Tuley's Takes on NBA playoffs (opening round)

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

April 13, 2019 08:51 AM

LAS VEGAS – As we wrote in this week’s Point Spread Weekly, things certainly haven’t slowed down here in the Tuley’s Takes home office after the conclusion of March Madness.

The NHL playoffs are off to a wild start (and I hope readers have been following along with my suggestions with the FollowtheMoney6 1st Period Over teams (Blue Jackets-Lightning facing each other and 2-0 already through Friday night while Penguins and Sharks are both 1-1, but showing profits when parlayed to CLB-TB both nights they’ve been in action together), plus the Stars, the best 1P Under team, staying Under in Game 1 and also stealing Game 1, so my series pick on the Stars 160 looking good so far).

We’ve also been watching obscene hours of Masters coverage in what might the most crowded leaderboard (with more star power) that I’ve ever seen heading into the weekend.

And while we also have wall-to-wall baseball action every day, we now add the NBA playoffs to the mix with four Game 1s on Saturday and the other four Game 1s on Sunday.

The more the merrier, I say. More betting options is always preferred; however, I have to add that while I have several bets I’m making (or planning to make in later games), I am proceeding cautiously in the first round. For starters, I don’t advise betting many underdogs to win these opening series as we don’t see that as much in the NBA as the top seeds usually advance. With seven-game series, the cream usually rises to the top so I’m not tying up money in series bets; instead, I’ll give my “takes” on a game-by-game basis and look for situations where the underdogs might be live. Games are listed in order that they’ll be played this weekend; consensus lines as of late Friday night.

SATURDAY, APRIL 13

Nets at 76ers

Series price: 76ers -600/Nets plus-450

Game 1: 76ers -5.5 (Over/Under 232)

Philadelphia has a lot of great individual players thanks to “The Process,” but they don’t always play as a team. The Nets are sneaky good, and while I’m not sure they can win four games, I’m betting they can cover more than half their games as underdogs. I’m starting with Game 1, especially as Joel Embiid is not expected to play and the fact the Nets went 25-16 ATS (61 percent) on the road this season. Besides, these teams split the regular-season series 2-2 with the Nets 3-1 ATS, so they’re no reason they won’t be in every game. Best Bet: Nets in any game as dogs, with the exception if they fall down 0-3.

Magic at Raptors

Series price: Raptors -1300/Magic plus-800

Game 1: Raptors -8.5 (Over/Under 213)

This is very similar to the Nets-76ers series as the Raptors are clearly the better team, yet the two teams split the season series 2-2 with the Magic going 3-1 ATS. The Raptors also have to overcome a long history of playoff disappointment, though Kawhi Leonard was brought in and seems to have helped turnaround the culture and we’ll see if that continues into the playoffs. The Magic actually play defense and its best hope is to “muck it up” a little and keep these games close. I also like getting this many points with the Over/Under set relatively low as it puts points at more of a premium (again, I’m much more interested in the Magic covering and much less in outright upsets). Best Bet: Magic plus-8.5 in Game 1 and any game as dogs, with exception of Game 2 if the Magic wins Game 1 outright or if it falls behind 3-0 in the series).

Clippers at Warriors

Series price: Warriors -20000/Clippers plus-7000

Game 1: Warriors -12.5 (Over/Under 232)

I don’t bet a lot of NBA regular-season games, but by far I had the most success this season by fading the Warriors. They were 35-46-1 ATS (43.2 percent), second-worst in the Association as their spreads were inflated on nearly a nightly basis. I know, I know, they don’t care about the regular season and are usually better bets when the games really count. Still, I’ll pick my spots to fade them, starting with this series. Best Bet: Clippers plus-12.5 in Game 1 and anytime as double-digit underdog.

Spurs at Nuggets

Series price: Nuggets -260/Spurs plus-220

Game 1: Nuggets -5.5 (Over/Under 211)

A lot of people are talking about fading the Nuggets in the playoffs, especially as they almost blew a chance at the No. 2 seed. And obviously if you’re going to trust a coach to get the most out of his players, it’s Greg Popovich. However, I’m not as confident with this San Antonio team, so I’ll sit out the first two games. Best Bet: Spurs as home underdog (or short fave of -3 or less).

SUNDAY, APRIL 14

Pacers at Celtics

Series price: Celtics -550/Pacers plus-400

Game 1: Celtics -7 (Over/Under 210)

Considering their playoff run last year without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, you would think the Celtics would be higher than a No. 4 seed. Now they’re without Marcus Smart and facing No. 5 seed Indiana, who they beat 3-1 SU in the regular season but it was 2-2 ATS. Like the Magic-Raptors matchup, Game 1 has a low total with a high spread, so I’ll take the underdog with the extra wiggle room. I’ll probably pass on the Pacers as home dogs as the price will likely be around Celtics -1 like it was in their last meeting. Best Bet: Pacers as road dogs.

Thunder at Trail Blazers

Series price: Thunder -155/Trail Blazers plus-135

Game 1: Trail Blazers -3 (Over/Under 225)

The Thunder is actually the series favorite despite being the No. 6 seed – and everyone saw this coming. Heck, even the Trail Blazers were trying to lose their last game to avoid the Thunder (who went 4-0 in the regular-season series) and couldn’t even do that right. With the whole world on the Thunder, it’s tempting to jump on the Blazers, but it’s hard to pull the trigger with Jusuf Nurkic out with a broken leg). I’ll pass on Game 1 in Portland (I don’t see much value on OKC plus-3) and look to play the Blazers as road dogs. Best Bet: Blazers in Game 3 and any game as dogs, except if down 3-0 in series.

Pistons at Bucks

Series price: Bucks -6000/Pistons plus-1700

Game 1: Bucks -12.5 (Over/Under 219.5)

The Bucks rolled through the regular season with the best record and are expected to run over the Pistons in the first round, but isn’t that what everyone said about the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, who trail the Blue Jackets 2-0? Well, I don’t really expect the Pistons to put up that much of a fight, but there could be some spots to take the points in this opening round. I’m just not sure it’s Game 1. Blake Griffin has been upgraded to probable, but since we’re still not certain how effective he’ll be, I’ll pass on Game 1 and watch to see what we can learn. The Bucks did sweep the regular-season series (3-0-1 ATS), so that’s also why I’m not jumping in right away. Best Bet: Pistons probably in Game 2 if Blake Griffin is able to play all of Game 1; likely on Pistons as big road dogs in Game 5 (if necessary) and 7 (though really don’t think that will be necessary).

Jazz at Rockets

Series price: Rockets -330/Jazz plus-275

Game 1: Rockets -6.5 (Over/Under 214)

Just like with the Pistons, injury concerns are the only thing keeping me from jumping on the Jazz. Point guard Ricky Rubio and center Rudy Gobert are expected to play in Game 1, but we’re waiting to see if Kyle Korver will be back plus Donovan Mitchell has been getting treated for upper back spasms. Unless I hear definitely that Mitchell is not going to play, I’m taking the Jazz in Game 1 and anytime as dogs in the series. I know James Harden can go off at any time, but I’ll take the better overall team. Best Bet: Jazz anytime as underdog.

 

 

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