Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

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The Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves earned themselves seventh seeds in their respective conferences last night.

This means that the Cavs and the Clippers will have to await the results of these games tonight to find out who they have to play for the final eighth seed in the East and the West. Tonight the Hornets and the Hawks face-off first followed by the Spurs and the Pelicans.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game: Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks -5

The Hawks have won as many home games this season as the reigning NBA Champions and the third seed in the East: the Milwaukee Bucks. Indeed, Atlanta managed to win 27 games at home this season compared to a mere 14 losses. Last season, the Hawks demonstrated they could do damage in the postseason by eliminating the Knicks in five quick games. In turn, the Hornets have been a rather mediocre team on the road this season, winning 21 and losing 20 of their 41 away games this season. Both teams finished the regular season winning more than half of their last 10 games, but the Hawks easily have the edge in this contest. Gordon Hayward’s absence from the Hornets' lineup annuls John Collins’ absence from the Hawks lineup going into tonight’s game. With Trae Young being the best player on the court in this matchup, the Hawks should cover the spread. Not to mention, Kevin Huerter, De'Andre Hunter, and Danilo Gallinari (six-of-eight in the regular-season finale from long range), and Young make up one of the best three-point shooting lineups in the league, not to mention Clint Capela's massive mismatch against Mason Plumlee at the center position. Atlanta should roll despite the absences of Lou Williams and John Collins.

The Pick: Atlanta Hawks -5 (-115)

Game: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans -5.5

The Spurs have only lost two more games than the Pelicans this season. But the main difference between both teams is talent versus teamwork. Greg Popovich has been able to turn the Spurs into a serious playoff team in the vast majority of the last 15 years. This is important because the Spurs have a chance of upsetting other postseason teams any given season simply because of how they are coached. Furthermore, the Pelicans have struggled with guard, Devonte’ Graham, all season long. Since leaving Charlotte, his production and efficiency have decreased substantially. This season, he’s producing 11.9 PPG while shooting 36.3% from the field and producing 4.2 assists per game. These are all lower figures than what he produced in his last two years in Charlotte. In 2019, Graham averaged 18.2 PPG on 38.2% from the field. The following season, he averaged 14.8 PPG (decreased minutes because LaMelo Ball was drafted) while shooting 37.7% from the field. Now, the Pelicans have relegated Graham to a sixth-man type of role since acquiring C.J. McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pelicans' greatest asset outside of McCollum is Brandon Ingram, who is currently listed as a game-time decision. If he's unable to suit up, the Pelicans are in serious trouble.

Even if Ingram can suit up, the Spurs have developed one of the best point guards in the league in Dejounte Murray. Murray almost averaged a triple-double with 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game, plus 2.0 steals per contest. The Spurs have a deep bench with Tre Jones backing up Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Josh Richardson. San Antonio should out-hustle and out-coach the Pelicans tonight.

The Pick: San Antonio Spurs ML +194

NBA Player Props

Game: Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks -5

Prop: Trae Young, Over 31.5 Points

Trae Young is averaging 28.4 PPG this season, shooting 46% from the field and 38.2% from downtown. But Ice Trae is a different beast once the regular season is over. Last year, in five games against the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, Young averaged 29.2 PPG.

The Hornets are 13th in the NBA allowing 100 FPTS per game to opposing guards, meaning Young already has a relatively advantageous matchup heading into this matchup. Altogether, the Hornets are an average defense in the league, but a below average defense against guards. If you consider Charlotte’s defense against guards and how Trae Young stepped up in silencing the Knicks in the first round of last year’s playoffs, on paper there’s a good chance for Young to erupt for 32+ points tonight. Now, this is a high Over/Under for points and somewhat of a 50-50 to hit. Im going with the Over because I’ve seen Trae Young in his last playoff run, and if he shoots just a little bit better than he did last season, he could be hitting 30-35+ on most nights during the postseason (especially without John Collins and if the Hawks make it).

After last night’s play-in games, it would be unwise to suggest Trae Young doesn’t have a huge night. Here are a few big-name guards who went off in each of last night’s two play-in games: Darius Garland and Kyrie Irving both dropped 34 points. D'Angelo Russell tallied 29 points, and Reggie Jackson scored 17 points despite a subpar night from the field (7-of-18). Although Paul George is more of a forward than a guard, he also scored 34 points. The point is that the big-time guards in particular dominated in last night's play-in games. It’s equally impressive that Garland, Irving, and George all scored 34 points last night as it is a coincidence. There are multiple reasons why Trae Young should hit 32 points against Charlotte. But the biggest reason is that it's unwise to bet against Young in the playoffs.

Prop: Clint Capela, Over 12.5 Rebounds

Clint Capela could be one of the most efficient rebounders in the league. This season, he’s averaging 11.9 rebounds per game although he’s only playing 27.6 minutes per contest. The 6’10’’ big man from Geneva has hauled in 11+ rebounds in eight of his last 10 games. He recorded 13+ rebounds in six of the eight games in which he recorded 11+ boards. Additionally, through his last 10 contests, he’s only logged 30+ minutes four times, meaning that he’s rebounding well into double-figures despite playing less than 30 minutes most nights. In a game as pivotal as tonight's matchup, Capela should see closer to 33ish minutes. That should give him sufficient time to dominate the glass over the Hornets' big man, Mason Plumlee, who is not nearly as much of a physical specimen as Capela.

