The NBA playoffs are underway and Saturday brings us a four-game betting card, spaced out throughout the afternoon and evening. Here’s what stands out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook on Saturday.
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
Heat -5 (-120)
Through two games, the Pacers haven’t shown the ability to really compete with the Heat. With Domantas Sabonis injured, Indy lacks the firepower to score on a strong Miami defense. The Heat covered the spread in each of the first couple games of the series, winning by nine and 12 points.
Not only should nothing change in this game but there is reason to think the Heat could win by a wider margin. Due to foul trouble, Bam Adebayo played limited minutes in the first half of the last game. If he avoids early foul woes, I expect him to play close to 40 minutes today. His defense and versatility present problems for Indy when he’s on the floor. On Thursday, Bam had a team-best 19 +/-.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
OKC +2.5 (-109)
I guess you can call me a mark for Chris Paul and the Thunder. Frankly, I am stunned at how the first couple of games of this series have gone without Russell Westbrook active for the Rockets. Houston easily handled the Thunder in Games 1 and 2 but I expect a different result today.
The past two games aside, OKC is a team that has been overlooked by the book since the start of the season. The Thunder had a low win total and nobody seemed to expect them to make the playoffs. It’s easy to forget that these teams actually had the exact same record in the regular season. Of every team in the league, the Thunder have the best record against the spread, so I am going to keep riding them as underdogs with the Rockets missing their second-best player.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
LAL -7.5 (-110)
On paper, this should not be a competitive series. As fun as the Blazers were in the final seeding games in the bubble, we have to remember that Portland narrowly won games against teams that were either injured or resting. While the Trail Blazers took Game 1 from the Lakers, that win was more a result of the Lakers playing poorly than the Blazers playing well. Los Angeles generated far more open looks but failed to convert. In Game 2, things normalized. The Lakers made more of their open shots and rolled to a 23-point win. I expect Game 3 to look more like Game 2 than Game 1.
The other thing we need to consider here is the injury situation. Even though Lillard is playing today, he dislocated a finger in Thursday’s loss to the Lakers. If Dame isn’t 100%, the Blazers stand almost no chance of competing against a stronger Lakers team. As is, Dame is struggling from the field in this series and is only knocking down 42.9% of his shots from the field.
Hassan Whiteside Rebounds
UNDER 8.5 (-110)
Portland is showing a willingness to play Whiteside alongside Jusuf Nurkic in the frontcourt. This is great for Whiteside’s fantasy value and it has also inflated his props a bit. Here is the issue I have with all of his numbers: I think the Lakers win today via blowout. If this is the case, Whiteside is likely to sit in the fourth quarter, as Portland will probably need to get perimeter shooting on the court to try to catch up to the Lakers in the third quarter. For DFS, Whiteside is a fine play for upside at a cheap price but I think his rebound prop is set a bit too high.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.