NBA Betting Odds & Picks: 3 Best Bets for Saturday, Including Heat vs. Bucks & More (May 15)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler.
- There are six games on Saturday's NBA slate, with five of them coming in the afternoon.
- There's still betting value to be found, including in Saturday night's matchup between the Heat and Bucks.
- Our team of NBA analysts break down where the value lies with their three best bets for Saturday.
We’re almost there, folks.
Teams are still tanking and going through the motions to close out the NBA season. Most playoff positions are set in stone, and very little is on the line for teams down the stretch. The lottery isn’t even as sure of a thing for teams that aren’t focused on wins.
That doesn’t mean there is not betting value to be found. Our staff of NBA betting analysts have pinpointed three games that bettors can find value on for Saturday’s slate.
NBA Odds & Picks
Hornets at Knicks
Raheem Palmer: New York, New York, Big City of Dreams.
After missing the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, head coach Tom Thibodeau has turned this team around in just one season. New York was 21-45 and 23rd in Defensive Rating (113) last season and now is 39-31 and third in Defensive Rating (108.3).
More importantly, this team has clinched a playoff spot and is in contention for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with just two games to play in the regular season.
Thibodeau-coached teams historically play harder than any other teams, which is evident by Julius Randle playing 44:53 minutes in Thursday’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs a week before the playoffs.
More impressive is that this team simply doesn’t lose in the first half. According to our BetLabs database, the Knicks are 47-22-1 (68.1%) ATS. They’ve won four straight first halves and nine out of their last 10. Even more impressive is that New York was down seven with 3:48 in the second quarter against both the Lakers and Clippers and won the first half outright.
The Knicks play a Hornets team on Saturday that has been decimated by injuries, losing Gordon Hayward to a foot injury, Miles Bridges to health and safety protocols and Cody Martin with an ankle injury. Although the Hornets welcomed the return of LaMelo Ball who’s been one of their best playmakers, he hasn’t been able to stop the tailspin this team has been on.
Charlotte has lost three straight, including four out of their last five, and is just 3-7 in their last 10 games. While the Hornets have been one of the better 3-point shooting teams this season, ranking eighth in percentage from beyond the arc (39.1%), they’re just 23rd in Offensive Rating (108.7) in their non-garbage-time minutes over the past few weeks, according to Cleaning the Glass.
The Hornets are also just 19th in Defensive Rating (113.4) in their non-garbage-time minutes, so I expect the Knicks to have no problems scoring. Charlotte’s perimeter defense, in particular, could struggle since the Knicks are fourth in 3-point shooting percentage shooting 39.4% and the Hornets are 18th in opposing percentage from deep (37.2%).
The Knicks are the better team, playing in the better form while chasing seeding at home. The Knicks first half has been printing money.
It’s Ethereum, it’s Bitcoin, it’s Dogecoin.Invest and take your money to the bank. I’m prepared to ride it until the wheels fall off.
I like the Knicks’ first-half line at -3, but would play it up to -3.5, which is where it stands as of publication.
Celtics at Timberwolves
Brandon Anderson: Much to my chagrin as a Timberwolves fan, the mighty Minnesota franchise has refused to tank down the stretch and actually looks pretty good now that D’Angelo Russell has finally joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards on the court.
In a spot where any other sensible franchise would be tanking to keep its top three protected pick, the Timberwolves have instead played for pride and continuity and struck relative gold. The Wolves are 8-6 in their last 14 games, including a pair of back-to-back impressive wins over the Utah Jazz. Also included in that span are three losses by four points or fewer, or else the Wolves might be 11-3 down the stretch here.
And the good thing for bettors is that Minnesota has played so well that there isn’t even any reason left to tank. The Wolves have dropped to sixth worst in the standings and can’t really do anything to harm their position further at this point, so they may as well keep the good vibes going and try to pick up another win.
Boston has absolutely nothing to play for here and has made that clear by sidelining just about everyone of consequence. Jaylen Brown is already out for the year, but he will be joined today on the sidelines by Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and Tristan Thompson.
Jayson Tatum is probable to play for some reason, but even he may end up sitting the second half, because why bother? Boston is locked into the seven seed and the play-in tournament at this point, so the only thing they should be doing is getting as healthy as possible for Tuesday night.
As for Minnesota, the Timberwolves have more than pride to play for today. Today is Kevin Garnett day for Timberwolves fans. Garnett quite literally is the franchise. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Timberwolves probably wouldn’t exist without him. Garnett leads the franchise in all-time points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He is the best player the Timberwolves have ever had by 10,000 lakes, and he’s so far ahead of everyone else that he is probably the second-best player too.
Garnett was the heart and soul of this organization and gave everything he had to the team, and he was a mentor to young Karl-Anthony Towns, who always plays with heart and will surely want to win this one for KG. Garnett may have ultimately gone on to win his ring with the other team playing here, but the Big Ticket will always be a Minnesota Timberwolf.
The Wolves do it for KG. I’ll play them to -7, but grab them quickly because the line is moving.
Heat at Bucks
Matthew Trebby: It’s rare for odds to shift so heavily on a game in which there has been no injury news yet, but that’s what has happened in tonight’s matchup between the Heat and Bucks.
Milwaukee opened at -5.5 and finds itself at +4.5 on Saturday morning. The only Bucks player on the injury report is Axel Toupane, and they play the eliminated Bulls on Sunday night to close the regular season.
The Heat, meanwhile, are getting hot at the absolute right time, to no one’s surprise. Miami has the second-highest Offensive Rating in the NBA over its last four games, all of which they have won and covered.
The safe bet in this game is the total, which both teams have soared over with some ease of late. Both Miami and Milwaukee have gone over 230.5 in four of their last five games. The Bucks are playing at a lightning-fast pace of late and are going to put up plenty of points if most of their regulars feature. Miami, meanwhile, has a 123.7 Offensive Rating over its last four games and scored more than 120 points in three of its last four games.
Make sure everyone is going to play for Milwaukee before betting this, but 230.5 seems low for this matchup.
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