The NBA is back in full swing and Monday brings us a four-game betting card to begin the postseason. Here’s what stands out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets: DEN -4.5 (-108)
Not only did Denver sweep the season series against Utah, but it was also 3-0 ATS. How unique were these covers? The Nuggets actually won all three games outright as underdogs. This time is a bit different, as the spread heavily moved in Denver’s favor. This opened at 2.5, and after moving to 3.5, we got news that Mike Conley left the bubble for the birth of his son. That moved the spread another point, but the news should really benefit the Nuggets.
These teams met in the bubble, and the Nuggets stole a 2OT game as one-point dogs. I expect Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic to be the better duo against Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Subtract Conley from the mix and factor in how well Michael Porter Jr. has been playing, and I think the Nuggets have their way here.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors: UNDER 222 (-108)
The Nets can find themselves in some shootouts, but I think the better team sets the tone in this game. Toronto was dominant defensively in the bubble, going 5-0-1 to the under in its first six games — with two overs in their final throwaway games.
These two teams went 2-2 to the total in four regular season matchups, but the potential for a very low scoring game is here. They stayed under 200 in the last matchup. The Raptors held three of their first four bubble opponents under 100 points when they were locked in, including just 92 to the Lakers (and the outlier was 103 to the Heat). Look for the Raptors to really limit the Nets, leaving some slower offensive production after they build their lead. I don’t mind Toronto to win this one by double-digits, either.
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Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics: BOS -5.5 (-110)
This one’s unique compared to the previous matchups this season. Philly won and covered the first three matchups, but Boston blew the Sixers out the last time around. Obviously, no Ben Simmons is a big deal, and a hobbled Joel Embiid doesn’t help. The 76ers went just 8-9 without Simmons this season.
Prior to sitting their starters in the final game in the bubble, the Celtics had found their stride. The C’s won four-straight, covering four times, and scraped past the Magic in OT in a game Boston dominated down the stretch. These are just two teams going in different directions. If a healthy Celtics squad brings its A-game, it should separate itself. The Celtics held Embiid to nine points the last time they matched up, and 15 earlier in the season, despite losing that game.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers: LAC/LAL Moneyline Parlay (-103)
I want to just play the Clippers -6 in the nightcap — they’re 3-0 SU and ATS against the Mavericks this season — but some of those games were closer than the final score reflected, including the 15-point win in the bubble. That said, this spot screams for a Clippers’ win. The Mavericks are ahead of schedule and should be happy to make this postseason appearance. Luka Doncic will make his playoff debut, but the Clippers’ combo of wings have defended him very well this season. The Clippers are coming out to make a statement and start a run at a championship. My only cause for concern are the rotation pieces questionable for this team — Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet. So for that, I’m playing it safe with the moneyline.
I’ll pair them with the Lakers on Tuesday, fading America’s Team: The Portland Trail Blazers. Portland’s run has been remarkable, but I don’t see that momentum carrying into this series. The Blazers have been going all-out the entire time in the bubble, and still struggling to beat teams that were playing in meaningless games. The Lakers have struggled in the bubble, but have never been in a high motivation game. This should be a get-right spot for the Lakers against a team due for a letdown.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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