NBA Playoffs Best Bets: Wednesday, May 18

We’re down to the final four NBA teams, which means it’s going to get weird. That being said, I’m seeing the board clearly and I’m feeling good — although that just might be the Claritin talking — about the next couple of games.

Let’s do it!

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

Record: 79-67-3 (+8.65 units)


Celtics +4 (-110): Going by the first half of Game 1, the Celtics looked great! But then the third quarter happened and yadda, yadda, yadda, they looked like a middle school team. However, Boston is too good of a squad to have that type of collapse again. They showed that without Marcus Smart and Al Horford, they could still somewhat compete.

They might get back both players for Game 2, and it’s also important to mention that Boston is the fourth-best team in the NBA after a loss, winning about 68% of their games after taking an L. The C’s are in the conference finals for a reason, and they should have no problem showing up for Game 2.

Mavs-Warriors Over 214.5 (-110): It’s the Battle of the Paces in this series, and I’m expecting speed to win out — at least in Game 1. Luka Doncic and the Mavs famously love slowing the tempo and playing meticulously, but they face a Warriors team that’s fourth in the playoffs in pace and should be controlling Game 1. We saw Game 1 of the Heat-Celtics series soar over its total, and I’m expecting something similar here.


Luka Doncic Over 1.5 Steals (-105): This prop has been a goldmine. Luka’s had two steals in three of the four games he’s played against Golden State this season, and he’s averaging just about two a game in the playoffs. The Warriors are the sixth-worst team in the league in turnovers a game, and in the conference semifinals they turned the ball over more than any other team. Steph and Co. are good at many things, but taking care of the ball is not one of them. Luka should be able to capitalize on some sloppy play tonight.

Celtics-Heat 1H Under 101 (-115): I felt like Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” seeing the total for Game 2 go up from Game 1: “Excellent.” Give me that first-half under because the stakes are a bit higher, the tempo will slow and the shots will be harder to come by. A 52-48 type of half seems very likely after both teams put up shooting clinics in Game 1, albeit in separate halves. Will it be a sweat? You bet your bottom dollar it will, but let’s live a little!


Luka Doncic Over 4.5 Turnovers (+105): We’ve bet on Luka to get some steals, so it’s only fitting that we bet on Luka to turn it over. In four games against the Warriors this year, he’s turned the ball over at least five times in three of the matchups.  Plus, he’s averaging exactly four turnovers a game, which is mainly why we can get this at plus-money. The Warriors’ defense has been top-10 this season in forcing turnovers, and in the playoffs, they rank sixth at taking the ball away. Luka will certainly see plenty of double teams in Game 1, so I expect there’ll be ample chances to hit this over.

Jaylen Brown Over 6.5 Rebounds (+111): *Only bet if Al Horford doesn’t play* Brown has been a playoff rebounding machine. He’s coming off a Game 1 that saw him snatch 10 boards, and he’s been averaging close to seven rebounds a game in the playoffs. The absence of Horford only helped open up rebounding opportunities for him, too. If Al misses another game, hit this rebounding prop, and if he comes back, see if it goes down to 5.5 and hit it if there’s not a lot of juice.