We have another two-game slate on tap for Tuesday, and this one is guaranteed to be the final two-game slate of the season. The action gets underway with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and Heat at 6:40 p.m. ET.
After that, we have a decisive Game 7 between the Clippers and Nuggets at 9:10 p.m. ET. The Nuggets have battled back after falling in a 3-1 hole, just like they did vs. the Jazz in the first round. Can they pull off another miraculous comeback, or will the Clippers finally get the job done?
Let’s break down some of my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Tuesday’s NBA slate.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat:
Not many people expected the Celtics to meet the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals at the start of the season, but both teams have made it to the penultimate round of the playoffs. The Celtics did so on the back of a dominant defense, ranking first in the league by a considerable margin during the postseason.
The Heat have been more of an offensively focused team, and they were able to get past the Bucks thanks to some excellent shooting numbers from behind the 3-point line.
So will defense or offense take center stage today? I’m banking on the offenses.
For starters, both of these teams should be well rested. The Celtics have been off for the past three days, while the Heat have been off for the past six. Maybe that means they’re a bit rusty to start the game, but both of these teams should have their legs well into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics’ defense also seems poised for a bit of regression. They won’t be bad by any stretch of the imagination, but they have outperformed their expected effective FG% allowed by approximately six percent during the playoffs. The Heat are the type of team that can make shots — something that the 76ers and Raptors did very little of during the first two rounds — so I expect that gap to close a bit by the end of the series.
Kemba Walker Points:
Walker is coming off a disappointing series vs. the Raptors. He averaged just 17.0 points per game and shot a dismal 27.7% from 3-point range.
That said, the Raptors made shutting Kemba down their top priority. They even employed some box-and-one defense against him, which is something you virtually never see in an NBA game. It remains to be seen if the Heat focus as much defensive attention on him.
The Heat also weren’t nearly as impressive as the Raptors from a defensive perspective during the regular season. The Raptors finished second in defensive efficiency while the Heat finished 12th.
This is an excellent opportunity to buy low on Walker. He averaged over 24 points per game in his first-round playoff series vs. the 76ers, and I think he should return to that level vs. the Heat.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets:
We all have things that make us feel warm inside. Maybe it’s watching a beautiful sunset. Maybe it’s admiring a piece of art. Maybe it’s driving an expensive car on a Sunday afternoon.
Mine is betting the under on NBA Game 7’s.
Betting the under in Game 7’s has historically been a profitable endeavor. They’ve gone 31-19-0 since 2006, including a perfect 3-0 this season. It makes sense when you think about it. Defenses play harder, offenses tighten up and fatigue has fully set in.
The Nuggets have already played in one Game 7 during the playoffs, and they combined for just 158 points scored with the Jazz. Those teams averaged 234.3 points during the first six games of that series, which goes to show just how different a Game 7 is from a traditional playoff game.
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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.