NBA Best Bets: 3 Picks for Thunder vs. Mavericks & Celtics vs. Cavaliers

NBA Best Bets: 3 Picks for Thunder vs. Mavericks & Celtics vs. Cavaliers article feature image

Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyrie Irving (Mavericks)

NBA Best Bets

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The Celtics look to close out their series against the Cavs on Wednesday while the Thunder and Mavericks play Game 5 locked 2-2 in their series.

Here's NBA best bets and odds, including three expert picks, player props and predictions on Wednesday, May 15.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics

Wednesday, May 15
7 p.m. ET
Jayson Tatum Over 7.5 1Q Points

By Joe Dellera

We ran this play in Game 4 and it simply hasn't adjusted enough. Since Kristaps Porzingis got injured, we've seen Jayson Tatum play the entire first quarter in each game during the playoffs.

Without Porzingis in the first quarter, his early usage is up for the taking. In the five games without Porzingis, Tatum has scored nine, nine, eight, 12 and 16 points, and there’s been a healthy mix of hot shooting with generating contact and free throws.

On the season, when Tatum has played the entire first quarter, he averages 10.6 points for an 84% hit rate. This jumps to 12.5 points and a 100% hit rate without Porzingis in 11 games.

There's a clear level of certainty in the Celtics' early rotation, and Tatum has turned it on over the past few games against the Cavaliers.

I’ll back Tatum to exceed 7.5 first-quarter points.

Pick: Jayson Tatum Over 7.5 1Q Points

Mavericks vs. Thunder

Wednesday, May 15
9:30 ET

Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 Assists

By Bryan Fonseca

I buy the trend of Playmaker Kyrie in this series, in particular.

Irving has cleared this in three straight games, and that follows a run of only going over 5.5 assists in two other of his other seven playoff appearances.

Starting Cason Wallace over Josh Giddey in the second half helps keep Irving in check, given that it provides the Thunder another body who could try to disrupt the all-world scorer.

Irving has scored just nine points in two of his last three games, so Dallas will need his offensive pop again. But as a playmaker, he's put up 27 assists to seven turnovers in his last three, a near four to one ratio.

Additionally, a seemingly hampered Luka Doncic needs Irving to create for others, and he has lately.

I like taking this over here.

Pick: Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 Assists

Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 Assists

By Joe Dellera

The Mavericks have leaned on Irving as a distributor throughout this series, and he's successfully sliced and diced the Thunder defense with his passing ability.

Over the last three games, Kyrie has recorded nine, seven and 11 assists on 13, 16 and 20 potential assists. He's been able to attack the Thunder whether they're at the level or in a drop.

Kyrie is the player getting into the teeth of the defense and was leading the series in assists after Game 1. Considering he's one assist behind Doncic and two ahead of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the series lead, a play on his series assists leader number (+700, DraftKings) is worth a look as well.

I like Irving to continue his success assisting his teammates, and he'll exceed 5.5 assists.

Pick: Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 Assists

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