NBA Playoff Best Bets: Friday, April 21

We’re (barely) in the positive for the playoffs!

And while I will absolutely let this get to my head, we roll on to Week 2 of the postseason with a better understanding of the series.

The theme of the day is ‘regression’ and it shall lead us to victory over the sportsbooks.

Layups: 2-Unit Plays
Two-Pointers: 1-Unit Plays
Three-Pointers: 0.75-Unit Plays
Half-Court Shot: 0.5-Unit Plays

Playoffs: 2-2 (+0.1 units)


Timberwolves 1H ML vs. Nuggets (-107): This bet comes from my friend, podcast co-host, and all-around fancy gentleman, Nate Jacobson. I liked it so much I had to put it in. Minnesota is already down 2-0 in the series and now goes home in desperate need of a spark. A fast start should be expected almost based on desperation alone.

The numbers also don’t look great for the Nuggets here. On the road since the All-Star break, Denver’s net rating is an underwhelming -5 in the first half. They also hold the fifth-worst first-half defensive rating in the league over that stretch on the road. Regression comes into play in this spot because while Denver’s been dominating the first half of this series, keeping it up on the road seems less than likely.

I can’t say for sure if the T-Wolves will win this one but betting on them in a desperation spot back at home seems like a smart move with such short odds.

Hawks 1Q +1.5 vs. Celtics (-115): Similar to the Timberwolves, you’d think we’ll see a little bit of fight from this Hawks team back at home. Not only that, but the first quarter has been GOLD for the Hawks, as they are first in 1Q scoring since the All-Star break (33.4 points) and second in net rating.

In Game 2, Atlanta was up 11 points on the Celtics and then inexplicably went scoreless for four and a half minutes to lose the first quarter by three. In a spot like this, positive regression should be expected at home for the Hawks. Boston also fairs a lot worse in the opening quarter on the road, dropping from a +18.6 net rating in Boston to just a +2.2 on the road in the opening frame.

Darius Garland Under 22.5 Points (-120): This isn’t going to be some dominant “Shrek” to “Shrek 2”-like run. The sequel to Darius Garland’s massive Game 2 — in which he had 32 points and six threes — isn’t going to be better nor will it have Julie Andrews.

Over his last ten games, Garland has hit over this number only three times, with two of them coming against bottom-of-the-barrel defenses in the Wizards and Hawks. He now faces a Knicks team that goes from the 21st-ranked defense on the road to 14th at home.

Don’t forget about Donovan Mitchell. His connection to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden stems back from the offseason trade rumors. He’ll want to show up for this one, likely taking some scoring chances from Garland in the process. Without six threes to help him, Garland will coast under this 22.5 number.