Friday, September 22 2023

We’re technically calling this play-in period of the NBA season the playoffs, right? Kind of feels like a gray area, but it’s high-stakes basketball and that’s all we need to sink our teeth into. It’s your friend Tyler Sullivan again and I hope your Tuesday is going swimmingly to this point.

Now, we get to sit back, relax and sweat out from hoops for the rest of the night. Are you ready? Let’s dive in on a three-pack of picks for the first two play-in games on the docket. 

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Timberwolves at Lakers, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT

  • Key Trend: James averaged 30.5 points per game in the final four games of the regular season
  • The Pick: LeBron James Over 28.5 points (-119)

The stage is set for LeBron James to kick off another playoff run with an exclamation point. The Lakers star finished the regular season averaging 30.5 points per game over his last four matchups and he will have a great opportunity to get north of 30 points on Tuesday night against a hobbled Timberwolves club. 

Defensively, James won’t have to deal with Jaden McDaniels, who would have been the primary defender on him had he not suffered a broken hand. Minnesota also won’t have centers Rudy Gobert (suspension) or Naz Reid (wrist fracture) for this game, giving James the green light in the paint. 

Sia Nejad is joined by Propstarz and Jon “Buckets” Eimer to dish out Monday’s best bets! Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated this game 10,000 times and is leaning Under on the point total. As for the spread, it has identified tremendous value on a specific side, which you can find right here.

💰 More NBA picks


Hawks vs. Heat, 7:30 p.m. | TNT
The Pick: Jimmy Butler Over 27.5 points (-125) — Butler thrives in this type of environment. As a member of the Heat, Butler already has six playoff games where he’s scored 40 or more points. Now, he takes on a Hawks team that has struggled defensively all season long.

On the road this season, Atlanta registered the eighth-lowest defensive rating in the league and it’s hard to imagine that’ll change on Tuesday night in Miami. If you’re looking for a little more of a long play, Butler is +208 to record a double-double, something he’s done in each of his previous two matchups against the Hawks. 

Timberwolves at Lakers, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Austin Reaves Over 1.5 three-point field goals (+112) — Reaves closed out the regular season shooting 48.6% from deep over his last 10 games. In Los Angeles’ last four games, Reaves has averaged 5.3 attempts from beyond the arch and shot an even better mark of 52.4%. Tonight, he faces a Minnesota club that allowed opponents to drain 36.9% of their three-point attempts, which was the fifth-highest percentage in the NBA.   

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: If you’d rather bet on MLB tonight, the SportsLine prediction model feels quite good about this spread bet for White Sox vs. Twins.



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