Saturday NBA Playoffs Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets For Pacers vs. Heat and Lakers vs. Trail Blazers (Aug. 22)

Credit:

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Looking to bet Saturday's NBA Playoffs action? Our staff breaks down their favorite plays on the slate.
  • Read on for odds, picks and predictions for each of our favorite Saturday NBA bets, including Pacers vs. Heat and Lakers vs. Blazers.

It’s gut-check time in the bubble for the teams in action for Game 3s today. Both the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to avoid going down 3-0 in their respective series. The top seeded teams in each conference are also look to take a 2-1 series lead against the respective No. 8 seeds.

So, where’s the value today? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for Saturday’s slate and has found angles in three of the four games:

  • 3:30 p.m. ET: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat on TBT
  • 6 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN
  • 8:30 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers on ABC

Saturday NBA Betting Picks


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Matt Moore: Pacers vs. Heat

Pacers odds +5 [BET NOW]
Heat odds +5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +175/-221 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 213.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT 

OK this is a little bit of a galaxy brain take, but here me out.

The Heat have shot five percentage points above their expected eFG% in this series. They’re getting good looks for great shooters, so it’s not quite the outlier it presents as, but it is a little high.

Meanwhile, all that shotmaking means that the Pacers are going against set defense every time. If the Heat regress at all, that number goes down. It also allows more transition opportunities for the Pacers. This series has been played at the second-lowest pace of all the playoff series so far.

Indiana had the 10th-best points per possession mark on transition plays this season. We’re only talking about 104.5 points for their team total. I don’t like Indy against the spread today and the moneyline price is too short. But I do think they get over 104.5.

The Pick: Pacers over 104.5 points (-110)

[Bet $20+ on the Pacers at PointsBet and Win $125 if they have at least one dunk]


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Brandon Anderson: Rockets vs. Thunder

Rockets odds -2 [BET NOW]
Thunder odds +2 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -135/+115 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 222.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV ESPN 

Through two games in this series, the Rockets have won both games by double digits, and they’ve done it without Russell Westbrook. He remains out Saturday with that quad injury, but right now that doesn’t look like it matters much.

Look, it’s not that the Thunder are bad, or that they were overrated all season. Sometimes you just run into the wrong matchup.

This was always a fascinating series because of the clash of styles. The Thunder want to slow it down and let Chris Paul do his thing with Steven Adams, a mountain man in the post, and an elite five-man closing lineup. The Rockets want to get out and run, let James Harden (and usually Westbrook) control every possession, and win the 3s vs. 2s game.

So far, the Rockets are the team dominating style of play. OKC cannot run with this team, and in a surprising twist, they’re struggling to score on a suddenly improved Rockets defense. The Rockets continue to get a couple big games from role players, and Harden has been by far the best player in the series.

Normally, this is where the Thunder would return home for a big Game 3 boost, win a game, and get back into the series — that’s what we expect from the home team down 2-0.

But this isn’t normal. There are no home fans waiting, no boost behind door No. 3, and no reason to expect a change of pace or style. Houston is just flat out better in this matchup, and until proven otherwise, I’ll continue to ride the Rockets. I’d bet them up to -4.

The Pick: Rockets -2 (-110)

[Bet $20+ on the Rockets at PointsBet and Win $125 if they have at least one dunk]

Malik Smith: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers

Lakers odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Blazers odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -335/+275 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 224.5 [BET NOW]
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV ABC

After having one of the most impressive offensive stretches we’ve seen since the restart, the Trail Blazers have finally started too cool off in their past two games. The drop off, due in part to the fatigue of playing at such a high level for three weeks.

In the Blazers’ Game 2 loss, the trio of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Gary Trent Jr. combined to shoot 9-of-28 on open 3-point shots (defender at least 4 feet away) per NBA Advanced Stats data. Lillard has been especially bad, shooting 3-for-11 on such shots over his past two games. These are shots the Trail Blazers were making with ease (41.4% on open shots during the seeding games).

On the Lakers’ side, LeBron James put up his lowest point total in a playoff game (10 points) since the 2014 postseason. How often will we get a dismal shooting performance from Lillard and a crappy night from James in the same game?

Something tells me that won’t happen in Game 3 and the market seems to agree — our FantasyLabs prop tool projects LeBron is projected to score 26.5 in Game 3. At the time of writing, the over in this game is getting 60% of the money despite only getting 40% of the betting tickets. And the Lakers have been good in this spot recently, hitting the over in three-straight games when the total closed under 225.

I’ll take the over and expect a bounce-back performance from LeBron along with better shooting luck from Dame & Co.

Pick: Over 224.5 (-110)

[Bet now at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

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