C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans

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Both matchups tonight are win-or-go-home scenarios and battles for the eighth and final seed in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

The Cleveland Cavaliers host the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is the small favorite for tonight’s game. In the West, the Los Angeles Clippers (who will be without Paul George) are now the underdogs against a fiery New Orleans Pelicans squad with C.J. McCollum at the forefront.

All odds are accurate as of 2:45 PM EST on Fanduel Sportsbook.

Best Bets of The Night

Game: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers +2.5

Although the Hawks blew out the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night, they did not shoot the ball well at all. Although Trae Young had the “big night” for the Hawks, he only scored 24 points (8-24 FG) and went one-of-seven from downtown. He did lead the team to an important victory and recorded 11 assists. I think this will push Young to have a much better night shooting from the field than he did against the Hornets.

For tonight’s game, the away team is the small favorite. One reason for this is the potential lack of depth among bigs in Cleveland going up against Clint Capela. If Evan Mobley is the only big active for the Cavs tonight, they will fail to contain a ferocious Capella, who recorded a 15-point and 17-rebound double-double in only 29 minutes on the floor Wednesday night. Some good news has surfaced in regards to Cavs' starting center, Jarett Allen. Shams Charania reported earlier today that Allen would be in warm-ups and is planning to make a start tonight in Cleveland. Without Allen, Cleveland struggled immensely against Brooklyn's Andre Drummond and Nicolas Claxton with Mobley starting at the center position. Despite Kevin Love's double-double off the bench, neither Love nor Mobley can truly body up with Capela in the post whereas Allen can.

While Allen is officially listed as a game-time decision at the moment, all indicators suggest he is going to suit up and at least try to play as much as he can. Whether he will be successful on the floor remains a mystery, but if Allen joins Mobley in the Cavs' frontcourt, Cleveland will have the upper hand down-low and Capella might have a difficult time considering the undersized Danilo Gallinari is starting at power forward with John Collins still sidelined. If Allen suits up, that means he feels ready. If he and Mobley play tonight, I think the Cavs have a great chance of defending the home floor against the Hawks tonight to earn the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Pick: Cleveland ML +102

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Game: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers +1

In addition to C.J. McCollum’s big night against the Spurs, Jonas Valunciunas and Brandon Ingram also scored well above 20 points. In total, six players on the Pelicans' roster scored in double-figures against San Antonio to combine for 113 points of offense as a team on Wednesday night. The Clippers, however, are only the 23rd highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 108.4 PPG this season. Now that Paul George has been ruled out for tonight’s contest after entering the league’s health and safety protocols, other shooters and wings will need to step up for the Clippers' two sidelined stars (George and Kawhi Leonard).

Everything screams good news for the Pelicans while the Clippers are edging towards a status of crisis mode with PG-13 ruled out for tonight and Luke Kennard currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game. For the Clippers to win, Reggie Jackson and the Clippers' bench will need to step up in big ways. New Orleans has Ingram, Valunciunas, and McCollum locked and loaded and ready to go.

The Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -1 (-116)

NBA Player Props of the Night

Game: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers +1

Prop 1: C.J. McCollum Over 25.5 Points

The main man in New Orleans has hands down become McCollum. Just take a look at the 32 points, seven assists, and six rebounds he had in a decisive win against the Spurs. Tonight, McCollum will record at least 26 points and score the majority of those points by the end of the first half. As a Pelican, McCollum has shot 49.3% from the field to average 24.3 PPG, up from the 20.5 PPG on 43.6% shooting from the field he had in the first half of the season in Portland. With everything on the line, the Pelicans should let McCollum fire away.

Prop 2: Reggie Jackson, Over 20.5 Points

Now that Paul George is out, expect Reggie Jackson to be the Clippers' highest scorer. This season, Jackson averaged 16.7 PPG in 45 games without PG-13 in the lineup. With Paul George out in a playoff game, expect Jackson to shoot many more shots than he has in recent weeks and return to the offensive production we’ve seen him produce throughout most of the season with PG-13 unable to suit up. Even with George in the lineup against Minnesota, Jackson still attempted 18 shots from the field, though he only converted seven of them. Still, he finished with 17 points, seven boards, and five assists. Expect a lower assist-tally tonight and more points from the arguably the Clippers' best scorer who is still healthy. Considering PG-13 attempted 24 shots against the Wolves, Jackson should easily attempt 20+ shots tonight against the Pelicans. That bodes well for his point-total prop line.

Prop 3: Nicolas Batum, Over 1.5 Threes

With Paul George out and Luke Kennard questionable for tonight’s game, Normal Powell has been bumped up into the starting lineup and Batum should see 25-30 minutes as a trusted veteran on this mostly inexperienced team. Over his last two seasons as a Clipper, Batum has shot at least 40% from downtown. Along with Reggie Jackson, Batum should be contributing more significantly tonight to the Clippers' high-power three-point offense. As a result, I think it’s safe to assume Batum knocks down at least two three-pointers tonight against the Pelicans. In three games against the Pelicans this season, Batum averaged 1.3 threes in 26 minutes per game. He only attempted 3.7 shots from downtown in those three games and his 36.4% conversion rate was lower than his 40% conversion rate on the season. If Los Angeles is going to keep this game competitive and potentially upset the Pelicans, Batum will need to score double-figures and convert at least two shots from beyond the arc.

