Best Bets for Sunday's NBA Playoff Games
The NBA Playoffs began on Saturday, April 15th, so we're now into the best part of the year for basketball fans and bettors. With that in mind, keep reading for our NBA best bets for the four games you'll see on Sunday, April 16th. And make sure you stop back in for VSiN's coverage of the NBA Playoffs. You can find everything you'll possibly need in our NBA Playoffs Hub. We'll hopefully have at least one pick for you on every game the rest of the way, and that includes three best bets and a lean on Sunday.
MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have on April 16
Here are our favorite NBA bets for Sunday, April 16th (odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook):
Having already backed the Lakers to win this series, I’d rather not jump on an opening game that should see Memphis jump out to a 1-0 lead. However, if you’re not looking to bet Los Angeles in the series, then we’d probably suggest backing the Grizzlies and laying the points here. This series should ultimately be a lengthy battle, but it won’t be if the Lakers come out and steal Game 1. And Memphis knows that. This is also an early tip-off time for a west coast team, which significantly favors the Grizzlies. And Taylor Jenkins is one of the best coaches in the league, so giving him this much time to prepare almost seems unfair.
My favorite play on this game actually calls for Ja Morant to hit at least two triples. During the regular season, Morant attempted at least five 3s in each of the two games he played against Los Angeles. The Lakers blatantly go under screens and dare Morant to shoot, so there will be opportunities for the Grizzlies star to let it fly in this series. Morant has his struggles as a shooter but asking him to hit two shots from deep isn’t outrageous when he could be taking six or seven in a single game. Look for this to be a profitable play the rest of the series.
Bet: Morant Over 1.5 Made 3s (-130)
This series has the potential to be the quickest of the eight, with Miami being nowhere near Milwaukee’s level. However, this is an extremely large spread and that makes the spread a little harder to call. If anything, we’d suggest looking to the under in this one, but that’s more of a lean than an official play.
The Heat averaged only 103.5 points per game during the Play-In Tournament, so we know exactly how this Miami team looks in a postseason scenario. Head coach Erik Spoelstra knows that the Heat aren’t going to go out there and out-gun anybody in a potential shootout. So, he has drilled into his team that they need to defend like their lives depend on it, while also executing at a high level in half-court situations offensively. The latter is important when looking at an under, as chewing up the shot clock is a good way to slow the game down and prevent transition opportunities for your opponent — which is crucial against a team with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The under also happens to be 14-5 in the games Miami has played with a total between 210 and 219.5 this season. The average total points scored in those games was 210.1 points per game.
Bet: Pass (Slight lean: Under 219)
The Suns are my pick to win the NBA title this year, but I don’t think they’ll do it without some hiccups along the way. And it shouldn’t surprise anybody if this Los Angeles team gives Phoenix some issues throughout this series. Tyronn Lue is one of the best head coaches that the league has to offer. He’s an absolute mastermind when it comes to in-game adjustments, and the same goes for series preparation and in-series adjustments. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said about Monty Williams, who is more of a culture setter than a pure X’s and O’s genius.
With Los Angeles having had a full week to prepare for this game, it just shouldn’t surprise anybody if the Clippers come out locked in and ready to go. And this Los Angeles team does have a lineup that can present Phoenix with some trouble. The five-man unit of Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum and Ivica Zubac became the Clippers’ starting five late in the year, and it turned in some ridiculous output on the offensive end. If the Suns come out dragging their feet at all, Los Angeles will make the team pay.
Ultimately, the Suns are just a little too talented to lose this series to a Paul George-less Clippers team, but Los Angeles is good enough to put a scare into Phoenix — especially with Leonard having the ability to match Kevin Durant offensively.
Bet: Clippers +7.5 (-110)
The Timberwolves played at the 11th-fastest pace in the league after the All-Star break, but Nuggets were just 25th in the league in that time. This Denver team is elite on the offensive end, but the team plays through Nikola Jokic and that takes some time. This Denver team might carve up opposing defenses, but it’s never in a hurry. And that’s something you want when looking to bet the total.
In the 82 games this Denver team played this season, the Nuggets went under the total in 45 of them. The under is also 11-2 in the last 13 games that Denver has played. That’s pretty hard to ignore in a game like this, as the visitor has also gone under in eight of its last 10.
With these two teams having played mostly low-scoring games in the weeks leading up to this one, it just seems like the right idea to go ahead and back the under here. Denver’s defense should also be a bit tougher to score on in this game than others, as the Nuggets will be well rested and coming off a week of practice to patch things up on that end of the floor.
Bet: Under 224.5 (-110)
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