The one sure bet for a Jazz-Clippers game full of questions, plus other top picks for Friday

How do you think Kemba Walker feels right now? As Shanna told you in this morning’s newsletter, the Boston Celtics have traded Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City for Al Horford and Moses Brown. There are draft picks involved too, and you can read Jasmyn Wimbish’s grades for the trade here.

I’m not concerned with the schematics of the deal; I’m just wondering how Kemba feels.

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Imagine it. Two years ago, Danny Ainge decided to give you a bunch of money in a sign-and-trade. You then spend the next two seasons playing for Brad Stevens. Then, after the guy who brought you to town steps down, he’s replaced by the person who has coached you the last two seasons, and the first thing your former coach does now that he has decision power … is trade you.

That has to be a punch to the stomach! I mean, I have been a Kemba stan ever since he led UConn to a national title with a tournament performance for the ages, so even if Kemba isn’t insulted, I am insulted for him!

I’ll also be insulted if you don’t read these stories.

And now I’ll try not to insult your bank accounts with these picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Jazz at Clippers, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPNThe Pick: Under 220 (-110): The Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard tonight, and both Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are listed as questionable for the Jazz. I’m fully expecting Mitchell to play, as he has the entire series, but it remains to be seen whether or not Conley will. If he does, it’ll be his first appearance of the season.

Whatever happens, neither of these teams is operating at total capacity. Yes, Donovan Mitchell has been playing, but he hasn’t been playing at his best the last few games, and it’s clear the ankle is bothering him. Over the last three games — all Utah losses — Mitchell is averaging 29.3 points per game, but he’s shot only 37.7% from the field. A struggling Mitchell caps what the Jazz offense can do.

On the other side, Paul George had a cathartic Game 5, pouring in 37 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to quiet a lot of the skeptics … but can he do that again? I’m not that confident! But even if George plays well, the Clippers will miss Kawhi, limiting their overall offensive potential.

Finally, the later we get in a playoff series, the higher the defensive intensity gets. That leads to more unders. With two limited offenses and so much on the line, I see value on the under. 

Key Trend: The under is 8-3-1 in the Clippers’ last 12 home games.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Nobody at SportsLine has a strong lean on this game, but if you want some action on tonight’s game between the Sixers and Hawks, both the Advanced Computer Model and SDQL Gurus have a strong lean on the total.

💰 The Picks🏀 NBA

Sixers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPNThe Pick: Danilo Gallinari Over 1.5 3pt FG (-120) — While I’ve been printing money with Joel Embiid props in this series, he has performed much better at home than on the road. Plus, he might be mentally broken at this point? I’m staying away from him and the Sixers tonight.

Instead, I’m focusing on another player who has been much better at home this season.

Danilo Gallinari has shot 44.4% from three at home, making 2.2 per game. On the road, he shoots 37.2% and makes 1.9 per game. In this series, he’s been a bit streaky, which isn’t that unusual for a bench player. While he’s averaging two made threes per game, he’s only made at least two in two of the first five games. Still, given the longer track record and his overall performance at home, I’m confident in Gallo’s ability to go over as the Hawks look to close this series out.

Key Trend: Gallinari has made 2.2 threes per game at home this season.


White Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TVThe Pick: Astros (+101) — I’m going against my beloved White Sox again tonight. I’d probably feel a lot worse about it if we hadn’t won last night, though. Anyway, I like the Astros again for a lot of the same reasons I liked them last night. Carlos Rodon has been overpowering for the White Sox this season, but tonight he faces a tough matchup.

The Astros are second in MLB in wOBA against lefties (behind only the White Sox), and they’re tied for first in wRC+ (again with the White Sox). What’s most interesting in this spot is that the Astros K% of 17.2% against lefties is the lowest in baseball by nearly 4% (the Angels are at 21.1%), and Rodon has a K% of 37.2%. Houston’s ability to make contact makes it a live dog here.

Key Trend: Houston has won 11 of the last 15 meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Matt Severance is surprised by the posted total in tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff game between Montreal and Las Vegas, and has a strong play on one side.

💸 The DFS RundownTop Three StartersCorbin Burnes, BrewersLuis Garcia, AstrosRobbie Ray, Blue JaysValue StarterTonight’s Top StackMarcus Semien, Blue JaysBo Bichette, Blue JaysVladimir Guerrero Jr, Blue JaysValue Hitter🏒 Stanley Cup Parlayoffs
Getty Images

Let’s do that hockey! Tonight’s parlay pays out at +257.

Vegas (-160)Under 5 (+120)

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