The NBA playoffs continue on Sunday. Here’s a look at all four games.
Thanks to a double-digit second-half comeback that featured heroics from LeBron James, the Lakers advanced past the play-in tournament and into the playoffs as the West’s No. 7 seed. The Lakers now head on the road to face the Suns, who are back in the postseason for the first time since 2010. Despite being the No. 2 seed, the Suns are actually underdogs in the series. But for Game 1, they are favored by 2.5 with the total set at 213.5. Still, all the talk has been about the Lakers, and I like Chris Paul and the Suns to come out and try to send a message to open the series. The Suns are 16-7-2 ATS this season as a favorite of five points or fewer. The Lakers are just 13-15 ATS with both James and Anthony Davis in the lineup.
Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5) — Total: 228.5
Russell Westbrook delivered on his promise to help bring the Wizards to the playoffs, but now the Wizards have to head on the road to face the East’s No. 1 seed, the Sixers. Philly is a 7.5-point favorite for Game 1 with the total set at 228.5. Westbrook and Bradley Beal were able to have success in their most recent play-in game against Indiana. The Sixers, who went 29-7 straight up and 22-13-1 ATS at home during the regular season, will be a much more difficult challenge. Washington doesn’t have the caliber of big man that can slow down MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Embiid averaged 30 points per game in three matchups vs. the Wizards this season. The presence of Embiid, plus a significant rest advantage, gives me the confidence to ride with Philly and the points. I also like the under here.
Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks (-1.5) — Total: 215.5
The Knicks are back in the postseason for the first time since 2013 and will face the Hawks in a 4-5 matchup. The Knicks have been prolific for bettors this season and enter the postseason with an NBA-best 45-26-1 record against the spread. While most of that work has been done as an underdog, the Knicks have also performed quite well as a favorite — especially at home. The Knicks are 13-4 ATS as a home favorite as Julius Randle emerged as an All-NBA caliber player. Randle scored 28, 44 and 40 points in three games vs. Atlanta this season, all Knicks wins. I’ll go with the home team here as a small favorite.
Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz (-9), Total: 215.5
The Grizzlies upset the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game on Friday night and now have a quick turnaround to get to Utah to face the West’s No. 1 seed. Utah is a 9-point favorite at BetMGM with the total set at 215.5. The Grizzlies have been one of the best ATS teams in the league this season at 43-31. That includes a 22-13 ATS mark as an underdog. But the quick turnaround after two play-in games makes it tough to side with Memphis to cover against the well-rested Jazz. Instead, the total at just 215.5 is much more appealing. The over is 23-14 in Memphis’ away games this season. I think this will be a pretty high-scoring game, so I’ll take the over.
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