By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
It has all come down to the final night of the NBA season. Eight of the games on tonight’s slate have some level of implications on the playoff picture in each conference. There’s nothing left to do but sit back and have a fun night watching these matchups.
Let’s take a look at which games have plenty of value in the betting trends tonight…
[8:10 p.m. EST] Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets (-4) – Total: 219.5
The Hornets need a win and Pistons’ loss in order to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And it’s a lot easier said than done, considering the Pistons will be facing the Knicks, who own the worst record in the NBA. None of the three games in this Charlotte-Orlando season series have been nail-biters, with the winning margin coming by an average of 31.7 points – the Hornets have the 2-1 edge over the Magic this season.
Considering the Hornets need this game in order to have a chance of making the playoffs, we should see them have another successful performance tonight. In fact, Charlotte has gone 9-2 against the spread in its last 11 games.
[8:10 p.m. EST] Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks (+9.5) – Total: 206.5
Alright, the table has been set for the Pistons tonight – win and they’re in. However, this team just exerted a ton of energy in a miraculous comeback win over the Grizzlies at home last night, and now have to bring that same level of intensity on the road. Granted, the Knicks have the NBA’s worst record and there’s no chance they’ll relinquish that fate at the end of the night. There’s a good chance, though, that they come out with a fiery effort in the final game of the season. In essence, this is a playoff-like game for the Knicks.
Detroit just isn’t playing its best basketball heading down the stretch and 9.5 points seems like a wishful number to hit on the road, especially for a team that hasn’t covered the spread in five consecutive games and could be without Blake Griffin. I do think the Pistons get the win tonight, but it certainly won’t be by double-digits on the back-end of a back-to-back.
[10:40 p.m. EST] Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers (-6.5) – Total: 225
The Clippers could avoid a first-round matchup with the almighty Warriors by winning tonight’s game against the Jazz, and the 6.5-point spread looks a lot easier to hit with Utah sitting all of its key players.
It’s an interesting scenario too because the Spurs and Thunder games matter a lot to the Clippers’ fate. San Antonio and OKC will tip off its respective games at 8:10 p.m. EST, two-and-a-half hours before Los Angeles takes the floor. According to ESPN… If the Spurs lose and Clippers win, LA grabs the No. 7 seed. If the Thunder lose, and Spurs and Clippers win, LA would get the No. 7 seed in that scenario as well. If all three teams win, or the Clippers lose, LA would get the No. 8. It’s all very simple, you see? Yikes!
With the Clippers essentially playing the Jazz D-squad, look for them to roll in this game.