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Tuesday NBA Playoffs Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Heat vs. Bucks and Lakers vs. Rockets (Sept. 8)

Tuesday NBA Playoffs Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Heat vs. Bucks and Lakers vs. Rockets (Sept. 8) article feature image

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets.

  • Looking for a few quick picks for Tuesday's NBA games? Our staff breaks down their favorite bets of the night.
  • Two of our experts are targeting the Rockets -- one on the spread, and one on the moneyline.
  • Check out our staff's full breakdown of today's best bets heading into the key games.

The Miami Heat were a few bounces away from completing a sweep in Game 4, but it remains to be seen if they will face the reigning MVP in a desperation Game 5 for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Houston Rockets were close to being up 2-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, but can put LA back on the ropes in Game 3.

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

  • 6:30 p.m. ET: Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • 9 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

Tuesday NBA Betting Picks

Odds via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Matt Moore: Lakers vs. Rockets

Lakers odds -5 [BET NOW]
Rockets odds +5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -215/+175 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 222.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET

Two players were crucial in the Lakers’ Game 2 win vs. the Rockets.

P.J. Tucker picked up three early fouls, which resulted in him playing 34 minutes. In the minutes Tucker wasn’t on the floor, the Rockets were outscored by 26 points. In an eight-point loss, the Rockets were +18 with Tucker on the floor. That’s glaring.

In 70 minutes across the two games, the Rockets are +24.5 in net rating with Tucker on the floor and -54.5 (!!!) with Tucker on the bench.

If Tucker plays 38 minutes instead of 34, or 40, is that the difference?
Anthony Davis hit shots against Tucker, but they were often contested, fadeaway jumpers. Those are shots the Rockets just have to live with.

Meanwhile, Markieff Morris shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range for 16 points and was a +15. Morris is a capable shooter, but those minutes clearly swung the game.

Given that both those elements were outliers, I’m backing Houston to hang. This looks like a close series, at least until a tactical adjustment reveals itself from either team. About 40% of the tickets are on the Rockets to cover the spread, but 60% of the money is backing them, indicating the sharps are on the Rockets as well.

The PICK: Rockets +5

[Bet the Rockets +5 at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game. Subscribe to our new NBA Insiders tool at FantasyLabs to beat the market with our cutting edge player projections, injury news and betting thresholds.

Brandon Anderson: Rockets vs. Lakers

I came into this series thinking the Rockets were the better team, and nothing I’ve seen through two games has convinced me otherwise. The Lakers are a two-man team right now, unless you want to count Russell Westbrook for their side.

In Game 2, they got randomly terrific games from Rajon Rondo and Markieff Morris off the bench, but they probably shouldn’t count on Morris hitting four 3s in a two-minute stretch again anytime soon. Anthony Davis was far better in Game 2 and he’s pivotal to LA’s defense against James Harden, but (as Moore noted above) he was buoyed by P.J. Tucker’s foul trouble that held him back all game.

The Rockets are winning the 3s vs 2s game by 39 points through two games. They outlasted a huge first quarter and were outscored by double-digits midway through the second, but still evened the game up and even took a fourth quarter lead in a game besought by a nightmarish Westbrook performance: 4-of-15 from the field, 10 points, seven turnovers, 31% true shooting.

Westbrook has 38% usage with a 77 offensive rating and under 40% true shooting through two games this series. Houston would be up 2-0 if they could just find a way to mute Russ.

Westbrook is making me nervous now, but Houston still looks like the better team as long as Russ doesn’t have to play 1v3 on superstars all series. The market is still giving the Lakers far too much respect and the Rockets not nearly enough.

As long as that Houston moneyline is nearly 2-to-1, I’m riding the Rockets. Throw the old seedings away. These Lakers are not playing like a No. 1 seed. This feels more like a No. 2  vs. No. 3, and the Lakers might not be the No. 2 seed either.

I’ll play Houston’s moneyline down to +160 if needed, but it’ll never get there. And don’t be afraid to take a chance on a huge underdog ML live in-game too — you saw how quickly Houston can erase a deficit when the shots start to fall.

The Pick: Rockets +180

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

Reed Wallach: Heat vs. Bucks

Heat odds -4 [BET NOW]
Bucks odds +4 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -167/+140 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 217.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET

I’m keeping things simple and sticking with what has worked all series. With a total down two points from Sunday’s Game 4 — 219.5 to 217.5 — I’m going to be on the Miami team total over. I do not see Milwaukee stopping this team as long as the series goes on for, and this bet has hit through the first four matchups.

I’m going to get a reduced number on the idea that Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to change the scoring, because the Heat offense is going to generate great looks one way or another.

The Pick: Over 110.5 (-113) — play to 111

[Bet the over at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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