The NBA Playoffs get underway on Monday and DraftKings Sportsbook not only offers us series prices but a multitude of intriguing ways to bet on each series. Here are some plays that stand out to me.
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Series Winner: OKC (+120)
There’s really only one series line that’s playable on its own, with the Nuggets (-278) as the next closest series to this one. Denver opened at the playable price of -177 but got bet up some and then the line blew up when it was announced Mike Conley Jr. was leaving the bubble, costing him at least two games.
But onto the Thunder. I like playing the dog in this series and the Game 1 price is telling. The Rockets are going to be without Russell Westbrook for at least a game but it sounds like it’ll be challenging for Russ to even play in this series. The Thunder are now two-point favorites in Game 1 and -127 on the moneyline. So, if the whole series is played on a neutral court why isn’t OKC favored for the entire series? This should be much closer to a pick’em.
Houston went just 8-7 without Westbrook this season and struggled each time out against the Thunder. OKC was an underdog in all three matchups against the Rockets this season, going 3-0 ATS. The Thunder lost by four as 10-point dogs early in the season and then dominated the rest of the matchups. The next time out was a 21-point victory as 3.5-point dogs, followed by a five-point win as 7.5-point dogs. I love the Thunder to pull out another one as a dog, even though I think we wind up seeing them favored most games.
Series Winner Parlay: DEN/BOS/LAC/LAL (+149)
DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the only places you’ll find that actually allows you to parlay series lines. While a four-team parlay is usually a pretty complicated bet, I think this is a much different situation. Betting games leaves a lot more room for error. Any team can win a singular game. But the NBA is generally a league where talent wins out, especially over time when you need to win four games in a best-of-seven series.
I liked the Nuggets from the jump but the Conley news only solidified this play. Not only was Denver 3-0 ATS against Utah this season but it also won all three games outright as the dog.
The Celtics are hitting their stride entering the postseason, winning four straight with their starters and covering three. Meanwhile, the 76ers will be without Ben Simmons, who they have a losing record without. Also, Joel Embiid has suffered ankle and wrist injuries in his past three games. These two teams are heading in opposite directions.
The Clippers went 3-0 straight up and ATS against Dallas this season, including a 15-point victory in the bubble. Congrats to the Mavericks on taking the next step to get here but the Clippers are here to contend.
Ah, the darling Blazers. Everyone wants to play them on the series line but just because they played their way in it doesn’t mean they’re taking down LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers play defense and should shred Portland’s non-existent defense.
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Game Spread: DEN -1.5 (-110)
I mentioned in my Best Bets article for Monday, August 17 that the Nuggets series line was getting bet up too much but we can still get exposure to Denver in this fashion. Betting the game spread means Denver has to win by more than one game — the only way Denver wins the series but the bet loses is if we see a Game 7. Denver in Game 4, 5 or 6 wins us this bet at standard -110 juice. I like those odds with the Nuggets winning all three regular-season matchups and getting a playoff boost from Michael Porter Jr.
Game Spread: BOS -1.5 (-148)
This is the same bet as the Nuggets game spread in terms of winning as long as Boston doesn’t let this go seven games. As mentioned in Best Bets, Philly just doesn’t play at the same level without Simmons, and Embiid doesn’t seem to be in a position to lead them over a far more balanced team. The only thing working in the Sixers’ favor is their size but too much size on the floor will only lead to more struggles defending all of Boston’s wings. I like the C’s in five games but this gives us cushion if it goes to six.
Game Spread: LAL -2.5 (+125)
Sorry to those that want to play the hot Blazers on the series line but it just isn’t happening. Portland struggled to get past teams that were playing for nothing to get into the postseason and they blew a 16-point lead against the Grizzlies in the play-in game before just squeaking by. Memphis was awful in the bubble, finishing 2-7. Now the Blazers finally run into a real contender playing with full motivation. The Lakers should come out and flatten Portland in Game 1 and ride that momentum in this series. Dame can steal a game but this one gets done in five.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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