We’re now into our third day of the NBA playoffs, and the action is really beginning to heat up. With a couple of great games to choose from, let’s survey DraftKings Sportsbook for some player props, totals and sides to bet. You can follow me on Twitter (@KennyDucey) for any late adds.
Here’s what jumps out to me today.
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Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antekounmpo over 12.5 rebounds (-125)
The Miami Heat flexed their defensive muscles on Saturday, posting a 97.3 defensive rating against one of the league’s most high-powered offenses in the Bucks, and I see no reason why both of these defenses won’t show up again on Monday. The pace hit 100 in that one, but that rating is actually a bit low for the Bucks, who were one of the leaders in pace this season. Miami was able to grind the game to a relative halt and keep scoring low, and I trust this defense to do it again.
One area which wasn’t close — maybe the only area — was rebounding, where the Heat got destroyed on the glass. The boards have been an issue for the Heat all season long, so I’ve normally been looking to target big rebounders going against them anyway. Giannis’ total is relatively low considering he’s coming off an 18-rebound game and should play 40 minutes here.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets
Trail Blazers ML +102
This is a series which I could see going bizzaro. The Trail Blazers have been unbelievable on the road this year, going 24-13 against the spread, good for a 64.9% cover rate. Conversely, it’s been a struggle for the Blazers with just a 15-21 ATS record. In Denver, it’s been a struggle as well for the Nuggets, who have covered in just 43.2% of home games.
Simply put, I like the Blazers more in this series in general, with an improved defense being the biggest factor. The Nuggets have wilted late in the year without Jamal Murray, and are running out of steam. They’ve been able to lean on their rebounding and post play when all else fails, but Portland’s duo of Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter have been menacing on the glass, and together have the power to give Jokic fits.
In Game 2, I expect something similar to what we saw in Game 1, which was some great physicality on the glass. I picked the Blazers to win this series ahead of the playoffs, and am certainly not budging now. They will keep doing what they do best, which is winning on the road, and will probably drop one of two at home before closing it out in five on the road.
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All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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