NBA Odds, Playoff Predictions & Betting Picks: Hawks vs. 76ers and Clippers vs. Jazz
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Game 2 of the Hawks vs. 76ers series. Game 1 of the Clippers vs. Jazz series.
- Tuesday's NBA playoffs slate may feature only two games, but both of them are compelling enough to make our best bets.
- Check out each of our top three picks below, including comprehensive analysis for both of Tuesday's NBA playoffs matchups.
The NBA Playoffs continue with two compelling matchups on tap for Tuesday evening’s slate.
First up: Hawks vs. 76ers, Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Will Trae Young channel the role of the villain by willing Atlanta to a 2-0 series lead, or will Philly battle back to even the series? Below, NBA betting analyst Raheem Palmer has you covered with his best bet Hawks vs. Sixers.
Then, to cap Tuesday’s slate in the 10 p.m. ET spot, we’ll be treated to Clippers vs. Jazz, Game 1. Our analysts are split on the late game: Brandon Anderson is siding with the Jazz, while Kenny Ducey is riding with the Clippers. Check out each of their best bets below, and assess their arguments for yourself:
NBA Odds & Picks
Hawks vs. 76ers
Raheem Palmer: In the first half of Game 1, the Atlanta Hawks made it look easy, scoring 74 points on 1.37 points per possession. Trae Young continued where he left off in his first-round series against the New York Knicks by scoring 35 points and dishing 10 assists.
Midway through Game 1, it was hard to believe that this 76ers team had the third-best Defensive Rating in the NBA this season, allowing 108.2 points per 100 possessions during non-garbage time minutes.
Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid was added to the lineup minutes before game time, and you have to wonder if the team lacked the necessary sense of urgency given the circumstances. The 76ers started the game out of sorts, and it didn’t help that the head coach Doc Rivers played an all-bench unit that allowed the Hawks to go on a second-quarter run, which — for all intents and purposes — decided the game.
However, things changed drastically in the second half. First, the 76ers cleaned up their 22.6% turnover rate during the first 24 minutes and stopped turning the ball over. Then, the team tightened up on defense and held Atlanta to just 1.0 point per possession and a Net Rating of -32.1.
I can’t help but think that we’ll see more of the second-half version of Philadelphia in Game 2. So, I’m going to go with the zig-zag theory and lay the -5.5 points on the 76ers in expectation that they will bounce back to tie the series.
Clippers vs. Jazz
Brandon Anderson: I tried this angle in the first round and it … did not go well. But, let’s try it again.
I’m taking the Jazz to win and cover tonight — and it’s not because the Jazz are way better, not because the Clippers are worse, not because of an individual matchup, nor shot variance, nor an overall take on the series.
Nope; for this bet, we’re keeping it simple: We’re playing the schedule.
The Clippers just finished a grueling seven-game series against the Dallas Mavericks. Kawhi Leonard played over 40 minutes in all but one game, and the Clippers have been playing with their backs against the wall for well over a week after falling behind 0-2 early.
Los Angeles’ deciding Game 7 against Dallas concluded on Sunday afternoon. Now, just two days removed from that emotionally and physically exhausting Game 7 win, there’s a whole new opponent waiting — and this one is fully rested.
The Jazz haven’t played since Thursday, which is just long enough to get rested and healthy without waiting long enough for rust to set in. It’s also the best case scenario for Mike Conley, who remains questionable for Tuesday’s game. He injured his hamstring in Utah’s closeout win but got the maximum rest possible with the Clippers going the full seven games against the Mavericks.
Utah was the best home team in the NBA this season at 31-5. The Jazz almost always boast a huge advantage at home due to Utah’s elevation, which should be especially tough on an already tired LA team. Moreover, Utah also hosts among the largest home crowds in the NBA Playoffs.
If this were the regular season, we’d chalk this up to a schedule loss for the Clippers. There’s no time for that in the postseason, but it’s a really rough spot for LA either way.
Though this angle did not work in Game 1 against Memphis, don’t forget that Utah took a big early lead before crumbling with a disastrous second quarter. That was also a weird day when Donovan Mitchell was unexpectedly ruled out just a few hours before tip.
Clippers vs. Jazz
Kenny Ducey: I’ll be honest: With such tight margins in this series, I’m surprised to see a spread this large — even in Utah. The Jazz will graduate to a different level of competition when they face the Clippers on Tuesday. Meanwhile, LA should be fully warmed up to take on a team as complete as the Jazz.
Admittedly, I am somewhat concerned about how the Jazz relented on the defensive end in their opening-round series against the Grizzlies. Utah’s defense allowed 115 points per 100 possessions — a far cry from the level of dominance that we witnessed all year long.
The Jazz relied on timely 3s to quiet big runs from Memphis, who seemed to be in every game despite some of the series’ lopsided final scores. I expect that to change against the Clippers.
Kawhi Leonard is coming off of his best postseason series ever by the numbers. His 61.2% shooting matched his best mark in a postseason series ever, his 32.1 points per game ranked third, and his 7.9 rebounds per game ranked second.
Leonard’s usage has skyrocketed in the postseason, and his performances have been nothing short of sublime. If the Jazz are going to keep their proverbial foot off the gas pedal in this series on defense, it’s not going to be a good time.
Behind a strong offense, which LA showcased in the opening round against Dallas, I expect the Clippers to make a real run at winning Game 1 outright. It may not be the kind of victory the team would prefer, but this line is simply disrespectful to LA.
The Jazz have hardly been playing their best basketball, even with Donovan Mitchell back, and it might take a punch in the mouth early in this series for the team to finally settle in.