Each week, TheLines previews what’s on tap for the coming days in the world of sports. Basketball takes center stage this week, with big matchups in both the NBA and the college ranks.
NBA: Lakers vs Jazz – Wednesday
While the Utah Jazz were expected to be a competitive team this season, they’ve exceeded all expectations and lead in the West so far this season. Donovan Mitchell leads the team with 24.7 points per game while Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic contribute with more than 15 points per game each. Meanwhile, LeBron James continues to defy his own age and is putting together another MVP-candidate season behind 25.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 8.2 rebounds. Anthony Davis is still out with an ankle injury and will continue to be for another couple of weeks. Since his exit, the Lakers are 1-3.
NBA Finals odds: Bet now on pro basketball
No. 9 Iowa vs No. 3 Michigan – Thursday
Michigan is coming off a thrilling win over Ohio State in which the Wolverines were able to put up 92 points. They’re one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking 13th in field goal percentage and 22nd in 3-point percentage. That offense takes on the nation’s third-ranked scoring offense in Iowa (87 points per game). Luka Garza leads in the nation in scoring (24.7 points per game) while Michigan boasts a strong defense (64.9 points allowed per game, 48th). Iowa grabbed a huge victory over No. 22 Wisconsin last week, moving them to fourth in the Big Ten this season.
March Madness odds: Bet now on college basketball
Boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim – Saturday
Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2) is putting his super middleweight title on the line against Turkish boxer Avni Yildirim (21-2) at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. Alvarez is a huge favorite in the match (-5000) as Yildirim’s last bout came two years ago, where he lost to Anthony Dirrell. Although it’s not a marquee boxing event, it does take place in a premiere NFL venue and does put a major belt on the line.
EPL: Manchester City vs West Ham – Saturday
Two of the top teams in the English Premier League square off Saturday. Manchester City owns the all-time advantage between the two teams, 17-3, and is a favorite (-400) in the match. They’ve also won nine of their last 12 home games and have won their last 10 matches. The season is more than halfway over and Manchester City has a strong grasp on the EPL standings (59 points is 10 more than second, Manchester United and Leicester City).