Jayson Tatum’s PAR total is set too high for Game 4, plus other best bets for Monday

I hope you enjoyed your weekend because you are about to be slapped in the face with a lot of attitudes and arguments. It is reported that, as expected for some time, Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP award. This was already a hotly contested debate between Jokic, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. It’s a debate that’s been split along the usual factions.

If you thought Jokic should win, you’re a statistics nerd. If you think Embiid should have won, you wanted to respect the mix of talent, achievement and value to his team. If you think Giannis should have won it’s because he had a great season and is the best player in the league.

Nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong, but everyone who thought it should’ve been Embiid or Giannis will now be doubly loud about Jokic being the winner… and yet he’s the only one of the three who didn’t take his team out of the Race wins first round of playoffs. I don’t know about you, but I hope both the Bucks and Sixers reach the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA holds a ceremony before Game 1 of the series to present the trophy to Jokic while Embiid and Giannis stand on the sidelines and watch.

All Eastern times and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The hot ticket

Celtics at Bucks, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT

  • key trend: Tatum has averaged 29 PAR this streak and hasn’t surpassed that total in six games against Milwaukee this season.
  • The Pick: Jayson Tatum under 40.5 points, assists & rebounds (-115)

The Miami Heat aren’t involved, but we’re still on this PAR money train. I was surprised that Jayson Tatum’s total PAR was set so high for a number of reasons. The first is that Tatum had a terrible Game 3 in which he finished with 10 points, three assists and a rebound. Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday silenced him the same way he’s silenced everyone he’s defended in those playoffs.

The second reason is that even though Game 3 was Tatum’s worst playoff performance, he hasn’t surpassed 40.5 PAR in any game of that series. He came closest in Game 2 when he had 29 points with three rebounds and eight assists. If we look at the three regular-season games that Tatum and the Celtics have played against the Bucks, he’s come through it once in three games, so we’re down to one in six right now.

If we focus solely on this postseason and include the first round against Brooklyn, Tatum finished over 40.5 in two of the four games, twice in six playoff games. That total is an unreasonable expectation from Tatum in an away playoff game against one of the league’s best defenders. That doesn’t mean he can’t face it or fly past it – he is. But we shouldn’t bet on him doing it. Well, not unless you’re reading this while wearing a Celtics jersey with a shamrock painted on the cheek.

This is what SportsLine says about the game: If you don’t like that PAR lifestyle and prefer something more traditional, the projection model has a good feel for tonight’s total.

The picks



Grizzlies at Warriors, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds:

Under 223

The Choice: Under 223 (-110) — Memphis announced after Game 3 that Ja Morant is likely out for tonight’s game, but guess what? I dont believe you. It’s not something Memphis did, but I’m paranoid about injuries in the NBA playoffs. Remember when Devin Booker wanted to miss a lot of time and then came back? How about when the Sixers ruled out Joel Embiid for Game 3 against Miami and he suddenly showed up fit to play?

The league fined both teams for “violating league injury reporting rules,” but the fines were nothing. Phoenix paid $25,000 and Philadelphia paid $50,000.

I may be crazy, but I think Memphis is doing something similar and is ready to eat the punishment. Maybe it’s trying to signal the officials and give Ja a friendlier whistle if they think he’s playing through an injury, or maybe they’re just playing mind games. Or maybe Morant misses the game tonight and I’m in denial because I don’t want him to get hurt. Anyway, I avoid spreading because it feels like a trap. Instead, I’m going under because I tended to be that way with both teams at full strength, and with Morant out, Memphis offense gets worse and defense gets better.

key trend: The Under is 9-4 in the last 13 matches.


Brewers at Reds, 6:40 p.m. | Television: MLB.TV

Latest Odds:

Cincinnati Reds +155

The Choice: Red (+140) — We haven’t dipped our toes in the waters of MLB underdogs often this season, but aside from underdogs, they’re my favorite MLB bets because the dogs are often undervalued. And you’ll hardly find an underdog more underrated than one going into the night with a 5-23 record. Seriously, Cincinnati is 5-23, but while the Reds are bad, no baseball team is ever as bad as 5-23. So tonight feels like a good time to support them for a number of reasons.

First off, Luis Castillo will make his debut for 2022 tonight. Castillo is the best pitcher Cincinnati has and this is an excellent time for him to show himself because he’s notoriously bad in cold weather. Now he’s skipped all that to a beautiful night with clear skies and temperatures close to 80 on the first pull. Second, the Reds are at home. While they’re only 3-8 at home, they’ve gone 2-15 on the go. Finally, while Milwaukee is the superior team, Brandon Woodruff will be starting for the Brew Crew, and he’s been pretty mediocre to start the year. He has a 5.18 ERA and has allowed seven runs over 9.2 innings in his last two starts.

Woodruff gets a lot of strikeouts and misses bats, but when hitters made contact, they smoked him. For all their losses, the Reds’ offense has fared much better over the past few weeks, and I think Cincinnati has a much better chance tonight than the price might suggest.

🔒 SportsLine Picks of the Day: The projection model’s favorite game of the night in every sport is covering Game 4 of the NHL Playoff Series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers.

Parley tonight

It’s an easy two-legged parlay tonight with two favorites that should be favored but aren’t favored enough. It pays +193.

  • Tigers (-125)
  • Padres (-160) Jayson Tatum’s PAR total is set too high for Game 4, plus other best bets for Monday

Justin Scacco

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