NBA picks, best bets: Warriors pick up rare road win; Why the Bucks are in good position for a 3-1 comeback

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Now we’re in the thick of it NBA In the playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will provide daily picks for the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and then NBA The finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Featured Game | Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. New York Knicks

Home-court advantage is obviously enormous in the postseason, and the Cavaliers are just a few Game 1 rebounds away from evening the series 3-1. But nothing they’ve done in the past four games suggests this series is evenly matched. Cleveland is scoring a pitiful 85 points per 100 plays in the half-court, and while the Knicks have been a bit worse, they’ve at least made up for it by pulling down 38.1% of all available offensive rebounds. Cleveland isn’t giving itself a second chance. He had a successful ploy, a short pick-and-roll with Caris LeVert that targeted Jalen Brunson, and it won them Game 2.

Otherwise? This series has been all Knicks, and without the depth to properly adjust, the Cavaliers are out of luck. Even if the Knicks don’t close out the series on Wednesday, this game will be close. Cleveland isn’t good enough to blow out New York. The Pick: Knicks +5.5

Featured Game | Memphis Grizzlies Vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers like to play with their food before eating it. They thus lost Game 2 of the series with Ja Morant out. That’s how they lost to the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at the end of the regular season. They’re going to jog into this game thinking they have the series in the bag because that’s what they do when they feel so comfortable. Against a 35-6 home team, that won’t fly. The Lakers are deservedly favored in this series, just don’t expect them to make it easy on themselves. The Pick: Grizzlies -4

Featured Game | Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat

I’m going to take an unconventional approach here and avoid picking a game. Instead, I’m using this space to advocate a series bet on Milwaukee. The odds are, frankly, dire. With plus-110 odds, Vegas thinks Milwaukee has about a 47.7% chance of winning three straight playoff games. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo’s health and the general game-to-game volatility of modern basketball, such a gamble carries a lot of risk. And yet, I still feel relatively comfortable taking bucks. Here’s why:

  • This same Bucks core swept a similar but healthier version of this Heat team out of the 2021 playoffs. Four wins, no losses.
  • Buoyed by wins of nine and 16 games, Milwaukee actually went 41 of 82 games played this season on streaks that lasted at least three games. That’s a rate of 50%, better than the 47.7% odds Vegas gives them.
  • The Heat are scoring a playoff-best 120.9 points per 100 possessions in this series. In the regular season, they scored just 107.1 points per 100 possessions in minutes played without Tyler Herro. What looks more sustainable against the Bucks if they are healthy?
  • Two of their wins came without Antetokounmpo on the floor. Jimmy Butler came in second with 56 points. If you don’t believe Antetokounmpo will play in the next three games? Stay away. But odds are, Butler isn’t scoring 56 again because he literally never did before Monday.

If you have a low appetite for risk? Avoid this. Anything can happen in a playoff game, and the Bucks need to win three of them in a row. But ask yourself this: If any part of you thought the Bucks were going to sweep the Heat before the series…why would you back it now, in a situation in which a sweep is absolutely necessary? You’ll never get better odds when you look healthy to get out of the first round as a championship contender. The Pick: Bucks +110 (Range Pick)

Featured Game | Sacramento Kings Vs. Golden State Warriors

Yes, I know, the Warriors are gambling this season. But we can’t reliably pick the Kings until we see left-hander De’Aaron Fox shoot with a broken left index finger. Sacramento has become too dependent on him in this series to move their offense elsewhere. Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray have all struggled for part or all of this series. If Fox can’t be Fox, the Kings can’t beat the Warriors. It’s simple. The Pick: Warriors -1.5

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