The NBA playoffs are officially underway, and we have another four games on tap for Tuesday. It starts with the Bucks vs. the Magic at 1:30 p.m. ET and concludes with the Lakers vs. the Trail Blazers at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Here are four of my favorite bets to target on Tuesday’s slate.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic: Bucks to win series 4-0 (-150)
Anything less than a sweep would be disappointing for the Bucks. Not only have they been the best team in basketball this season in terms of Net Rating, the Magic are the worst team in the playoffs in that metric. The Magic are also banged up at the moment – Jonathan Isaac is out, and Aaron Gordon is questionable – which could leave them without their two best defensive options vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks are currently listed as -910 on the moneyline, so grabbing the sweep at -150 is an appealing play from a pure mathematic perspective. A four-team parlay with four -910 favorites has “true odds” of around -200, so grabbing this bet at -150 makes a lot of sense.
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers: Pacers +2.5 games (-159)
I don’t see a ton of differences between these two teams on paper. The Heat are slightly better and healthier, but I’m not sure why they deserve to be -335 favorites in this series.
T.J. Warren is dealing with plantar fasciitis at the moment, but he’s expected to play through the injury. He’s averaged 31.0 points per game inside the bubble, which has allowed them to overcome the injury to Domantas Sabonis.
I ultimately think the Pacers could win this series, but I love grabbing them with +2.5 games. That means this bet is a winner as long as the Pacers can force this series to six games.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder to win series (+120)
The betting lines in this series are super interesting. The Thunder are favored in the first game of this series, and with no homecourt advantage, they should remain favored as long as Russell Westbrook is out of the lineup.
With that in mind, why are the Thunder underdogs in the series overall?
I love the upside for the Thunder in the postseason given how well their top options have played. The five-man combination of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams has posted a Net Rating of +26.8 over 177.3 minutes this season. That makes them one of the top lineups in all of basketball, and they should be able to lean on that lineup heavily in the postseason.
I actually wish Westbrook was playing so we could still grab the Thunder as significant underdogs – they were closer to +300 when the series price first came out – but I still think there’s some value with +120.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Lakers -5.5
The last game of the night might be the most interesting. It features the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers vs. the ice-cold Los Angeles Lakers.
Some people legitimately think the Blazers can beat the Lakers in this series, but I am not one of them. As good as they have been offensively, they have been almost just as bad defensively. That should be the perfect medicine for the Lakers’ offense.
The Blazers also seem like a prime regression candidate. Damian Lillard could continue to score the ball at an absurd level, but Gary Trent Jr. and Carmelo Anthony have both been red-hot from behind the 3-point line. Those numbers should normalize moving forward.
Finally, the Blazers are dealing with a key injury. Zach Collins has already been ruled out, and he’s one of the few guys on the roster who has a chance of guarding Anthony Davis. With him out of the lineup, that responsibility will likely fall to a combination of Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, and Carmelo Anthony. Those guys don’t match up nearly as well.
With that in mind, I’m banking on the long-term form of the Lakers outweighing the short-term form of the Blazers.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and I 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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO) or 1-800-BETS OFF (IA). 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.