Something to watch out for as the playoffs progress: All four Eastern Conference series are over or have at least one team with three wins. These confrontations are likely to end shortly. Things are more complicated in the West. We’ve got three 2-2 draws, and the fourth set between Memphis and Utah could get there tonight. In other words, the East could be ready for the second round well before the West.
Finally, the calendar should bring the two conferences together. The playoffs end with their two champions face to face, after all. However, how they’re going to do this is worth watching from a play point of view. Western teams might be forced to play every other day, which limits the rest that injured players can get. Conversely, teams in the East end up taking more nights off. Will it affect momentum? Keep an eye on the upcoming schedule. There will be opportunities there. For now, let’s take a look at today’s best bets. It will be a busy day with this lightweight slate.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Featured Game | Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have lost a quarter of that entire series. It was the first quarter of the first game and the deficit was one point. Since? It was a total demolition, and Washington has no answer for Joel Embiid. As our own Colin Ward-Henninger noted, they had as much trouble overtaking him as they have leaving him in one blanket. Unless Washington plans to negotiate for another center this afternoon, nothing will change in this game. Philadelphia will complete the sweep on Monday. The choice: 76ers -8.5
Featured Game | Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz
Memphis kept that No.1 vs. No.8 game closer than Washington, at least, but that doesn’t bring him any closer. Utah is averaging 131 points per game with Donovan Mitchell back. To some extent, hot shooting is responsible, but the Jazz have led the NBA in 3-point attempts during the season and finished fifth in percentage. They might fall, but it won’t be too far. The Grizzlies just don’t have the staff to keep up with this kind of track competition. If we use the 131 point number as a bar, Memphis would need to score 126 just to push that gap. They’ve only done it 12 times in non-extended games this season. The Jazz just have offensive gear that the Grizzlies don’t. The choice: Jazz -5.5