The final night of the NBA regular season is upon us, and there are still some things to be decided. That will be our focus as we tackle this evening’s big 11-game slate. A number of contests simply don’t mean anything, but there are several which could have playoff seeding implications.
We’ll zero in on those games for individual game wagers, as well as for this evening’s three-game parlay ticket. Handicapping meaningless regular season games is akin to trying to make heads or tails of preseason action. Said another way, our money is best invested elsewhere. We’ll be doing just that with our trio of selected games.
First up is a meeting of Eastern Conference squads which still have some business to settle. The Orlando Magic are already in the playoffs, but they can move up or down depending on tonight’s results. They’ll be on the road to take on the Charlotte Hornets, a team which needs a win to stay alive. They’ll also need some help to make it in, and that brings us to game two of our ticket.
The Detroit Pistons are headed to Madison Square Garden to take on the lowly New York Knicks. For the Pistons, it’s really simple. If they win, they lock up a playoff spot. A loss plus a Hornets win means they’ll be at home watching the playoffs with the rest of us. While the Knicks have the league’s worst record, the club has won its last two games.
Our final game of the night takes us to Los Angeles for a meeting between the Clippers and the visiting Utah Jazz. The Jazz are locked into the #5 seed in the Western Conference, while the Clippers still have a shot at the #7 spot. Making that happen would be the difference between playing the Golden State Warriors in round one of the playoffs or not.
It should be an exciting final night of the NBA regular season, and we have three impactful matchups to key in on. Let’s take a look at all three of our games in full detail, starting with the battle in Charlotte.
All betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Hornets, 8:00 PM EST, ESPN
Magic vs. Hornets pick:
The Magic have been closing out the regular season on a high note. The team is riding a three-game winning streak as they get set for tonight’s game. Orlando was last in action on Sunday, picking up an 8-point road win over the Boston Celtics.
The Hornets are also playing really well as the season winds down. Charlotte has won its last four games in a row. The last two victories have come by double digits, including last night’s 124-97 road demolition over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Orlando has won four of its last five games and eight of the last 10 overall. The current three-game winning streak has been particularly impressive, as all three wins have come by double digits. The club has been below average on the road this year with a record of 16-24.
Charlotte has been strong at home this season with a mark of 25-15 to date. The club has ripped off four straight wins as the quest for a playoff spot continues. The team checks in at 7-3 for the last 10 games. Prior to the current streak, the club had dropped three in a row.
The Magic are currently in 7th place in the conference. Depending on how the night goes, they could be as high as #6 or as low as #8 when all is said and done. To make it to the dance, the Hornets need a win tonight while hoping that the Pistons fall flat versus the Knicks.
Kemba Walker leads the way on offense for the Hornets. He’s averaging 25.4 points and 5.9 assists per game. Nikola Vucevic serves as the biggest offensive threat for the Magic. He’s averaging 20.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest.
This will be the fourth meeting of the season for these two clubs. The Hornets picked up a 32-point road win in game one, and followed that up with a 125-100 home victory in the second game. The Magic won the third meeting at home by a score of 127-89.
Both clubs are playing really well and have a lot at stake, so the end result should be a competitive affair which goes down to the wire. The Hornets have been stout at home this season and need the win just to keep their hopes alive. We’re taking the hosts to pick up the win and cover in the first game on our ticket.
Detroit Pistons @ New York Knicks, 8:00 PM EST, FSDT
Pistons vs. Knicks pick:
The Pistons haven’t exactly been playing like a team in the middle of a playoff race. They took down the Memphis Grizzlies at home last night by a score of 100-93 to snap a four-game losing streak. If they can handle business against the Knicks tonight, Detroit is going to the playoffs.
Despite being in the midst of a season to forget, the Knicks have been coming to play of late. The team has victories in three of its last five games, and they’re riding a two-game winning streak heading into the finale. Last night, they picked up a 10-point road win over the Chicago Bulls.
Detroit has struggled mightily down the stretch run. The team has just three wins in its last five outings, a span which includes a three- and a four-game losing streak. The club has struggled on the road this season as well with a record of 14-26.
Let’s just say that the home floor hasn’t been kind to the Knicks this year. The team is a dreadful 9-31 at Madison Square Garden this season. They have managed to pick up victories in their last two home games, but that came on the heels of a five-game home losing streak.
Blake Griffin leads the way in scoring for the Pistons with an average of 24.5 points per game, while Andre Drummond contributes 17.3. Emmanuel Mudiay tops the Knicks with 14.8 points per game, but he’s out tonight. Kevin Knox is next up with 12.9 points per contest.
The Pistons face a win-and-in scenario this evening. A victory will put them in the playoffs. If they lose and the Hornets win, then the season will come to an abrupt end. The Knicks have been preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft lottery for some time now.
This will be the third meeting of the season for these two teams. The Pistons have won the first three, two at home and one away, with the last two victories coming by double digits.
The Pistons are big road favorites for a game in which they have a ton at stake. They should get the win, but they just haven’t looked anything like a playoff team over their last 10 outings. The Knicks have been showing some surprising signs of life, and we’ll look for them to keep it closer than expected.
Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 PM EST, ESPN
Jazz vs. Clippers pick:
The Jazz were in action at home last night versus the Denver Nuggets, walking off the floor with a 10-point win. It was a bounce back effort from Sunday’s 4-point road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The club has been playing really well of late while winning four of its last five games.
The Clippers have not been faring quite as well of late. The team brings a three-game losing streak to the table for tonight’s festivities. On Sunday, they were destroyed on the road by the Warriors to the tune of 131-104. That came on the heels of a pair of home losses last week.
The Jazz have been locked into the playoffs, but the team is doing anything but coasting as they have won eight of their last 10 games. The club has been slightly better than average on the road this season with a mark of 21-19 to date.
While the Clippers are also in the playoffs, the club has been struggling down the stretch run. Three losses in a row and defeats in four of the last six have come at a bad time, to say the least. Los Angeles has been good on the home floor this season with a record of 25-15.
Donovan Mitchell tops the Jazz in scoring with an average of 23.8 points per game. Rudy Gobert leads the team in rebounding with 12.9 boards per contest. For the Clippers, Lou Williams is tops in scoring with 20.0 points per game, while Montrezl Harrell leads in boards with 6.5 per game.
This game means much more for the Clippers. They still have a chance at the #7 seed in the conference, depending on how the San Antonio Spurs fare in their home game with the Dallas Mavericks. If they wind up in 8th place, they’ll have a date with the Warriors in the first-round of the playoffs.
This will be the third meeting of the season for these two teams. The Jazz have won both games – a 20-point road victory and a 6-point win at home.
The Jazz look every bit the part of a team that could make some noise in the playoffs, while the Clippers are looking like a squad which has been lucky to qualify. The hosts need the game more, but they just haven’t demonstrated that they can drop the hammer of late. We’ll go with the visitors to get the cover.