The Indiana Pacers saw their season end on May 20th when they lost to the Washington Wizards by 27 points in the NBA's play-in tournament. Now, 20 days later, the team has fired coach Nate Bjorkgren. Why did they wait so long to make the move? I don't know! I mean, I suppose there's something to be said for doing your due diligence before making a move, but as our Jasmyn Wimbish went over, this move doesn't come as much of a surprise.
Pacers team president Kevin Pritchard said during his end-of-the-season press conference last month that "things got to be improved," and if he knew that then, what took so long to make the decision? I mean, it's not like the Pacers players who missed a bunch of time during the regular season became any less injured.
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My theory is that the Pacers were waiting to see which coaches might become available before moving on from Bjorkgren. Given how quickly reports surfaced that former Portland coach Terry Stotts was a candidate for the job, that could be the case. Of course, it could also be that there was some kind of clause in Bjorkgren's deal that said the Pacers would owe him less money if fired after a specific date.
Who knows? But the Pacers job is open, and if you're interested, feel free to apply.
- A look at how Utah's Donovan Mitchell dismantled the Clippers.
- Brad Botkin says Philly's Ben Simmons needs to be better.
- Don't expect Aaron Rodgers to relent any time soon.
- The MLB Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been pushed back to September.
Now let's get to tonight's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Nuggets at Suns, 9:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Deandre Ayton Over 25.5 points & rebounds (-115) -- We're going back to the well. On Monday night, we took the over on Deandre Ayton's points and rebound total at 23.5 because it was too low, and while there's been an adjustment of the prop for tonight, it's still not enough!
In Monday night's game, Ayton finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, which is very much in line with how he has performed against the Nuggets all season long. Listen, Nikola Jokic wasn't named the NBA's MVP for his defense. Including Monday night's game, Ayton is now averaging 21.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in four games against the Nuggets this season. That's 33.3 combined per game, which is still well above the projected total here.
Furthermore, Ayton hasn't finished with fewer than 30 points and rebounds combined in any of the four games. We're riding this wave until we crash into the shore.
Key Trend: In four games against Denver, Ayton has averaged 33.3 points and rebounds per game.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Mike Barner has gone 40-30-1 in his last 71 NBA ATS picks and he's got a spread pick for tonight's game if you prefer avoiding player props.
💰 The Picks
Nuggets at Suns, 9:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Facundo Campazzo Under 9.5 points (-135) -- There may be only one NBA game tonight, but that doesn't mean we can't bet two different props. I like to target role players coming off good games or bad games -- depending on if they're at home or on the road in a playoff series. Campazzo is coming off a good game, despite the Nuggets' loss on Monday night. Campazzo finished with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting and was 3-for-6 from three in 36 minutes. Numbers that are all over his usual performance.
Since taking over as a starter, Campazzo has averaged 31.5 minutes per game and 9.6 points. He has taken an average of 7.2 shots per game while shooting 32.6% from three as his volume increased from 2.8 three-point attempts per game as a reserve to 4.7 per game as a starter. Role players tend to perform better at home during the playoffs, and after a solid game, I expect Campazzo to come back to his typical performance, which means there's value on the under.
Key Trend: Campazzo shot 32.6% from three this season as a starter.
Mets at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Mets (-130) -- Just in case you thought I'm only willing to go back to the well after a winner, I'm here to tell you that I'm taking the Mets again, even after they got their butts kicked by the Orioles last night. I like the Mets again tonight for almost all the same reasons I liked them yesterday, but with an added twist.
Matt Harvey is starting for the Orioles tonight, and long-time readers of this newsletter know that there's plenty of money to be made fading Matt Harvey. Some of you might worry that Matt Harvey could be on top of his game tonight as he faces the team where he made his name, but I'm not. Harvey has made one start against the Mets since leaving New York, and he allowed seven runs in 4.1 innings.
Key Trend: Matt Harvey has failed to last five innings in each of his last six starts, and has posted an ERA of 10.45 over that span.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Advanced Computer Model has an A-graded play on the money line for tonight's game between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, and it's not alone as SportsLine's John Bollman is on the same side.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Top Three Starters
- Gerrit Cole, Yankees
- Austin Gomber, Rockies
- Lance Lynn, White Sox
- Shane McClanahan, Rays
Tonight's Top Stack
- Daniel Vogelbach, Brewers
- Christian Yelich, Brewers
- Avisail Garcia, Brewers
- AJ Pollock, Dodgers
⛳ Palmetto Championship Top 20 Props
We're betting on each of the following golfers to finish in the top 20 this weekend.
- Harold Varner (+175)
- Pat Perez (+300)
- Brice Garnett (+450)
- Bronson Burgoon (+450)
- James Hahn (+450)
- Brian Stuard (+500)
- Tom Lewis (+500)
- Adam Schenk (+550)
- Danny Lee (+600)
- Chase Seiffert (+800)