Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Thursday, May 27th (2021)

The NBA playoffs will rage on Thursday night, with no fewer than three marquee matchups loading up the schedule. Three of the four most exciting first round matchups are on tap, giving casuals and hardcore fans and bettors more than enough angles and excitement to work with.

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1. Bucks -1.5 | -115 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Milwaukee won the first two games of this series, with key offseason addition Jrue Holiday playing a pivotal role in both victories. The Heat will look to bounce back at home but will need bubble stars Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to find their groove to avoid what would likely be an insurmountable 3-0 hole. Game 1 was an OT thriller, but Game 2 showed the gulf between these two teams in terms of overall talent. Team basketball and hard-nosed defense is the path the Heat need to follow to victory tonight. 

As witnessed in Game 2, the Heat do not have much of a chance if bench players like Bryan Forbes and Pat Connaughton can join the starters in making an offensive impact. We expect both of these tertiary players to come back to earth in Miami, but unless the Heat can coax impact production out of their own bench, we may be headed to a sweep. 

Casual observation and analysis suggests that the Heat will win at least one game in this series and that that game is most likely to be tonight. There is no looking past a team that made it to the NBA Finals just last season, but their on-court product has not been nearly as strong this postseason. 

It should be competitive tonight, but the Bucks made the right moves this offseason, even if one fell through. Miami, on the other hand, brought in a playoff-tested vet, but one without the offensive potency to elevate the Heat from a grit and grind defensive team to one that can bang when it becomes obvious that a game has turned into an offensive battle. Tap the Bucks for one unit with the negligible spread. 

2. Nikola Jokic Under 6.5 Assists | -127 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Joker has been unusually quiet in the first two games of this series, amassing just three assists per game, thanks in large part to a one assist outing in Game 1. He was not much better during the regular season, averaging just four assists per game against Portland, way down from his 8.3 average. As we can see from the juice, the sharp money is behind Jokic being able to hit at least seven assists tonight, but the trends and on-court product suggest otherwise.

The absence of Jamal Murray, the Nuggets most reliable option aside from Jokic, hurts the Joker’s assist totals in and of itself, both due to being down a player who can average 20 points per game and due to Jokic being relied on to end more possessions. Jokic can hit the seven assists needed for the over to hit if the Nuggets get hot from the floor, but the smart money is on him finishing with six or fewer assists as he will likely be leaned on even more in a tough road contest. 

3. Jrue Holiday Over 6.5 Assists | -127 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Jrue Holiday has been cooking recently and has hit 10 or more assists in three of his last four contests. This is the standout player prop of the day, and unfortunately, the sharps agree, pushing the juice to -127. The ball is in Holiday’s hands more than enough against teams like Miami for his above-average assist totals to continue (he averaged 6.1 assists per game during the regular season), so this prop is going to come down to the Bucks making their shots.

The Bucks shot poorly in Game 1 before catching fire in Game 2. Game 3 should be more of a middle ground, but even hovering close to the .450 mark as a team should allow Holiday to hit at least the seven assists required to click. Tap the over for one unit. 

Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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