NBA Playoffs: Daily best bets, odds and predictions for Wednesday, April 26th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

April 26, 2023 10:35 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.

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Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (-10.5, 220)

Game 5: Heat lead series 3-1

Some might see this line at -11 and think it is high for a team that is on the brink of elimination, but if we look back to Game 1 this line begins to make some sense.

Milwaukee closed as 9.5-point favorites in the first game of the series, one in which both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tyler Herro were available. Now that the Bucks are back at home, a line which is about 1.5 points higher than the first game line factors in the loss of Herro to injury. Milwaukee is only 1-3 ATS in this series, so while one could make the argument that the favored team is overvalued, Antetokounmpo’s injury and absences creates noise in those results, so it makes sense to have this line right in line with where the series began.

With that in mind, we have to determine how exactly to attack this game, and the obvious tact is to play against Miami’s insane and unsustainable shooting figures.

Through four games the Heat are 43-of-82 (52.4%) on contested 3-point attempts, and on overall 3-point shooting they are hitting 47.6% of their attempts. This is all despite generating the second lowest frequency of wide-open 3-point attempts in the postseason (13.0%). A regression to the mean is coming for Miami at some point, but there is no guarantee that it happens tonight.

Still, the expectation should be for water to find its level here. The game line is accurately priced, but the market has adjusted the game total. In the first game of the series the total closed at 221, but the next three games had an average total of 218.3 consensus and every game has gone over the number. Milwaukee is better defensively than it has shown, especially with Antetokounmpo back on the floor. If we expect a natural regression for Miami on the road then playing this under the number is the play.

Best Bet: UNDER 219.5

New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers (-5, 203)

Game 5: Knicks lead series 3-1

There are many who will be tempted to rush to back Cleveland here because of the situation. The Cavaliers are the higher seeded team, but they are facing elimination back on their home floor so many will likely look to back them either for the game or the first half. It’s a somewhat sound thought process, but the betting market has guarded against that angle. In a game in which Cleveland is laying five points they are 3.5-point favorites on the first half line, which sucks out all of the “value” that angle might have had.

That angle also ignores the advantages New York has had in this series, and will continue to have as it progresses. 

The Cavaliers have had no answer for the offensive rebounding that the Knicks thrive on. New York is grabbing 37.7% of its missed shots in this series, and its 26.5 putback points per 100 missed field goals is the second highest among playoff teams. Cleveland ranked 20th in defensive rebounding rate in the regular season, and every bit of that has shown in this series.

Donovan Mitchell is certainly capable of going nuclear and dragging the Cavaliers back to Madison Square Garden for another game, but that and homecourt advantage are what bettors are backing here if they jump on Cleveland. The Cavaliers were clearly overvalued by the betting market coming into the series, but here we are with an identical line to the one we saw in the series opener. At this point, there should be some adjustment, but the market has refused.

Lean: Knicks (+5.5)

Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies (-3, 221)

Game 5: Lakers lead series 3-1

Memphis took its best shot at Los Angeles on Monday night, but it still resulted in a loss and now the team faces elimination back on its home floor. The Grizzlies look like a team missing two of its major role players in the frontcourt, and the numbers dictate that.

Through four games in this series Memphis is shooting just 57.3% on shots within four feet of the basket, and their halfcourt offense is managing just 86.2 points per 100 plays. The Grizzlies were already an inconsistent shooting team which finished 22nd in the regular season (35.7%), and that has translated to this series where they are hitting only 30.7% of their 3-point attempts. They are back home tonight, but is a change of venue really going to fix the problems they have in this series?

The betting market is moving on Memphis as expected. Bettors will flock to the window to back a higher seeded team that is back at home looking to avoid elimination, but it has created quite the inflated number. Some shops are at 4.5 as of this morning which is a 8.5-point swing from where this line was back in Los Angeles. Is homecourt worth that much, or is the market overvaluing the situation? I tend to think it is the latter.

Best Bet: Lakers (+4.5)

Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings (-1, 238)

Game 5: Series tied 2-2

De’Aaron Fox plans to play despite the broken digit in his shooting hand, and the market has reset itself to Golden State as a 1.5-point favorite as of this morning. That is still an adjustment of three points from the opening line for this contest, so bettors will have to decide if a hurt finger is worth that change in the line.

The injury creates a ton of noise when it comes to handicapping this game pre-flop, so it would be best to wait until this game begins and act from there. If Fox looks unbothered by the finger cover on his shooting hand, then look for an in-game opportunity, be it props or sides, to back Sacramento, but if he looks limited, find ways to back Golden State. It’s a simplistic handicap, but it is the way to go here.

Lean: None

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