We have betting picks and predictions for the NBA playoff games on Friday and Saturday.
Friday sees the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta in Game 2, with the Bucks looking to even the ledger at 1-1.
In the Western Conference, Los Angeles looks to even the series at 2-2 after clawing back to win an all-important Game 3 on Thursday.
We have dissected the markets to find the best value for punters.
NBA Betting Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks @ Fiserv Forum
We were confident of a Hawks victory and Game 1 and they came up trumps. The visitors scored a gutsy 116-113 victory in steal Game 1 on the road, which will be important later this series.
Atlanta now looks to take a 2-0 lead over the Bucks, but it won’t be easy. The Bucks rarely lose consecutive games at home and they’ll be in desperation mode. However, they will to exercise some demons that could be rearing their ugly heads.
The Bucks have played poorly in pressure situations in the past and there have been critics about their win over the Nets. Beating Brooklyn without Kyrie Irving and with an injured James Harden isn’t hard, so how does that form stack up?
It didn’t hold much weight in the opening of the series, so the Bucks need to call upon their best players to step up, including Khris Middleton.
The big contract player went missing, scoring just 15 points and going 0-9 from the three-point line. He was non-existent and they need him to play well, otherwise an 0-2 hole awaits.
As for the Hawks, they need to keep doing what they do best. Trae Young dropped 48 points, but punters should automatically think he’ll regress. He is capable of scoring more and he gets help from the likes of John Collins and Kevin Huerter, who continue to step up.
Clint Capela did a good job defending and scoring in the paint. He didn’t lock down Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he didn’t allow him to score 40+ points, which was possible.
Bookmakers have the line set at 7.5 points. That’s a generous line for Hawks’ punters, who will once again appreciate the insurance.
We think the Bucks will likely win the game, but it should be a close contest.
Bet: Atlanta Hawks +6.5
Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Clippers @ STAPLES Centre
Phoenix were in a good position to take a commanding 3-0 lead on Friday, but they let the Clippers go on a 21-3 run in the third quarter.
It was a must-win game for the Clippers and they came up clutch. Paul George top scored with 27 points, but it was more about the defensive effort.
They limited the high-scoring Suns to 92 points as Devin Booker and Chris Paul had off nights. The return of Chris Paul seemingly had a negative affect for the Suns, who played at a slower tempo with the experienced point guard on the court.
Booker couldn’t find a rhythm and was kept out of the game for large minutes with foul trouble. We expect Booker and Paul to be more effective in Game 4, as they couldn’t play much worse.
They also had little help from the likes of Jae Crowder (9 points) and Mikal Bridges (13) points. However, Cameron Payne’s injury is a concern and his absence was noticeable.
Despite winning Game 3, pressure is still on the Clippers. They can’t afford to head back to Phoenix down 1-3, so it’s another must-win game.
We think the Suns will come out with a better attitude on Sunday. Bookmakers have made them favourites to take the 3-1 lead and we can’t disagree.
Phoenix is the better team and the Clippers loss of Kawhi Leonard will eventually show, so expect a more competitive game from the visitors.
They are paying $1.82 to win, but that head-to-head price could shorten over the weekend, so lock in the value now.
Bet: Phoenix Suns to win
After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. Coupled with his love of US sport, Daryl’s picks have been featured on various websites around the world and viewed by millions of readers. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NBA, NFL, and college sports. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.