NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Matt Moore’s Bets for Warriors vs. Kings, More Game 1s
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors.
There are a few glorious sports betting weekends every year.
The opening weekend of the NFL Wild Card weekend. The first weekend of March Madness. Masters Weekend. The Sports Equinox.
Less known, but pretty awesome is the NBA Playoffs’ Round 1 Opening Weekend.
Eight games, four each day, from noon to midnight. There’s always a little chaos, there’s always a little bit of drama, there’s always a few games that make your eyes bleed. Welcome to the next three months. Let’s bet some playoffs, starting with the Game 1s.
Nets vs. 76ers
I’ve downgraded the Nets a full four points from their full-season power rating I project them at, factoring in not only the trade of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant but their lackluster performance since the trade, finishing under .500 with a negative net rating.
But I’m willing to bet they can hang within the number. The Nets bomb 3s, and while the Sixers’ defense is good overall, it suffers when James Harden is on the floor. Harden said Friday he intends to play heavy minutes. That tilts toward an offensive game. So I’ll play the over, as I project this slightly above at 216, and play the Nets.
I still can’t get to this number. The matchup is dreadful, the Sixers should have firm control of this series from start to finish.
This is an attempt at a middle, but I like this matchup for Tyrese Maxey and think he’ll have a big series vs. the Nets. He’s more likely to play in a blowout than Harden, and this reduces the line to where I have the Sixers favored.
Bets: Nets +8.5 (0.5u) | over 214.5 (0.5u) | Tyrese Maxey over 16.5 points + Sixers -3.5 SGP (+105, 0.5u)
Hawks vs. Celtics
The Hawks have the 23rd-ranked offense when facing top-10 point differential teams, and the 14th-ranked offense against top-10 defenses.
The Celtics allow the fourth-fewest points off turnovers and the fewest second-chance points. They don’t give up anything easy. Boston’s switching style will make things difficult for Trae Young. Boston is 23rd in offensive possession length (so eighth-longest). They’ll control tempo, not let the Hawks get momentum, and grind them to dust.
The starters, at least.
I love the matchup for both Bey and Okongwu off the bench. I’m tailing Brandon Anderson on the Bey prop, and I’m expecting Okongwu to play more minutes than Clint Capela by the end of the series. Might as well get a head start.
Bets: Hawks under 110.5 | Saddiq Bey over 11.5 PTS (-120) | Onyeka Okongwu over 14.5 PTS + REB (-120)
Knicks vs. Cavaliers
I make this game Cavaliers -6.3, so I’ve got enough of an edge to bet Cleveland here. I love the matchup, as the Cavaliers’ starters dominated the regular-season matchup despite losing the season series.
Cleveland should be able to dominate the interior; the Knicks’ second-chance barrage came without Jarrett Allen (who is not on the injury report) on the floor this season.
Julius Randle shot 43% compared to his 34% season average from 3 vs. the Cavs; that’ll slow down in the playoffs. I like the Cavs’ two bigs to win out the frontcourt battle. At home, there’s definitely value on the Cavs to win and cover.
Isaac Okoro is questionable with knee soreness — he didn’t practice early this week — but returned Friday and is expected to play.
If Okoro is ruled in, I’m betting Brunson unders and Okoro overs. Okoro was sensational in his minutes vs. the Knicks this season. Against Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell, Brunson shot 22-of-34 this season (66%), according to NBA.com’s admittedly wonky matchup data.
Against Okoro? Just 2-of-11. I think Okoro plays a big part in this series and helps hold down Brunson to a degree. I’ll wager on his minutes and take his points-rebounds-assists or other player combo props if and when they come available. If he doesn’t play, I’ll have Brunson’s point total over.
Pick: Cavaliers -5
Warriors vs. Kings
I love this spot for Golden State.
Oh, man, but the Kings haven’t been in the playoffs for seventeen years. That crowd will be insane!
Yes, and so will the expectations.
Do you remember the 2014 Raptors? They hadn’t made the playoffs in quite a while and the city was buzzing about the upstarts with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Jurassic Park was filled to the brim. Masai Ujiri gave a wrestling promo outside before the game. It was off the chain.
And the Raptors lost.
The Kings have no playoff experience together and barely any individually. Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter are the only two to make a serious run. That’s a tough situation against anyone, much less the defending champs.
Steve Kerr is 14-12 in Game 1’s, ATS. It takes a while for a team to adjust to how the Warriors play and the Kings won’t have that luxury. I think the Warriors control this game, play better defense than they’ve shown on the road all year, and get the win with the under.
I also like the prop for Poole and Monk combined at DraftKings because it combines Monk who should go off vs. the Warriors’ weak second unit, and Poole who should torch the Kings no matter who’s in the rotation.
Bets: Warriors +102 ML | Under 238.5 | Poole over 17.5 points + Monk over 11.5 points SGP (+205)
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