We have another Saturday filled with NBA playoff matchups, giving us plenty to bet on while we relax on our couches to watch the games. Unlike the awkward scheduling during the week that has games going on simultaneously, the NBA is wisely staggering the games during the weekend.
The action gets kickstarted with the Milwaukee Bucks looking to complete the sweep by defeating the Miami Heat. Shortly after the Bucks and Heat square off, the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers will continue their high-scoring series, with the Nuggets holding a 2-1 lead. To conclude the night, the Philadelphia 76ers are hoping to extend their lead to 3-0 over the Washington Wizards, while the Utah Jazz — who are ecstatic to have Donovan Mitchell back in the lineup — face the Memphis Grizzlies in a series that is surprisingly tied at one game apiece.
With what we’ve thus far in each series, there are definitely a few bets that have garnered my attention on Saturday.
Odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Nuggets-Trail Blazers Over 227.5 (-113)
One of the best playoff matchups to watch this postseason has been the showdown between the Nuggets and the Trail Blazers, largely because neither team has played much defense. Denver has had no solution to slowing down Damian Lillard, and Portland can say the same for Nikola Jokic. Given both team’s questionable defensive game plans, each of the first three games of the series has eclipsed 232 total points.
Despite the constant scoring from both teams, the sportsbooks have the point total a bit too low for the upcoming game on Saturday. Besides reaching the total that is currently set at 227.5 in the first three games of the series, the total has gone over seven out of the last nine games where the Nuggets have played the Trail Blazers on the road. As long as neither coach is going to make adjustments on the defensive end, it should remain a high-scoring affair in Game 4.
76ers -6 (-114)
A few first-round series in the NBA playoffs look like they’ll be concluding rather quickly. Among those series, the 76ers appear to be a team that completely outmatches the Wizards — and understandably so. Philadelphia is the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for a reason, and Washington was a team that squeaked into the postseason following an improbable finish to the regular season. In the first two games of the series, the 76ers look like a team poised to make a deep playoff run.
Joel Embiid has shown why he’s an MVP candidate. Ben Simmons was aggressive on the offensive end in Game 2. Philadelphia as a team has hit 52.6 percent of their shots in the first two games. The efficiency of the 76ers has allowed them to take a 2-0 lead in the series, with both games ending in seven-point plus victories for Philadelphia. Even though the series heads to the nation’s capital, I don’t see the Wizards putting up much of a fight, especially with Russell Westbrook at less than one-hundred percent.
Damian Lillard Over 33.5 points (-105)
As I mentioned above, the Nuggets haven’t made much effort to contain Lillard in their first-round bout. Aside from a short stint with Aaron Gordon guarding him in Game 2, Lillard has had no trouble scoring in bunches for the Trail Blazers. After finding his groove to conclude the regular season, Lillard has carried his momentum into the playoffs, scoring 34+ points in each of the first three games versus Denver.
Seeing that Portland is now down 2-1 in the series, Lillard will do everything in his power to ensure that the Trail Blazers avoid falling to 3-1 in the series in front of his home crowd. Lillard’s point total is the highest of any player on Saturday’s slate of playoff games, but I’m still leaning toward the over. The fearless point guard has reached Stephen Curry levels for his point total, set at 33.5 for Game 4. He has hit this total in six out of his last 10 games, including his first three games against the Nuggets. If you are hesitant on taking the over on his points, I also like over 4.5 three-pointers for Lillard, a number he’s hit in seven out of his last 10 appearances, including his last four.
Jrue Holiday Over 7.5 assists (-121)
I came into the playoffs believing that the Heat would be involved in a hard-fought series versus the Bucks in round one. I was completely wrong with my assessment. Milwaukee has taken a commanding 3-0 lead over the reigning Eastern Conference champions, and it doesn’t look as if Miami has much life left in them. A major reason why this year’s series has been much different than last year’s meeting between these two squads — besides Giannis Antetokounmpo being healthy — is the presence of Jrue Holiday.
The acquisition of Holiday has paid dividends during the season for the Bucks, giving them another dominant wing defender. At the same time, in the first three games of the series, Holiday has operated as the main facilitator for Milwaukee’s offense, averaging 10 assists per game. During the regular season, Miami allowed the ninth-most assists per game to point guards, and they gave up the seventh-most assists per game to opposing teams. Also, with Donte DiVincenzo out for the rest of the postseason, I expect Holiday to see his usage slightly increase beginning on Saturday.
Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>
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