Luka Doncic’s neck injury hurts Mavs’ chances against Clippers, other best bets for Wednesday

The college basketball game you’ve watched the last few decades is going to look a lot different soon, and I don’t just mean because of NIL laws being passed. Earlier this offseason, North Carolina’s Roy Williams announced his retirement, and now Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be joining him.

News broke Wednesday afternoon that Coach K will retire after the 2021-22 season and that the leading candidate to replace him is assistant and former Duke star Jon Scheyer. It’s impossible to understate how vital Coach K has been to Duke and college basketball as a whole. He’s won 1,097 games at Duke and 1,170 games throughout a career that began at Army in 1975. Krzyzewski played his college ball at Army for Bobby Knight.

Krzyzewski has won five national titles with Duke, a program that wasn’t much of a program before he arrived. He has 12 ACC regular-season titles, 15 ACC tournament titles, was the conference’s Coach of the Year five times, and, oh yeah, he’s won five gold medals coaching the United States national team in the Olympics — including three as head coach.

His name is synonymous with college basketball. It’s difficult to imagine we’ll ever see another college coach with such a long, sustained run of success again.

All right, we’ve an NBA-heavy slate tonight with four playoff games, so let’s dive in.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Mavericks at Clippers, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Clippers -7.5 (-110)
: If I were to go off nothing but the numbers, I’d be here telling you to take the Mavs and the points, but there’s more to this than numbers. Try as he might, it’s clear Luka Doncic isn’t close to 100%, and there’s simply no way you can trust this Dallas team if he’s not operating at full capacity.

We saw Doncic try to gut his way through the neck injury he’s dealing with on Game 4, and it just wasn’t enough. The injury has clearly impacted his shooting, limiting Dallas’ offense, particularly when nobody else has seemed willing to step up and help the last couple of games.

Then there are the Clippers, who got a bit of a wake-up call by losing the first two games of this series and have since realized that the playoffs started. After losing the first two at home, I can’t help but believe the Clippers send a message tonight that lets the Mavs know it’s been fun, but this thing is over.

Key Trend: Dallas is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 playoff games as an underdog.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine has plenty of plays available for this game. Zack Cimini loves one side of the spread, while the Advanced Computer Model has an A-graded play on the total.

💰 The Picks


Wizards at 76ers, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Russell Westbrook Over 12.5 rebounds (+100) — 
The Joel Embiid injury changes the outlook of this series. You didn’t need me to tell you that, but the impact won’t just be felt in who wins this game or series. It impacts the numbers players will finish with.

It’s not a coincidence that Russell Westbrook finished the last game with 21 rebounds after Embiid left the game in the first quarter. Joel Embiid is one of the best defensive rebounders in the NBA, as his 12.8 defensive rebounds per 100 possessions rank eighth in the league amongst players who played in at least 50 games this season.

The absence of Embiid to clean up the boards is why Westbrook finished with six offensive rebounds among the 21 he had in Game 4. Now, I’m not expecting the same performance tonight, as there’s a difference between losing a star during a game and knowing you won’t have them ahead of time. Philly can put together a game plan for it, but no game plan can replace Embiid’s rebounding entirely, so there’s value to be had on Westbrook’s rebound total at this price.

Key Trend: Westbrook had 33 rebounds total in the last two games.

Grizzlies at Jazz, 9:30 p.m. | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Donovan Mitchell Over 2.5 3pt FG (-180) — 
The Jazz have not lost a game in this series when Donovan Mitchell has played, and this is despite the fact that Mitchell’s outside shooting hasn’t been great. On the season, Mitchell has averaged 3.4 threes made per game while shooting 38.6% from three. Well, after going 5-for-10 from three in Game Two, Mitchell was only 4-for-17 (23.5%) from beyond the arc in Memphis.

He’s too good of a shooter not to recover from that pace, and as the Jazz return home with a chance to end this series, I think we see Mitchell’s shooting return to form.

Key Trend: As a team, the Jazz have shot 40.8 threes per game in this series.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for a little baseball action? The Advanced Computer Model has an A-graded money line play for tonight’s game between the Yankees and Rays, and two of our expert handicappers agree with it.

💸 The DFS Rundown


Top Three Starters

  • Walker Buehler, Dodgers
  • Sean Manaea, Athletics
  • Shane McClanahan, Rays

Value Starter

Today’s Hitter Stack

  • Adolis Garcia, Rangers
  • Willie Calhoun, Rangers
  • Nate Lowe, Rangers

Value Hitter

⚾ Underdog Parlay


I thought we were going to hit it last night, but then the Mariners fell apart. Oh well, we’re back tonight with another two-team money line parlay. This one pays +320.

  • Mets (+105)
  • Rockies (+105)

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