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Andrew Wiggins and Jayson Tatum

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In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors defended the home floor to take a 3-2 lead in the finals over the Boston Celtics. Largely, this is because Boston was careless with the basketball. The Warriors tallied nine steals and forced 18 turnovers by the Celtics. In contrast, the Warriors only got the ball stolen twice and turned the ball over just six times Monday night. While Stephen Curry was guarded ferociously and was held to just 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting (and 0-9 from downtown), his teammates stepped up.

Andrew Wiggins had another huge double-double, scoring 26 points (12-23 FG) and hauling in 13 rebounds. Finally, if the Celtics hope to win in Game 6, they will need to stay awake in the fourth quarter. Over the last two games, Boston has fallen asleep at the end of the game while the Warriors managed to sneak away with two consecutive victories.

Let's take a look at some of tonight's best bets for this huge NBA Finals Game 6.

Please Note: All betting odds were correct today as of 2:00 pm EST from Caesars Sportsbook

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Best Bets of the Night

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

NBA Finals Best Bet #1: Boston Celtics -4 (-110)

It’s difficult to envision the Boston Celtics collapsing in the fourth quarter in three consecutive games. The Celtics may briefly watch the tape from Game 5 but they are going to have to shake it off and move forward immediately. Boston’s carelessness with the basketball Monday night should produce a much-needed wake-up call that will allow the team to make smarter passes and take fewer risks on offense against a Golden State defense that has surged over the last two games.

While Steph will likely score more than 16 points in Game 6, Jaylen Brown must have a bounce-back performance after going 5-of-18 for 18 points in Game 5. Though the Celtics shot above 40% from the field on Monday night, they turned the ball over at an uncharacteristic rate, finishing the night with 18 turnovers. Some of those were unforced errors while the Warriors earned nine steals as well.

At home in Game 6, the Celtics will play better and bring this 2022 NBA Finals series to a blockbuster Game 7 at the Chase Center. For NBA fans wishing for a seven-game series in the 2022 Finals and bettors looking to cash in on Game 6, Boston will win by at least four points at home in a win-or-go-home scenario. Jayson Tatum has yet to play his best basketball this series with Andrew Wiggins playing lethal defense but tonight will be the night that he finally drops 30+ points. Although Steve Kerr seems to think his squad is ready to close out the series, he may have to think again given how well Boston has bounced back from losses this postseason.

Don’t forget that the Celtics were in a three-game to two-game deficit against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals yet found a way to come out victorious. They may not be able to win two straight against Golden State but it’s tough to imagine the Warriors defeating the Celtics in three consecutive matchups. Boston wins by a few possessions: 110-104.

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NBA Finals Best Bet #2: Over (O/U) 210 Total Points (-110)

Though only 204 points were scored between both teams in Game 5 (BOS 97 - 107 GSW), Game 6 will be a higher-scoring contest for multiple reasons. First, Jaylen Brown will have a bounce-back night. After being held to 18 points on 27.8% shooting from the field on Monday, Brown will almost certainly play more efficiently and score more in Game 6. Additionally, Boston had way fewer scoring opportunities due to their whopping 18 turnovers. Ima Udoke will make sure his starters take care of the ball in a game that can decide Boston’s fate. Marcus Smart and Al Horford have come up huge as role players but Tatum needs to really shift into an entirely new gear. Don’t be surprised if that happens tonight.

The story through Games 4 and 5 has been the same. Golden State has stepped it up on defense, managing to out-rebound the Celtics in both contests. Robert Williams III might have something to say about that tonight. In Game 6, the Celtics should be more cautious with the ball and therefore have more opportunities than they did over the last two contests. Meanwhile, the Warriors are always expected to drop at least 105+ points.

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

Prop #1: Andrew Wiggins To Record a Double-Double (+225)

Throughout these NBA Finals, Andrew Wiggins has been on an absolute tear. Just over the last two contests where he finished both with double-doubles, he’s recorded 29 rebounds and 43 points. He has adapted his style of play and is spending more time down low in the post to help the Warriors out on the glass. Wiggins is putting significant pressure on Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum to rebounds the ball more efficiently. Not only is Wiggins keeping his scoring numbers up, he’s drastically improved on the defensive end to record 49 rebounds (9.8 rebounds per game in the Finals) through the first five games of this series. Wiggins’ shift to focus on rebounding and keeping the pressure down low has worked brilliantly for the Warriors over the last two games, both of which they won. In Game 6, expect him to continue to do what has been working, giving him a great chance to produce a third consecutive double-double in the NBA Finals. Perhaps he can even win the NBA Finals MVP Award if he continues to play at this level. Wiggins has been the true x-factor for the Dubs in this series.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown Over 24.5 Points (-110)

After a rough shooting night in Game 5 where Brown only converted on five of his 18 shots from the field, he should wake up and score 25+ points in Game 6 at TD Garden. While you may want to stick away from three-point shooting props involving brown right now, he’ll hit the over in points tonight at the TD Garden. Brown has only scored over 24 points in one of five games this series (27 points in Game 3) but the Celtics do much better when Brown and Tatum perform like the perennial All-Stars that they are.

