NBA Playoffs: Daily best bets, odds and predictions for Saturday, April 22nd

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

April 22, 2023 10:12 AM


Welcome to your source of daily analysis of the NBA Playoffs! Here we will break down each game, discuss betting angles, give predictions and more. For more discussion make sure to check out our daily NBA betting podcast: Hardwood Handicappers.

Also make sure to use each one of our betting tools at the disposal of VSiN Pro subscribers!

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Philadelphia 76ers (-4, 208.5) at Brooklyn Nets

Game 4: 76ers lead series 3-0

Joel Embiid will not play tonight due to the knee sprain he suffered on Thursday night. His absence is a boon for Brooklyn’s defense which has been struggling in this series because of his gravity. 

The Nets have thrown the kitchen sink at Embiid, often doubling him when he gets the ball, and it has led to some fantastic looks for the 76ers. Those doubles have left Brooklyn to scramble defensively when the ball starts to move, and it has led to Philadelphia taking 56 wide-open 3-point attempts on which they have shot 53.6%. Without Embiid on the floor the Nets can now defend without compromising their defense by sending two defenders at one man.

Still, the Nets have been surprisingly ineffective as a defensive team with its current roster, finishing the season with a 115.8 defensive rating in non-garbage time. Embiid’s absence should lead to fewer wide-open 3-point attempts for the 76ers, but that does not necessarily mean this defense for the Nets should suddenly lock down.

Meanwhile, this could be trouble for Philadelphia’s defense. Weaker defenders like Tyrese Maxey and James Harden will have to defend without a rim protecting presence like Embiid behind them. It also means that Nic Claxton should have a much more impactful presence as both a finisher and rebounder.

This could all equate to the Nets grabbing their first win of the season, but instead of heading that direction let’s look at the total.

The series has been an agonizing slog with an average of 90.67 possessions per game. However, without Embiid on the floor and players like Maxey and Harden in control of Philadelphia’s offense we should see the pace pick up in this game. Brooklyn has already picked up the pace in its offense in this series, with a 31.7% transition frequency rate off live rebounds. 

If we get a quicker pace along with a weaker defensive effort from Philadelphia all of that should equate to a higher scoring affair tonight. Still, we only see a total of 208.5 which is the lowest of the series to this point. Embiid’s absence should alter this number, but we have not seen it.

Best Bet: OVER 208.5 

Phoenix Suns (-6, 228) at Los Angeles Clippers

Game 4: Suns lead series 2-1

Los Angeles put together a brilliant effort without Kawhi Leonard on Thursday, and while the result ended up as a cover for the Clippers it might not be the same tonight.

Norman Powell and Russell Westbrook had to combine for 72 points on 56.5% shooting from the floor in order for Los Angeles to grab the cover. There is obviously no guarantee that those two can replicate that performance tonight, and if that slips this could get ugly for the Clippers.

Los Angeles allowed 1.231 points per possession in the loss on Thursday, and without Leonard on the floor this defense is not going to get much better. Phoenix could certainly see a dropoff in its shooting efficiency, but banking on regression is not a wise strategy, especially when the Clippers really lack a defensive option for Kevin Durant.

The market has made its adjustment on the line and total, so there is no value in a preflop side or total right now. However, it might be worth looking into some of the alternate lines available to bettors. Los Angeles’ defense is not going to get better, and we can almost guarantee Powell and Westbrook will not perform the way they did last time out. It could lead to a more lopsided result.

Lean: Suns Alt Line (-9.5, +115) 

Milwaukee Bucks (-2, 218.5) at Miami Heat

Game 3: Series tied 1-1

Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable to play in this contest, and until his sneaker hits the wood there is little reason to risk a play at the current numbers. Yes, the Bucks have expressed optimism when it comes to Antetokounmpo’s status, but they expressed the same sentiment before he was downgraded prior to the last game.

One thing bettors can likely rely on is some form of regression to the mean when it comes to Miami’s shooting. Through two games the Heat are shooting 50.8% from 3-point range, and that is despite generating the fewest wide-open looks among playoff teams. Tyler Herro is also unavailable, which should mean a dip in shooting production is in the cards for Miami. The chance that the dip in offensive production is coming for the Heat is enhanced by Antetokounmpo’s return, should it happen. 

The market has pushed this total up to 220.5 as of this morning which is right in line with the totals of the first two games, but there is a case to be made for this game to go under the number. Even more so, there is a case for Miami to fall under its team total for the game.

Lean: Heat TT Under 107.5 (-115)

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers (-5.5, 220)

Game 3: Series tied 1-1

This is the same situation as the previous game. Ja Morant is questionable to play with his hand injury, and until his status is clear this number is going to be unplayable. The market is heading in the Grizzlies’ direction which indicates that the market believes Morant is going to play tonight.

One angle to look at it this contest could be Jaren Jackson Jr., who has been absolutely brilliant in this series. Through two games Jackson is averaging 38.5 minutes and only 3.0 personal fouls per game. His fantastic play has also led to an increase in scoring, and the market has started to inflate his point totals. As of this morning his points are at 22.5 with a -125 price on the under, and that is a playable number and price. Should Morant play that would mean fewer shot attempts for Jackson, and on the road there is a greater chance his foul issues come back into play, meaning fewer minutes.

Lean: Jaren Jackson Jr. Under 22.5 PTS (-125)

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Matt Youmans: Heat (+8.5) at Nuggets. View more picks.


The Lombardi Line: Both the Nuggets and Heat shot poorly in Game 1 of the NBA Finals - and the total is down five points in Game 2 (219.5 to 214.5). Consider betting the OVER if you expect any positive regression. View more tips.