We’re now into our fourth 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 both Kenny (@KennyDucey) and Matt (@MattLaMarca) on Twitter for any late adds.
Here’s what jumps out on Tuesday’s slate.
Kenny: Nets -9 (-110)
I’ll be the first to admit, I thought there’d be a feeling out period for the Nets in this series. Having played just eight games together all season long, my thinking was that the ‘Big Three’ would need a couple games together to get in rhythm against a legitimate defense, and that Brooklyn’s own defense would really struggle here.
Well, a couple games turned into a couple quarters. I’m not sure what more the Celtics could have given in Game 1, hustling and diving after loose balls everywhere. Even with that, and some tenacity on the glass, they were steamrolled. There’s nothing here that points to any kind of improvement for Boston. The Nets are just going to keep getting better and better as the postseason wears on.
The Celtics hit the Nets with their best punch in the first half of Game 1, but it ultimately didn’t matter. The Nets were down by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but they still ended up winning the game by 11 points. The fact that they were able to win by such a convincing margin despite scoring just 104 points should strike fear into the hearts of every other team with aspirations of winning a title.
The Nets’ offense should bounce-back in Game 2. The trio of Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant has played 226 minutes together this season, and they’ve averaged a ridiculous 119.5 points per 100 possessions in that situation.
Those three players obviously do a lot of damage for the Nets, but don’t dismiss the value that Joe Harris brings to the offense, as well. If you focus too heavily on the Nets’ star trio and leave Harris open, he can absolutely punish you from behind the three-point line. He shot just 2-for-6 from distance in Game 1, but I like his chances of making at least three in Game 2. He played more than 37 minutes in his first playoff game, and Harris has averaged 3.06 three-pointers per 36 minutes during the regular season.
Kenny: Lakers ML (-134)
Look, this isn’t a great price, but I really do think the Lakers win this game, Dating back to the 2017 NBA Finals, LeBron James has only seen his scoring output from Game 1 to Game 2 in a playoff series decrease twice. One instance was on the back of a 51-point outing in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, and the other was last year, when he played just 26 minutes in Game 2 of LA’s opening-round series against the Blazers. I expect a bigger game from him against the Suns, and for the Lakers to get right on the interior.
The Suns aren’t a great rebounding team, but they bullied L.A. inside on Sunday. Anthony Davis had just seven boards, and DeAndre Ayton had one of his best games in the last month and change in the rebounding department. Going from a soft Warriors frontcourt to one with this kind of size was always going to be an adjustment, and I expect the Lakers to come out with the physicality needed here to win Game 2.
Matt: Lakers -2 (-110)
This is a massive game for the Lakers. Falling into an 0-2 hole is basically a death sentence in the NBA playoffs. 318 teams have lost the first two games of a seven-game series during the postseason, and only 21 have come back to actually win. That means the team with a 2-0 series lead goes on to win the series 93.5% of the time. The Lakers are certainly talented enough to overcome those odds, but they would make things so much easier for themselves with a win on Tuesday.
They’re currently listed as small road favorites in Game 2, and I like their chances of getting the job done. They were 3-1-1 against the spread following a loss during the playoffs last year, and they are primed for some positive shooting regression on Tuesday. They were just 26.9% from three-point range in Game 1, and they also shot just 60.7% from the free throw line.
I might get in trouble for not actually picking a side in this game, but this prop is too good for me not to talk about. First of all, I don’t even care to bet this game with a seven-point spread; the Clippers should win comfortably but this is a lot of points to lay. Second of all, I mean, come on now with this line.
Finney-Smith shot almost 40% from three this season, taking five per game and cementing himself as a big factor on the offensive end. He’s also never taken fewer than four threes in a playoff game, and is coming off a four-for-five performance shooting the three in Game 1. I realize he’s probably going to see some regression, but for Finney-Smith to go under this prop would be pretty insane. He’ll likely see 36 or 37 minutes once again here, and should get up more than enough attempts from distance to cash this.
Maybe I’m being naïve, but the Clippers are just too talented to lose in the first round of the playoffs. They dropped Game 1, which makes this an excellent opportunity to buy-low. The Clippers still have one of the best star duos in the league in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the rest of their team is essentially at full-strength. They’ve posted a net rating of +18.1 points per 100 possessions with the four-man combo of Leonard, George, Serge Ibaka and Nic Batum on the floor this season, and replacing Batum with Marcus Morris results in a similar mark over a much smaller sample size.
In other words, this team is still crushing opponents with their best lineups.
Ibaka played just 12.8 minutes in Game 1 of this series, but he needs to be on the floor more moving forward. I would expect Tyronn Lue to make that adjustment, and as long as that happens, the Clippers should be able to come back and win this series.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) 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.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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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