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NBA Best Bets Today Wednesday, April 19

Best Bets

Aaron Gordon over 0.5 made threes (-140) or 2+ threes (+380) vs. Timberwolves

This is about as difficult of a night as it gets when it comes to betting playoff basketball, given the significant injuries to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ja Morant, who are both game-time calls. Plus, Tyler Herro is out for Miami. I'm avoiding those situations entirely and going toward a lean from the Nuggets-Wolves game. Gordon went 2-for-4 from distance in Game 1, and all four were completely wide open, as Wolves players were clearly instructed not to close out on him. He's a relatively shaky three-point shooter (34.7% this season), but that's not so awful that it's a complete win for Minnesota to simply allow him to shoot with zero resistance. Whether you want to bet on him making one or two is a matter of how much risk/reward you're interested in, though it's worth noting he played just 23 minutes and the entire fourth quarter was garbage time in Game 1. If he'd been on the floor for 36+ minutes, maybe he would have gotten five or six tries.

Desmond Bane O2.5 made threes (-150) vs. Lakers

You're not getting extreme value here, but I'm operating under the assumption that Bane could essentially be the Grizzlies' top scoring option if Ja Morant is limited or ruled out altogether. Bane drilled 3-of-10 attempts in Game 1 and has hit at least three three-pointers in seven of his last 10 games.

Jrue Holiday O7.5 assists (-115) vs. Heat

On the surface, this is a major bargain after Holiday handed out 16 dimes in Game 1, but we have to take into account the (expected) return of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will absorb a significant share of playmaking duties. Even with that in mind, I still like this number for a player who averaged 7.4 assists per game in 32.6 minutes in the regular season – in the postseason, Holiday typically sees his workload rise closer to 39-40 minutes per game. Including Game 1, Holiday has racked up double-digit assists three times against Miami this season.

Austin Reaves over 15.5 points (-106) at Memphis

Why do the Books continue to disrespect Austin Reaves? He's averaged 18.2 points per game over his last 12 games, all of which were starts. More importantly, he's averaged a whopping 34.5 minutes per game over those twelve starts. Reaves will have opportunities, either via catch-and-shoot dimes from LeBron or scrappy put-backs. Reaves is shooting 54.8 percent from the field over this 12-game heater, so the Lakers would be wise to keep looking his way. I am concerned by the low O/U of 225.5. But Reaves scored 17 versus Memphis on March 7th and on February 28th. That's in addition to the 23 points he put up in Game 1 of this series. I hear ya, Reaves looks like he should be driving a FedEx truck. But he clearly is riding a wave of confidence. I'm gonna ride the wave.

Desmond Bane 4+ made threes (+190) versus Lakers

Bane attempted 10-plus threes just eight times during the regular season, but he reached that mark in Game 1 (3-for-10). He connected on at least three triples in all eight of the aforementioned regular-season matchups and made four or more five times during those games. I don't think the number of attempts in Game 1 was a fluke, as Anthony Davis' presence down low is going to force Memphis to hit shots from deep and Ja Morant's wrist injury could mean more opportunities for Bane as a primary option. However, I do think his poor shooting was an outlier. He shot 40.8 percent from deep during the regular season and was over 43.0 percent in each of his first two NBA seasons, so I expect Bane to bounce back in a big way during a must-win game.

Jimmy Butler OVER 0.5 made threes (+104) versus Milwaukee

Butler failed to sink his only three-point attempt in Game 1, but he still cruised to an impressive 35-point, 11-assist double-double. The Bucks are going to have to change things up defensively, regardless of Giannis Antetokounmpo's (back) availability, so that could mean more attempts from deep for Butler, who tends to expand his range during postseason play. When these two teams met in the playoffs in 2021, Butler went 4-for-15 from deep during the Bucks' four-game sweep.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope OVER 1.5 made threes (-113) versus Minnesota

Caldwell-Pope went 3-for-6 from deep in Game 1 and made at least two triples 40 times across 76 regular-season appearances. Minnesota is going to do whatever they can to contain Nikola Jokic's easy buckets, so I expect KCP, who shot a career-best 42.3 percent from deep this season, to get plenty of chances again in Game 2.

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