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Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
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After three consecutive victories, the Golden State Warriors conceded Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. In Game 5, the Warriors will look to close out Luka Doncic and the Mavs in front of the home crowd. As a team, the Warriors were efficient from the field, converting 48.8% of their shots taken. One of the main reasons Golden State lost was a result of poor free-throw shooting. The Warriors missed nine of their 27 free throws on Tuesday night (65.4 FT%). In comparison, the Mavericks were full-throttle in Game 4 facing elimination. Dallas’ Reggie Bullock (18 PTS) and Dorian Finney Smith (23 PTS) combined for 42 points, adding to Luka’s 30.

Ultimately, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 lead in the playoffs, meaning that the Warriors will almost certainly be heading back to the NBA Finals. Let’s take a look at what the best bets are for tonight’s Game 5.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 2:00 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors -6.5 (GSW Leads 3-1)

Bet #1: Dallas Mavericks, +6.5 (-110)

We like Dallas to keep it close. Perhaps Dallas has a 10-point lead going into the third quarter which the Warriors could then overtake in the second half. Regardless of the scenario, the Mavericks won against a Warriors team that still put up 109 points in Game 4 on close to 50% shooting from the field. Dallas shot above 50% from the field in Game 4 and took many shots to get there just like they did in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semis against the Phoenix Suns. Even Jalen Brunson said in the post-game interview with the guys from Inside the NBA that his team needs to "take it one game at a time (...) like four Game 7s."

While the Warriors are in it to win it tonight, the Mavericks seem to perform best when facing elimination this 2022 postseason. While they might lose tonight, the Mavericks seem to play well under pressure. As a result, take them +7 tonight as the Warriors will have a bigger challenge on their hands than they anticipate.

Bet #2: Over 215.5 Total Points (-110)

In two of the series’ four games, both teams combined for at least 220 points. In Game 2, 243 points were scored while in Game 4, there were 228 points tallied. The Mavericks shoot more when facing elimination. This has been a trend we have seen throughout the postseason. In Game 7 of the Western Conference Semis, the Mavericks scored 123 points while in Game 4 against the Warriors on Tuesday, Dallas scored 119 points. Not much more needs to be said about the Warriors’ high-power offense that will likely outscore Dallas regardless of how many points they get on the board.

NBA Player Props of the Night

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors -6.5 (GSW Leads 3-1)

Prop #1: Dorian Finney-Smith Over 11.5 Points

Dorian Finney-Smith erupted for 23 points in Game 4 to help the Mavericks rally past the Warriors. Throughout the 2022 playoffs, he’s averaged 11.6 PPG shooting 46.5% from the field. He’s also seeing 38.2 minutes per contest this postseason. Expect Finney-Smith to score at least 12 points tonight after his 23-points in Game 4.

Prop #2: Klay Thompson Over 18.5 Points

Klay Thompson was held to 12 points scored in Game 4. Despite going 5-of-10 from the field, Klay was limited by Dallas on defense in 28 minutes on the floor on Tuesday night. He should definitely be taking more shots tonight and perform better overall being back home for a Game 5. Thompson should easily hit at least 20+ points tonight, and take a handful more shots from the field in this contest than in Tuesday’s.

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo's 31-point and 10-rebound double-double led the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Celtics on the road. That was followed by a dominant second-half performance by Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins who led the Warriors to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Tonight, we'll get the first of these two matchups. Boston will look to come back in their second home game against a Heat team that is clearly not at 100% healthy. Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 while Kyle Lowry remains questionable. Here are some of the best bets for tonight's and tomorrow's big Game 4s.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

ECF Game 4: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics -7 (MIA Leads 2-1)

In Game 4, the Celtics rallied back from double-digits to make things interesting in the fourth quarter. However, Boston conceded Game 3 to the Miami Heat 109-103. On Sunday, Bam Adebayo was getting everything he wanted down low. He finished with 31 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals, and one block. Ime Udoka will need to boost the presence of his big men down low, perhaps by extending Daniel Theis’ minutes or having him share the floor more with Al Horford. The major reason for which the Heat are considered the seven-point underdogs for tonight’s game is injuries. Tyler Herro has already been ruled out for Game 4, and the Heat have four or five other players in their lineup currently listed as questionable. This includes Max Struss, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and P.J. Tucker. Butler is dealing with knee inflammation which sidelined him for the second half of Game 3.

