Expect Damian Lillard and Bam Adebayo to fill up the stat sheet in today’s NBA best bets

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So Julio Jones caused quite a stir on Monday. There have been trade rumors surrounding the Falcons star receiver seemingly the entire offseason. Those rumors have only grown louder with every social media post of Jones hanging out with players from other teams. Jones made them all a lot louder on Monday.

During Monday’s edition of Fox Sports’ Undisputed, host Shannon Sharpe called Jones live on-air. Not only did Jones answer the call, but when Sharpe asked him where he wanted to be traded, or if he was going to be back with Atlanta, Jones responded with, “nah, I’m out of there, man.”

We do not know if Jones knew he was live on a television show when this happened, but I have to say the cynic in me can’t help but believe Jones knew he was and that this was staged to an extent. Still, regardless of whether it was poor form by Sharpe sabotaging Jones on live television (which I don’t think Sharpe would do), or staged, what matters is what was said and what it means.

Julio wants out of Atlanta, and it isn’t easy to imagine him playing again for the Falcons. So, if you’re a fan of a team that needs a future Hall of Fame receiver, hopefully, your team is on Jason La Canfora’s list of logical landing spots!

And now for tonight’s picks, which I will not just give away to Shannon Sharpe via phone call. You have to subscribe to this newsletter like everybody else, Shannon.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

? The Hot Ticket

Blazers at Nuggets, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Damian Lillard Over 36.5 points & assists (-120)
: Here’s a little peek behind the curtains regarding my process for finding picks to put in this newsletter. Most of the research I do involves numbers, and then I use those numbers and mix them with trends and human frailties to find what I believe are the best values.

But sometimes, my picks are more about philosophy, and that’s the case with this one. It’s Dame Time. For Saturday night’s series opener, I took Lillard over 28.5 points because it’s the playoffs, and Damian Lillard will put on a show. He finished with 34 points. I considered blindly doing it again because I had an idea to blindly bet the over on Dame’s points total until the Blazers are eliminated, but the numbers warned me off that a bit.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by Zack Cimini, Larry Hartstein and Mike McClure to dish out Monday’s best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

While he scored 34 points on Saturday, Lillard averaged only 23 points per game against Denver in three regular-season games. But he also averaged 9.3 assists per game against Denver, which was well above his season average of 7.5. In Game 1, he had 13 assists. So we’re playing it a little safer and going over the points and assists tonight.

Key Trend: In four games against Denver, Lillard is averaging a total of 36 points and assists per game.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: If you prefer a more traditional play on tonight’s game, SportsLine experts the SDQL Gurus have a play on the total for tonight. The Gurus are 16-10 in their last 26 NBA total plays.

?The Picks? NBA

Heat at Bucks, 7:30 p.m | TV: TNT
The Pick: Bam Adebayo Over 9.5 rebounds (+105) — 
A special shout out to SportsLine’s Zach Cimini for bringing this to my attention on the Early Edge podcast today. Bam Adebayo might have averaged 9.0 rebounds per game this season, but he had 12 of them in Game 1 of the series. In last year’s playoff series against Milwaukee, Adebayo averaged 12 rebounds over the five game series, and finished with fewer than nine only once.

Adebayo’s had a lot of success on the glass against Milwaukee in the playoffs, and with the juice where it’s at on this prop, there’s a lot of value in taking him to reach double-digits yet again.

Key Trend: Adebayo has had at least 10 rebounds in four of the last six playoff games against Milwaukee.


Cleveland at Tigers, 7:10 p.m | TV:MLB.TV
The Pick: Cleveland (+120) — 
So I mentioned earlier that the Lillard pick was philosophical, and while I have plenty of data to back this pick up, there’s plenty of philosophy at the forefront of this play as well. I’m sorry, but I’m fading the Tigers as favorites whenever you want to give me the chance, particularly against a much stronger team. The Tigers are 18-28 with a run differential of -58 so far, and only the Pirates have a worse run-differential in MLB.

Cleveland also struggles to score runs, but that’s led to a lot of value on them at times in 2021 because the team’s pitching is still dominant. Also, while tonight’s starter Sam Hentges has struggled through the first 15 innings of his career, he’s facing what might be the worst lefty-hitting offense of all time. Seriously, Detroit enters tonight hitting .216/.283/.298 against lefties, and it ranks dead last in MLB in HR Rate, isolated power, wOBA, strikeout rate and wRC+ against lefties. All by wide margins. There’s far too much value on Cleveland and far too much common sense as well.

Key Trend: Cleveland has won 49 of its last 61 games against Detroit. That’s right, 49 of the last 61. Over the course of a 162-game season that’s a record of 130-32.

? SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model sees a lot of value on one side of tonight’s MLB game between the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

? The DFS RundownTop Three Starters

  • Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
  • Blake Snell, Rays
  • David Peterson, Mets

Value StarterTop Three Hitters

  • Trey Mancini, Orioles
  • Matt Chapman, Athletics
  • Ramon Laureano, Athletics

Value Hitter Full lineup advice  ⚾ Stack Attack
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We’re betting on each of these Athletics to go deep tonight.

  • Mark Canha (+450)
  • Matt Chapman (+350)
  • Ramon Laureano (+500)

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