Atlanta Hawks Cheerleader

Degens Only: Wednesday Plays, Mar. 24

And then there were 16. With the Sweet 16 set and college basketball on a hiatus until Saturday, let’s take this downtime to recap what has been one of the craziest tournaments we have seen in a long time. The first surprise was of course Ohio State falling to 15 seed Oral Roberts, and after destroying nearly everyone’s brackets before the tournament even got going, they finished the job off when they knocked off Florida. Next, I know we all had Abilene Christian over Texas in our brackets, so we all made it past that game. The major one that busted everyone’s brackets had to have been Ohio stunning Virginia. To wrap it all up, Illinois went down, followed by West Virginia, then Oklahoma State all on the same day. This year’s tournament has been like no other that I can remember, and if you’re trying to see if you just so happened to have a bracket left somewhere buried away, you can stop looking; this year every bracket entry was busted before the first round even ended. Now let’s get into something that’s not busted – Wednesday’s top plays.

Hanging with the Hawks: Hawks -3

Don’t look now but the Hawks are in first place in the Southeast division and have come off an eight-game win streak before losing to the Clippers their last game out. Now winning eight consecutive games in the NBA deserves all the credit in the world, but they really did it against the bottom half of the league, but they did win all but two of those games by double digits. One of the teams that they steamrolled were these same Sacramento Kings. The Kings have hands down the worst defense in the league and come into this one with a 118 defensive rating. The Hawks come in as a top 10 offense with a 113 offensive rating. With no Bagley for the Kings, I think the Hawks can really have their way in this one and the Kings will not be able to keep up on the offensive end and three is a small enough of a number for this game. Take the Hawks -3.

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20 Piece McNuggets: Nuggets -1

I don’t understand this line at all. It’s got some dirty Vegas back room bookie smell all over it, but I’m still all in. From what I’m looking at right now, there are no injuries reported for the Nuggets that would make this line make more sense. These teams are headed in complete opposite directions the Raptors have lost nine straight games, the face of their franchise is the subject of known trade discussions, and the coach and star player were seen having words after their last frustrating loss. This team is in no shape to play any team at the moment let alone a Nuggets team that has won 9 of their last 10 and has a potential MVP contender in Jokic. Look for Jokic to absolutely tear apart, as Toronto has no one that can match him. This one should not be close take the Nuggets -1.

Greek Freak Over and Out:  Bucks/Celtics over 229.5

This one has all the ingredients for an over. Let’s start with these two teams ranking in the top 10 in overs this season. The Celtics don’t have any significant injuries listed and the Bucks have Giannis as a game time decision. While he will most likely play even if he doesn’t, this Bucks team just knows how to score as they put up 140 on the Pacers who have a better defensive rating than the Celtics. The Bucks have won 12 of their last 13 and they have put up 120+ in eight of those 12 wins. The Bucks also allowed 113+ in six of those wins. This game should go back and forth till the finish, take the over 229.5.

Pistons, Pacers, and Points: Pacers team total over 109.5

The Pacers have been a .500 team lately, but their scoring has remained consistent. They have scored over this posted total in six of their last 10 games where several teams rate out better on the defensive side of the ball then the Pistons. Detroit is average on the defensive side of the ball, but they come into this game with a long list of injuries and will most likely not be up to the task of slowing down a Pacers offense that looks to get back on track after getting blown out by the Bucks. The Pacers should find success all night inside the paint. They rank fifth in the league for points in the paint per game and the Pistons rank 25th in points allowed in the paint per game. Take the Pacers team total over 109.5. 

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