5) is the pick, but don’t be shy for the money line (+180) if you agree with me they’ll win this one altogether.
I ride too Giannis MORE THAN 34.5 points, and I play as usual Jrue Holiday MORE THAN 1.5 interceptions. I could put some action on the LESS THAN 206.5as four of the six games in this one were low scored (to the tune of an average combined score of 198).
Dallas Mavericks (+6.5, +230) at Phoenix Suns (-6.5, -280) – 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT
How amazing would it be if Doncic pulled this off? He’s essentially on the same trajectory that LeBron James was on four years into his now illustrious career. Dragging this team to the Conference Finals (and maybe the Finals, with how sloppy Golden State looked) that has no business there would just be icing on the cake.
But in front of him is a version of Paul who should be desperate. He would never comply, but if Phoenix loses this game, it’s yet another failed title chase for Paul, yet another 2-0 series lead. And this time it won’t be because he’s injured, or because a teammate is injured. Chris Paul needs it. I like his MORE THAN 16.5, not just because he was strong at home in the playoffs, but because it’s just feels like it’s due. I think Phoenix is going to plan a game to stop Dallas shooters, limit what Jalen Brunson can do, and rely on their defenders to make Luka Doncic’s night tough.
And when the Suns have the ball, expect them to be ruthless. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul and Devin Booker chasing down Doncic, despite being a pretty decent defender on the ball. If the Suns can gas Doncic (a tactic that has worked in past playoffs), their depth and balance should carry the game late. This line scares me, so I’m probably staying away, as Game 7s tend to be tense, tight, and low-scoring. I think this one will be close.
Against the spread I will take Dallas (+6.5) and points, but I think Phoenix is winning the game, so I’m not making that bet. They are two great defenses and two deliberate, calculating offenses. I like LESS THAN 205 for the game, and I think Doncic also goes under 34.5 points. And of course, Mikal Bridges MORE THAN 1.5 interceptions and blocks combined, since he only managed to do better than three times in the playoffs.
The Sicko Same Game Parlay of The Night is worth +1100
• Phoenix Suns Silver Line
• Mikal Bridges OVER 1.5 interceptions and blocks combined
• Chris Paul MORE THAN 16.5 points
• Jalen Brunson LESS THAN 27.5 points, assists and rebounds combined
• Luka Doncic LESS THAN 34.5 points
As always, play it safe and don’t chase.