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Today's NBA Slate features a fun quadruple-header to tip-off Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Four games means there are plenty of options to choose from for our best bets. I'll go with Blazers-Nuggets as today's marquee game. Denver is favored by 1-point and the total is set to 227.5.
For today’s best NBA bets, I looked for matchups I could exploit or good situational spots.
Let’s dive into a couple of these scenarios now.
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Miami is going to turn this game into a grind and make anyone other than Giannis beat them. To try to impose your will on the Bucks means you have to make them play at a slower tempo. Miami plays at the second slowest pace in the NBA, compared to Milwaukee, who play at the second fastest. Usually the games tighten up and slow down in the NBA Playoffs, so I'm banking on that here.
Miami also has been one of the best teams in the league at defense. They rank 3rd in field goals allowed, 5th in points allowed, 7th in 3-pointers allowed, and 8th in defensive rating. Milwaukee doesn't give up a lot of easy buckets either, allowing just 43.1 points in the paint. The Bucks' defensive rating improved through the year and they finished 10th in that category.
The last time these two teams played, the Bucks held the Heat to 108 points. Game 1 is usually where teams test out lineups, rotations and come out a little sluggish due to some rust, so I like the under here.
Everyone is on the Nets in this spot, but I'm going a little contrarian. I know Jaylen Brown is out, but Jayson Tatum has been holding his own and comes into this game firing on all cylinders. The young stud has scored 31.2 points per game (PPG) over his last nine outings and is coming off of a 50-point performance against the Washington Wizards in their play-in game.
The Nets are amazing on offense, but they do have holes on defense. Defensively, the Celtics are better than the Nets in several key metrics. Boston is 11th in points allowed and 14th in defensive rating compared to Brooklyn, who ranks 21st and 22nd in those areas. The Celtics also do a great job at rebounding the basketball and limiting assists, ranking 6th and 9th in those categories, respectively.
Boston also gets the nod here when it comes to the coaching matchup with the more experienced Brad Stevens going up against rookie coach Steve Nash. While the former-MVP has done a great job of steering the ship for Brooklyn, there’s something to be said about real playoff experience. We saw Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins struggle with his coaching decisions a little in the last few minutes of regulation last night. That isn't a knock on him as he's done a great job this year, but like everything else in life, experience helps.
With a spread this high, the backdoor is always open, especially with guys like Tatum and Kemba Walker. Boston will need to hit a lot of 3's and slow this game down to hang around. The Nets might also come out a little rusty or take the Celtics for granted, which will only help in this spot.
I have this game closer to a 6-point mark, so will roll with the C's here.
This is a matchup play for me. The Greek Freak averaged 5.9 assists per game over the season, but that number went up against Miami as he averaged 6.7 assists against them in the regular season. He also had two nine-assist games in last year’s playoffs series versus Miami.
The Heat will try to pack it in and make anyone but Giannis beat them, which should help us in this spot. Miami also ranked 23rd in assists allowed and Giannis went over this mark in three out of his last six games.
As long and some of Antetokounmpo's teammates can step up and knock down some shots, I like him to reach this number.
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Blazers at Nuggets, 10:30pm EST
For all of BetQL’s NBA Playoff top plays click here.
* These are the model's ratings at the time the article was published. Star ratings can change due to line changes, injuries, and other breaking information.