Tonight sees the belated return to competitive NBA action after this season’s All-Star break.
Although teams have played 70% of their games, this is seen as a halfway point in the season – a time for teams to make that final push for the playoffs or accept their fate and tanks for favourable odds in May’s NBA draft lottery.
The fate of the Phoenix Suns was decided long before the All-Star break – this is a team tanking for a chance of the first overall pick in the draft for the second consecutive year.
Deandre Ayton – the man the Suns took first in last year’s draft – has been having a solid enough debut season in Phoenix, albeit not on the same level as 1/100 shot for Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic.
Ayton and the Suns take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight (00:00AM GMT) in a clash between two of this season’s heaviest tanking teams (worst and third worst records respectively) in what should be a game of pretty poor offense and defense… resulting in hopefully plennty of rebounding opportunities for the big men.
After having led Team World with 8 rebounds in the Rising Star Challenge during All-Star Weekend, Deandre Ayton should get the chances to secure plenty of boards and is available at even money with skybet to grab over 10.5 rebounds tonight. Ayton is averaging 10.5 rebounds this season and has surpassed tonight’s target 26 times in his 53 games – but the nature of tonight’s game should aid him.
The Golden State Warriors and Sacremento Kings face off in tonight’s later game (03:30AM GMT) at Oracle Arena in what could be a preview of a first round matchup come the playoffs.
Lots of the market focus is on the returning Golden State All-Stars, DeMarcus Cousins and Three Point Contest participant Buddy Hield. However, the over/under lines for Sacramento big man Willie Cauley-Stein look a bit off to me.
Cauley-Stein is averaging 12.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, yet the line is at 8.5 and 7.5 respectively – I wouldn’t be amazed to see him eclipse both of these. However, it’s the overs for the points scored I’ll be backing – Cauley-Stein has managed to score over tonight’s line in 46 of his 57 games – and is still averaging 9.5 points per game despite his playing time dropping. Cauley-Stein to score over 8.5 points is available at evens with Skybet – I’ll be having double my usual stake on that.
Additionally, I’ll be having a point on the combined 3/1 double. Best of luck.
Ayton over 10.5 rebounds @ evens – 1pt
Cauley-Stein over 8.5 points @ evens – 2pts
Combined double @ 3/1 – 1pt