We’ve made it to Game 3 of the first round, which is always a potential turning point for a series. The location shifts to the lower seed’s home court, which means they have the chance to take control of the series. Two of tonight’s three matchups feature teams tied at one game apiece — Suns vs. Lakers and Nuggets vs. Blazers — so the underdogs could give themselves a leg up by holding serve at home.
The third matchup features the Heat and the Bucks, and the Heat are just fighting for survival. They dropped each of the first two games of this series, and they were run out of the gym in Game 2. Can they fight back on their home turf?
Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers for this slate on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Milwaukee Bucks (-1.5) at Miami Heat
The Bucks head to Miami with a 2-0 series lead, but their two wins have come in different fashions. The first game was a hard-fought win, and they needed a buzzer-beater from Khris Middleton to pull it out in overtime. The second game was a 34-point victory where only two players saw more than 24 minutes.
So which game is more indicative of what we’ll see tonight? Unfortunately for the Heat, I think it’s the latter.
The Bucks were one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league this season. They ranked 12th in the league in terms of three-point frequency, and they finished fifth in three-point accuracy. With that in mind, the fact that they made just five three-pointers in the first game of this series is a major outlier. The Heat outscored the Bucks by 45 points from behind the arc, so the fact that they still lost that contest is majorly concerning.
I think the Bucks take care of business on the road in Game 3, and I’m willing to sprinkle a little action on the Bucks in a sweep, as well (+190).
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (-6.5)
This is a tantalizing number for Crowder. He’s not playing a ton of minutes for the Suns in this series — he’s averaged 29.0 minutes per game — but that should still give him the chance to grab at least five boards. He did just that in his last game, ripping down six rebounds in 28.6 minutes. Crowder averaged 4.7 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game during the regular season, so he’s currently underpriced in the prop market.
Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers (-4)
This series should go down to the wire. I think the Nuggets are the superior squad, but they are unfortunately dealing with a host of injuries. Jamal Murray is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while P.J. Dozier and Will Barton remain out of the lineup on Thursday. That said, there’s a chance that both players could return at some point later in the series.
The good news for the Nuggets is that they still have Nikola Jokic, and he’s playing as well as anyone in the league. He dominated in Game 2, finishing with 38 points over just 31.3 minutes. He was hyper-efficient, shooting 15-for-20 from the field, and he should continue to have his way with the Blazers’ big men.
Ultimately, I think Jokic is enough to push the Nuggets across the finish line. Winning Game 3 would be the easiest way to accomplish that, but the Nuggets overcame two 3-1 series deficits during last year’s postseason. That means this team should be comfortable playing with their backs against the wall, so a loss tonight wouldn’t necessarily crush their chances.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.