Even if all of the players in the Heat’s rotation are good to go tonight (outside of Herro), Boston has not lost back-to-back home games since late October. Plus, Jaylen Brown is shooting much better than he did earlier in the postseason. In fact, he’s elevated his shooting to 50% from the field through the 2021-22 playoffs through 14 games played. Expect Boston to bounce back big in Game 4, with multiple players on the Miami Heat not at full strength.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -7 (-110)

WCF Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Well, it’s looking like the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals. With the emergence of Jordan Poole late this season and into the postseason, Andrew Wiggins’ First-Team All-Star season, and Klay Thompson’s return to basketball, Golden State has been simply phenomenal. Golden State is simply that good this year, with anyone on the team capable of stepping up. Stephen Curry erupted in Game 3, while it was Andrew Wiggins that caught fire in the second half of Game 4. Any given night, the Warriors have one or two guys who they can count on for scoring approximately 25+ points. Considering the Mavericks' struggles this round, particularly behind the three-point line, bettors should go with the Warriors as the slight underdog. Teams get swept sometimes. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will bring out the brooms and sweep the Mavericks as they punch their ticket to the NBA Finals Tuesday night.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors ML -104

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Prop #1: Stephen Curry, Over 27.5 Points

Stephen Curry has scored 31 points and 32 points over the last two games. He’s done so by converting at least 50% from the field in each contest. It makes sense that he would score at least 28 points in a series-clinching victory tomorrow night. Curry is averaging 27.1 PPG on 45.9% this postseason but has certainly put up more points and done so more efficiently over the last few games.

Prop #2: Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 Threes

Luka has drained nine three-pointers over the last two games. He’s knocked down at least four threes in three of his last four contests. Facing elimination and hoping to not let down the home crowd in back-to-back home playoff games, Doncic will convert at least four baskets from downtown in Game 4.

Tyler Herro (Left), Bam Adebayo (Right), Miami Heat

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Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat held their own against the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 112-87 blowout over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tonight, the Celtics play their second game on the road against the Heat. On Friday night, the Mavericks will look to bounce back after shooting horrifically in Game 1.

Let’s take a look at the best bets for the two NBA Conference Final Game 2 matchups set for 8:30 PM EST. tonight and 9:00 PM EST. tomorrow night.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 4:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

After a nail-biting series with the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics won in grandiose fashion, Boston conceded Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. Tonight, they play Game 2 of the series at the FTX Arena and hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s 11-point loss. One of the principal reasons for their defeat in Game 1 was the absence of Marcus Smart (foot sprain) and Al Horford (health & safety protocols). It remained a relatively close game until the third quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 14-3 to begin the second half. Derrick White filled in for Marcus Smart and was terribly inefficient from the field. He scored three points (1-4 FG) and had four assists in 29 minutes filling in for the Defensive Player of the Year. In contrast, Max Struss and Gabe Vincent did a terrific job of filling in for Kyle Lowry, combining for 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. In addition, Tyler Herro had a good night with a pivotal 18 points (7-15 FG) off the bench. Fortunately for the Celtics, both Smart and Horford are expected to return tonight.

Head Coach Ime Udoka indicated to reporters today that Smart was probable to play this evening. Horford was cleared of health and safety protocols today making him available for tonight’s contest. For those of you who have watched the Celtics this postseason, Horford and Smart have upped their play and have been absolutely integral to the team’s success. Tonight, let’s take the Boston Celtics to take a game on the road in the same fashion that they took two road games from the Bucks in the last series.

The Pick: Boston Celtics ML +108

Tonight's Best NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

Prop#1: Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points
In Game 1 without Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent scored 17 points in 34 minutes on 50% shooting from the field. As Kyle Lowry is out again for Game 2 tonight, expect Vincent to score at least 10 points. Vincent has performed admirably while filling in for the veteran. Even when Lowry returns, it's quite possible that Erik Spoelstra will give some of Lowry's minutes to Vincent.
Prop#2: Al Horford Over 9.5 Points
After five straight double-digit scoring performances, Al Horford scored eight points or fewer in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bucks. He missed Game 1 of the Celtics' series against the Miami Heat after entering Health & Safety protocols. Since he was only out for one game, he shouldn't face any minute restrictions tonight. Horford should score at least 10 points in 30+ minutes on the floor.

Tomorrow Night's Best NBA Bet

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State -6 (GSW Leads 1-0)

Dallas was annihilated by Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This comes after the Mavs blew out the Phoenix Suns on the road in impressive fashion, punching their ticket to the next round of the playoffs for a series against the Warriors. Golden State shot an impressive 56.1% from the field in the opening game and finished with 112 points. Just as important as the offensive production, Golden State clamped down on defense. The Warriors contained Luka Doncic, who converted just six of his 18 field goals on his way to 20 points. Andrew Wiggins did an excellent job guarding the young playmaker. Luka's teammates didn't help out much either as the Mavericks shot 36% from the field in Game 1, and 22.9% from downtown (11-48 3PT FG) for just 87 points on the night.

While I think the Warriors will win again on Friday night, expect the Mavericks to keep things more interesting after such an abysmal night shooting from the field. Dallas will make the adjustments needed to make this a competitive Game 2 in the Bay area.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6 (-110)

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