NBA Best Bets, Picks: How We’re Betting Thunders vs. Pelicans & Celtics vs. Heat

NBA Best Bets, Picks: How We’re Betting Thunders vs. Pelicans & Celtics vs. Heat article feature image
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Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Murphy III (Pelicans)

NBA Best Bets, Picks

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The NBA Playoffs roll on Wednesday with two Game 2s featuring both No. 1 seeds — the Celtics and Thunder.

Dive in below for NBA best bets and odds, including seven expert picks and predictions for Wednesday's playoff games on April 24.


Heat vs. Celtics

Wednesday, April 24
7 p.m. ET
TNT

Nikola Jovic Over 7.5 Points

By Bryan Fonseca

Nikola Jovic went over in 10 of 14 games to end the regular season.

He also had 10 points in Game 1 of this series against the Celtics.

In games where he's played 20 or more minutes — 25 of them, including the Play-In and the playoffs — Jovic has gone over in 15 games. And he's gone over in eight of 13 games when logging 25 or more minutes, as he did in Game 1.

The Heat need Jovic's offensive creativity. He's one of the only Heat players who can create a shot, be a playmaker for others, push (and finish) in transition and hit an open 3. Jovic shot 40% from deep this season on 6.5 attempts per 36 minutes (65 for 163 in total).

The trick here is that Jovic needs to score early, as it'll heighten his chances of getting fourth quarter minutes. He doesn't always get that time on the court, though I do think he has better odds of doing so in this series, given the short-handed Heat roster.

Pick: Nikola Jovic Over 7.5 Points


Nikola Jovic Over 7.5 Points

By Chris Baker

I expect Jovic to continue to be featured heavily as the Heat continue to find ways to generate offense.

Tyler Herro was awful in Game 1, and he's not going to be able to carry all of the offensive load here (he's not that caliber of player).

The Heat should continue to turn to Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jovic on the wing for higher usage, and Jovic has shown he's offensively talented enough to answer the call.

Jovic cleared this number in Game 1, scoring 10 points in 26 minutes. That came in a game in which he didn’t even shoot the 3 ball too well, going just 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.

I expect him to continue to be featured in this offense as the Heat try to find a way to keep up with this Celtics team.

Take over 7.5 points and look to back his alt over 10.5 points at +280 at FanDuel.

I also like his odds to get a double-double at PointsBet at 16-1. He had six rebounds in Game 1 in 26 minutes. If he's scoring well, he could see a minutes bump, so these are correlated. And for 16-1 odds, I think it's a decent long shot.

Pick: Nikola Jovic Over 7.5 Points


Jayson Tatum Over 8.5 Rebounds

By Joe Dellera

Playoff Tatum is an entirely different animal, and even he's not immune to a bit of stat padding after securing a triple-double in Game 1.

This matchup against the Heat is one we've seen throughout the years and one where he excels, especially on the glass.

In eight playoff games against Miami over the last two seasons, Tatum has exceeded 8.5 rebounds in 6-of-8 while averaging 10.3 per outing.

In Game 1, Tatum grabbed 10 boards on 12 chances. However, those boards were extremely easy to come by, as he barely even needed to box anyone out. Miami doesn't crash the offensive glass and his teammates aren't hunting for the stats.

Tatum should continue his success in not only the playoffs, but against the Heat as well. I’ll back him to exceed 8.5 rebounds in Game 2.

Pick: Jayson Tatum Over 8.5 Rebounds

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Haywood Highsmith 1+ 3PT Made

By Michael Fiddle

Erik Spoelstra made a clear and concerted effort to mention the 3-point volume difference as a reason as to why the Heat got blown out in Game 1. They're going to take more 3s and try to force Boston to take less.

Haywood Highsmith is an ideal candidate to play into that. He has the shortest single-player Heat odds on DraftKings and is also an emerging and switchable defender who should help on both of ends of what Spoelstra is planning.

I expect multiple attempts, so Highsmith just need him to bury one of them.

Pick: Haywood Highsmith 1+ 3PT Made




Kristaps Porzingis Over 4.5 1Q Points

By Joe Dellera

Kristaps Porzingis smashes in the first quarter.

He averages nearly 10 first quarter minutes per game while scoring seven points. In Game 1, he played 8.8 minutes and scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting.

This 4.5 line is one he's exceeded in 71% of games this season. I expect this to bump to 5.5, and that’s still a number he’s cleared in 64% of games. Porzingis sets the tone early and often for the Celtics.

It’s also been a strong matchup for him against Miami, too. He's hit this mark in three straight games against Miami, with seven, 11 and 14 points in the 1Q in those three. He missed the number back in October, but that was also one of his first games as a member of the Celtics.

Porzingis is able to stretch the floor, which helps open up the passing and driving lanes for his teammates against this Miami zone.

I like Porzingis to exceed 4.5 1Q points in Game 2, and I would take some alts as well, such as 7+ (+170, bet365).

Pick: Kristaps Porzingis Over 4.5 1Q Points

Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis (Celtics)

Pelicans vs. Thunder

Wednesday, April 24
9:30 p.m. ET
TNT

Pelicans +8

By Michael Arinze

The NBA Playoffs are a completely different animal, and Oklahoma City has no choice but to adjust. After ranking sixth in pace with 103.6 possessions per game, the Thunder managed just 96 possessions in Game 1 against the Pelicans.

It was the fourth meeting between the two during this campaign, and despite the Thunder being the second-most profitable team for over-bettors (46-35-1) in our Action Labs database, the total is 3-1 to the under when these two face off.

New Orleans plays slower than Oklahoma City, ranking in the bottom half of the league with 101 possessions. Thus, the pace of the games tends to favor the Pelicans, giving them a legitimate chance when catching eight points as underdogs in the second game of the series.

Moreover, teams that can win the rebounding battle have a better chance of controlling the game. The Pelicans (12th) have a clear edge over the Thunder (27th) in this category.

Oklahoma City wants to get the ball and go to create easier scoring opportunities in transition. However, if we continue to have lower-scoring games — as we’ve seen in the playoffs — the Pelicans can hang around enough to keep things close.

Pick: Pelicans +8


Trey Murphy III Over 22.5 Points + Rebounds

By Joe Dellera

The Pelicans look to even up the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Without Zion Williamson, we've seen Trey Murphy III truly step his game up in an increased role.

In Game 1, Murphy played a whopping 44 minutes and was arguably the team’s second-best player. He's a factor on both sides of the floor and is someone the Pelicans need for both his offense and his defensive versatility.

When Murphy has played without Zion, he’s averaged 18 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

The key here is the minutes, though — Game 1 was just the fourth game all season that Murphy has played 40+ minutes.

OKC has its hands full while throwing its best point-of-attack defensive players at both CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram. This allows Murphy to have some softer matchups on offense.

Murphy should continue to thrive with catch-and-shoot opportunities, and his rebounds should see an uptick with the added minutes.

I’ll back Trey to exceed 22.5 points + rebounds.

Pick: Trey Murphy III Over 22.5 Points + Rebounds



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