There don’t seem to be too many slam dunk plays on tonight’s 10-game NBA slate, but that’s not stopping us from dipping our toes into the action.

Tonight, we’re taking a risk on a volatile scorer while also making two relatively safe plays on established stars. On a normal night, we might be apt to take a few more risks, but that’s just how the slate unfolds this evening.

You’ve done it. You’ve made it to the weekend. Let’s kick it off right.

Tim Hardaway Jr.
17.5 PTS @ Portland — OVER (110 PTS)

Portland is favored in this game, so Dallas will need to keep firing to stay on pace. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a frustratingly streaky scorer who averages 16.3 points per game but takes a roundabout way of getting there.

Just look at his scoring numbers in seven March games — 5, 19, 9, 24, 8, 21 and 15, respectively. So why are we buying into him tonight? First off, 18 points is attainable against a Portland defense that is second-to-last in the league in defensive efficiency. Secondly, he should be starting Friday night over Dorian Finney-Smith, who will miss the game for personal reasons.

Finally, he dropped 12 on Portland earlier this year but shot 4-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-7 from deep. He’ll have more inefficient days than efficient ones, but he’s better than a 33 percent shooter.

This is a risk worth taking. Play the Over.

Domantas Sabonis
13.5 REBS + ASTS @ Miami — OVER (85 PTS)

We don’t normally play the props that reward fewer than 100 points. There are generally some exceptions, but even playing this one feels funny. You’re only getting 85 points when Domantas Sabonis hits this Over, and I’m using when and not if for a reason. There’s virtually no chance he doesn’t get at least 13.5 REBS + ASTS.

It’s certainly possible, but Sabonis has been a force in the box score all season, contributing in several categories with consistency. He’s averaging 11.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, and he’s had individual games of more than 14 rebounds and close to 14 assists.

I’m always playing the upside, and there might not be a better one on this slate — even if the point total might turn you away. While others are taking risks, take the seemingly free 85 points to go after another riskier play.

Jimmy Butler
29.5 PTS + REBS vs. Indiana — OVER (100 PTS)

Jimmy Butler has surpassed 29.5 PTS + REBS in every game this month and each of the last eight games. There’s not much thought that goes into this when a player is that consistent. Against good defenses like Utah and bad defenses like New Orleans, Butler has been virtually the same player.

That’s why I’m locking him in against Indiana, a mid-tier defense that will likely throw Caris LeVert or Justin Holiday on the Miami star. He can dominate both of those matchups.

Butler’s averaging 27.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in six March games. This is a no-brainer. Lock in the Over.

For more sports opinions and other rants about things you probably don’t care about, follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter.

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