NBA Betting Odds & Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for 76ers vs. Heat & Mavericks vs. Suns (May 2)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.
- We've got two more Game 1 matchups on Monday night as Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs rolls on.
- Our NBA betting experts have four picks in tonight's games, including spreads props and a total.
- Read on to find their analysis and bets for Monday.
Sunday afternoon’s pair of games were a real treat, especially the Warriors-Grizzlies game that ended with a frenzied final minute.
This year’s wildly unpredictable NBA postseason continues Monday night with a double-header featuring the top team in the East and West: 76ers vs. Heat (7:30 p.m. ET) and Mavericks vs. Suns (10 p.m. ET).
Our NBA experts are approaching tonight’s games in multiple ways and betting spreads, totals and player props. Check out their full analysis and best bets for Monday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
Raheem Palmer: The 76ers won’t have Joel Embiid for at least the first two games of this series after he suffered an orbital bone fracture and concussion.
They were a whopping 11.5 points per 100 possessions better with Embiid on vs off in the regular season and were a +7.5 in their first round series against the Raptors. Most fans, analysts and bettors share the sentiment that the 76ers are done, but I’m not sure that’s the case.
The Heat are dealing with injuries of their own: They’ll miss Kyle Lowry with a hamstring strain with six other Heat players — Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Caleb Martin, Max Strus and Tyler Herr — are listed as questionable. I expect everyone except Lowry to play and none of these injuries match the hole the Embiid’s absence creates for Philly. I believe the market may have overcorrected here making the Heat 8-point favorites.
Much of this handicap lies in the assumption that there will be rational coaching (tough to imagine when Glenn Rivers is the head coach), however, the 76ers have some advantages that could help them compete and potentially win Game 1.
Most notably the 76ers have the ability to go small and place four shooters around James Harden and simply try to outscore the Heat. The Heat rank last in the frequency of opposing 3-point field goal attempts (41.9%). While the Hawks shot just (32.6%) from behind the arc in Round 1, a unit with Harden plus Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Georges Niang could make this Heat defense pay.
We’ve seen drastic improvements in volume and 3-point shooting percentage from Maxey, Harris, Green and Niang since the Harden trade and that will loom large here. In particular Harris and Maxey have increased their scoring output without Embiid as well, so I think this team can still score efficiently.
While I have concerns about the 76ers’ ability to slow the Heat down offensively, I think they can score enough to make this a close game. I’ll play the 76ers +8 in addition to Tobias Harris over 17.5 points.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
Brandon Anderson: The Heat and 76ers were two of the six slowest teams in the NBA this season. From Sunday afternoon’s high-scoring chaos, we may be quickly turning to a Monday evening rock fight.
The Sixers play slow with or without Joel Embiid now that James Harden has arrived, and the Heat will be just fine with that. The matchups between these teams were slow and low-scoring this season. They averaged just 201 points, with three of the four matchups below this posted total and two of them below 200 points.
Miami’s offense was not as impressive as it seemed last round. Jimmy Butler was incredible, but the Heat players around him did not have great series and Miami’s scoring was a bit uneven outside of the big runs they kept finding at the right time. Kyle Lowry’s absence won’t help Miami’s offense, especially since Philly has some decent options to defend Butler with and stymie the offense further.
We’ll see what we get from Philadelphia’s offense. It’s entirely possible the team will be forced to turn into the Harden Rockets eventually, spacing the floor and playing a bit faster with many more 3s, just the way Miami would prefer to defend. But starting out, I’m expecting a lot of traditional lineups with DeAndre Jordan in place of Embiid, and that has not worked well for this offense.
Miami’s defense is its calling card. Philadelphia needs its defense to step up to have any shot too. Points will be a grind in this series. I’ll take the under until we see either of these offenses prove they can consistently put up points and just hope this isn’t one of those games where both teams get hot and hit all their 3s.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
Munaf Manji: The Mavericks are coming off an impress first round series against the Utah Jazz despite not having their superstar, Luka Doncic for three games. Additionally, the Suns avoided a first-round upset with the return of their All-Star Devin Booker in Game 6 against the Pelicans.
These two teams matched up three times during the regular season and the Suns swept the season series with an average margin of victory of close to eight points. The Suns also held the Mavericks to a paltry 101 points per game.
Over the past two postseasons, the Suns are a perfect 5-0 straight up and against the spread in Game 1s, per Bet Labs, with an average victory margin of 11.2 points and an output of 113.8 points per game.
Meanwhile this is the first appearance in the Western Conference semifinals for the Mavericks since they won their title in the 2010-11 season. In their past three postseason runs, the Mavs are just 1-2 SU and ATS in Game 1s.
This is a great spot for the Suns to come out on their home floor and get the game one victory and cover.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
Joe Dellera: We are going back to Mr. Ayton here in Game 1 against the Mavericks.
Although Dallas’ defense has been strong, a main reason for that is their play along the perimeter. Dallas is well below average defending the rim, and allowed opponents to shoot 66.5% at the rim this season. But this number inflates after the Porzingis trade to 68% — this is a spot Ayton thrives from even on lower usage.
Ayton’s points prop is set at 18.5 and he cleared that in 50% of playoff games the last two seasons and five of the s games against the Pelicans in Round 1 against a bigger interior presence of Jonas Valanciunas.
Here, the Mavericks have no one of that ilk on the interior and Ayton should continue his playoff surge.
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