NBA Best Bets, Odds Today: Expert Picks for Clippers vs Suns
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dive for a loose ball during Game 1.
- Get your popcorn ready, we've got three more exciting first round NBA Playoff games on Tuesday's slate.
- Action Network's staff has five best bets today, including expert picks for Knicks vs Cavaliers and Clippers vs Suns.
- You can find their in-depth analysis and predictions for Tuesday's Game 2s below.
Tuesday’s NBA Playoff slate is features three games, so get your second screen ready: Hawks vs. Celtics (7 p.m. ET on NBA TV), Knicks vs. Cavaliers (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT) and Clippers vs. Suns (10 p.m. ET on TNT).
The road teams in both of the No. 4 vs No. 5 series (Knicks, Clippers) grabbed a win in Game 1 while the Hawks’ late rally after being down 30 points fell short. The pressure will go up a notch in every series Tuesday and our betting analysts are meeting the moment with five best bets today, including a series pick for one matchup.
Check out their expert picks and predictions for Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs action below.
NBA Odds & Best Bets
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
Chris Baker: I’ll go over here in Hawks/Celtics Game 2 as the final score of game one wasn’t indicative of how fast the game was played. There were 102 possessions in the game, according to Cleaning the Glass, but even that may not do full justice to how fast this game would have been played had it been competitive. Remember, the Celtics went into halftime with a 30-point lead and this resulted in a noticeable decrease in their pace in the second half. Had this been a remotely competitive game I think we would’ve cleared the Game 1 total of 231.5 easily.
The reason this one wasn’t close was due to the Hawks complete inability to make shots. Their 41.3% effective field goal performance ranked as their second-worst shooting performance of the entire season. The Hawks shot 5-of-29 from deep (17%) and Trae Young was an embarrassing 5-of-18 from the field with five turnovers. The Celtics defense certainly deserves respect but that was literally a 0th percentile offensive shooting performance, there will be positive regression from the Hawks here.
Two of their three regular season matchups cleared this number and the one that didn’t finished at 227. That game was in November and needed another historically bad shooting performance from the Hawks to fall under 229.5 by 2 points. Trust the Hawks’ offense to bounce back and keep this one competitive. I would play this up to 231.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
Brandon Anderson: This series already feels like a wrap.
Boston led by 30 at halftime in Game 1, and that was pretty much that. Atlanta technically closed the gap to 12 but never felt like a threat, and the Hawks appear to have no real answers on either end of the court.
The defense is a lost cause. Clint Capela doesn’t have a place in this series and repeatedly gave up easy looks at the rim because he was too slow to cover. Boston had a 129 offensive rating in the two meaningful games against Atlanta in the regular season, then dropped 74 on the Hawks by halftime before coasting the rest of the way.
On the other end, Atlanta shot 5-of-29 on 3s, and both of those numbers are problems. You won’t win many games hitting 17% of your 3s in 2023, but 29 isn’t nearly enough attempts either when you’re such a big underdog. Atlanta’s small starting guards shot 15-of-43 combined, an ugly number, and that’s really the basis for this Hawks offense.
I don’t see much reason for hope. There’s no magic adjustment that makes Boston not have the depth, the great defense, and the many options on offense to own this series. The Game 2 moneyline implies an 81% chance the Celtics go up 2-0. They’ll be favored in Game 3 in Atlanta, and if they win that one, there’s no way this downtrodden Hawks team will show up in Game 4 when they don’t seem to have much belief or hope, or maybe much of a future with Trae Young.
A sweep is still priced too long at +190 if you agree the Hawks fold in Game 4 down 3-0. I’d make it close to +140, near where it is at some books.
Don’t overcomplicate this. The Celtics rolled Saturday, then spent Sunday watching Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tyler Herro, Anthony Davis, and Ja Morant pick up injuries. This team sees its window open and wants to end this quickly.
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Bryan Fonseca: Since I started writing for the NBA here at Action, this has been the prop I’ve played most, successful all but once — and that was a fluke!
Maybe I’m picking on Julius Randle too much, and was admittedly nervous when taking this exact prop in our best bets file on Saturday as he got off to a hot start, but as expected, he slowed down.
He got his early, was shooting about 6-of-12 from the field at some point, and finished 7-of-20 because the Cavs and Evan Mobley, in particular, greatly impacted Randle’s driving lanes and forced him to settle for 3-point shots. He finished 3-of-10 from deep.
I think the Cavs win this game, I think Randle doesn’t crack 25 points, and we go back to NY 1-1.
I gave Randle over 3.5 assists at +120 a look since I think he’ll be forced to move the ball and find other shooters because of the discomfort caused by Mobley and Jarrett Allen, as well.
I promise you, I like Randle as a player. And, as a New Yorker, I’m highly appreciative of his growth in this city and the appreciation Knick fans have developed for what he’s stood for (for the most part).
But I just don’t think this is his series offensively unless he’s going to hit some very difficult shots or just bomb away from beyond the arc with success — both tough asks in the playoffs.
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Brandon Anderson: Darius Garland did not have a playoff debut to remember.
Garland scored 17 quiet points without a rebound, turned it over five times, and recorded just a single assist. The Cavs lost at home and found very little offense outside of Donovan Mitchell.
But how much of that was Garland’s fault? He had only one assist but had 13 potential assists, per NBA.com. Assists take two players after all, and Garland’s teammates let him down. Expect both sides of that equation to go better in Game 2.
Garland averaged 7.9 assists per 36 this season, and he played 43 minutes in Game 1. The Cavs aren’t getting much from the bench so Garland should play heavy minutes again in a must-win spot, and his usual rate at 43 minutes would imply 9.4 dimes.
This season, Garland played at least 32 minutes in 56 games. He had eight or more assists in 34 of them (61%), and he had double-digit dimes (+400) in 26% of them. I lean under on this game between a pair of offenses I don’t trust a lot right now, so I probably won’t get too aggressive.
Still, this looks like a nice bounce-back spot for Garland. Six times this season, Garland had four or fewer assists. In the game after each of those, he averaged 10.5 APG with at least eight helpers in all six, a 100% hit rate for this prop. We’re getting plus money on top of it! Let’s just hope his teammates make shots this time.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: I wrote about the Clippers vs. Suns Game 2 matchup in Tuesday’s betting guide and how Phoenix could have their work cut out for them if they don’t make some significant adjustments in Game 2.
Heading to L.A. with a 0-2 deficit would drastically change the complexion of the series for the Suns. They’ll need to find a way to execute more like they did in the second and third quarters and come with more schematic options to counter Ty Lue’s tricks.
Lue blitzed the Suns in the first quarter by messing with defensive matchups—unexpectedly putting Ivica Zubac on Torrey Craig instead of DeAndre Ayton.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was stuck with Eric Gordon for most of the first quarter and Kawhi Leonard for much of the second half, but not before an awful offensive first quarter for Durant specifically and Phoenix as a unit. The Suns scored just 18 in the first and Durant went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting.
Adjustments were made and the Suns outscored the Clippers in the final three quarters 92-85. I expect the Suns to come out with more effort in Game 2 especially in the first half.
This is a good spot historically for teams in Phoenix’s position. Playoff teams that were favored by four points or more in the previous game and are favored by four or more in the following game, are 77-50 in the first half all time (60.6%, 17.9% ROI):
I bet the Suns in the first half at -4.5 and would bet this to -5.
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