The first matchup of the second round begins on Sunday with the Raptors and Celtics starting their series in the early going. Meanwhile, two series in the West could wrap up in the Game 6s on today’s slate.
So, where’s the value today? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and has found angles in all three matchups:
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The Mavericks have carved up the Clippers’ pick-and-roll defense consistently in this series. The loss of Kristaps Porzingis hurts, for sure, but this is basically an evaluation of how the Clippers have designed their pick-and-roll defense and the frequency of 3-point shots from the Mavericks.
I think Game 5 was an outlier, and I expect with extra time for both Luka Doncic’s ankle to heal and for Rick Carlisle to design a gameplan, the Mavs will figure out a way to score. I don’t think the Mavericks can stop the Clippers, but I don’t believe the Clippers will be able to clamp down as they did in Game 5 either.
This is going to be an absolute dogfight. These teams have been preparing for this series all season, and both teams are prepared for every matchup, every coaching wrinkle, every punch and counterpunch.
The key in this series is the Celtics’ transition defense, which rates as the best in the entire NBA. The Raptors are the league’s top transition offense, averaging 27.8 points per game in transition during the regular season, per NBA Advanced Stats.
The Celtics won’t let the Raps get those easy buckets, and that could take eight to 10 points off the table. That puts more pressure on the Raptors’ half court offense, and I’m not convinced they can go blow for blow with the Celtics on that front. That’s just not where Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam are most effective, especially compared to Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum.
I like the Celtics better this series, so I’m going to be betting their moneyline at +EV until something changes my mind otherwise. Add in the fact that Lowry is playing through an ankle injury and … yeahhh, Celtics it is.
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Utah and Denver are playing at the slowest pace of all postseason matchups, averaging just over 93 possessions per 48 minutes. For reference, the slowest team this season was the Charlotte Hornets, which averaged 96 possessions per 48 minutes. The reason why these games have sailed over is due to the insane shooting splits each side has been putting up.
These two teams rank first and third in 3-point percentage during the postseason, and they also rank among the top-half of playoff teams in 3-point rate. The Jazz and the Nuggets are unloading from deep, and so far they’ve been drilling everything.
Now that Denver has stopped the bleeding, I think that we will see more of a buttoned-up game on Sunday. Denver has seen what it can do when it shows up on defense. I think we see that again in Game 6.
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