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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In Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry and the Warriors executed exactly where they didn’t in Game 3 to tie up the series 2-2. Notably, Golden State dominated down low Friday night after being outrebounded and suffocated by the Celtics in Game 3. As a team, the Warriors recorded 16 offensive boards for a total of 55 rebounds for the night. For instance, Draymond Green struggled Wednesday night to finish the night with only four rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

In Game 4, Draymond dominated down low for eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals without getting himself into foul trouble (only three PFs for Green in Game 4 after fouling out in Game 3).

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Similar to Game 3, both teams shot the ball rather evenly. The Warriors finished the night with 44% shooting from the field, and 34.9% from downtown. The Celtics converted 40% of the field goal attempts and 39.5% of their shots from deep. One factor which helped Golden State keep up with the Celtics throughout the game was terrific rebounding. Andrew Wiggins stepped it up off the glass to produce a 17-point and 16-rebound double-double. What really caused the Celtics to lose in Game 3 was a complete offensive collapse in the fourth quarter.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Celtics had a 91-86 lead over Golden State. That means Boston was outscored 21-6 in the second half of the fourth quarter to lose Game 4 107-97. With Golden State back home, expect their offense to shoot better than they did on the road and secure a home victory in Game 5.

Bet: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)

Throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors shot 49.4% from the field and 40.7% from downtown in 11 games played at home. For their nine road games, the Warriors were less efficient on average averaging 47.2 FG% (2.2% less efficient from the field) and 34.9% (-5.8% less efficient from 3PT range). The numbers reveal clearly that for the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors have been more efficient scoring. With the prospect of taking a 3-2 lead over the Celtics, its likely that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have another big night in front of the home crowd.

Bet: Over (O/U) 212.5 Total Points (-110)

While only 204 points were scored in Game 4, expect Game 5 to be a much higher-scoring game. In addition to the Warriors shooting much better from the field, the team seems to have found some efficiency against the bigger Celtics down low. These two factors could push the Warriors to score 120+ points in Game 5. In turn, Jayson Tatum who scored 23 points (8-23 FG) will bounce back to have a 30+ point game. Both he and Steph are scoring big these NBA Finals.

While the defense was the main story of Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden, scoring buckets will be the principal feature of Game 5 at the Chase Center. With him and Stephen Curry averaging more than 34 PPG through these finals, you can count on Game 5 in Golden State to be a high-scoring game.

NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Prop: Jayson Tatum, Over 26.5 Points

Jayson Tatum, like the rest of the Celtics, started hot but finished ice cold. If it wasn’t for the fourth quarter where Tatum shot the ball multiple times unsuccessfully. This negatively impacted his shooting numbers from Game 4 where he finished the night with 23 points (8-23 FG) converting only 34.9% of his shots taken. After a disappointing Friday night, Tatum will shoot more efficiently in Game 5. Since he still scored 23 points on an off-night, you can count on Tatum to score 30+ points in Game 5 even if the Warriors defeat the Celtics.

Prop: Andrew Wiggins, Over 6.5 Rebounds

One of the major adjustments made by the Warriors in Game 4 was boosting their presence off the glass. Andrew Wiggins recorded 16 of Golden State’s 55 rebounds Friday night.

Through the first four games of the NBA Finals, Wiggins has recorded a total of 34 rebounds. That means Wiggins is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in the 2022 NBA Finals. Especially because the Warriors know how effective he was producing much-needed rebounds in Game 4, Wiggins will look to have a similar presence down-low in Game 5.

Boston Celtics, NBA Finals Game 3

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In Game 3, both teams shot almost equally well from the field and from downtown. However, Boston took more shots from the field and dominated off the glass to take Game 3 116-100. Boston’s defensive energy was on full display Wednesday night as they outrebounded and drew countless fouls from the Warriors. Boston’s defense was the story of Game 3. Will Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry overwhelm the Celtics in Game 4?

Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s best bets for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

In Game 3, both teams shot virtually as efficiently from the field. The Celtics converted 48.3% of their shots (43-89 FG) from the field and went 37.1% from downtown. Golden State finished the night with a 46.2 FG% (36-78 FG) as a team, converting 37.5% from beyond the arc. The main reason for the Celtics’ victory was fantastic defense. For instance, Robert Williams III who isn’t 100% healthy, played 26 minutes to produce 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. The Celtics dominated the Warriors off the glass to record 47 rebounds as a team with 15 of them recorded on the offensive end. In contrast, the Warriors totaled 31 rebounds on the game and only had six offensive rebounds. In addition, the Warriors committed 23 personal fouls allowing the Celtics to go to the line 24 times (Celtics were 17-24 FT) and had 16 turnovers as a team. For the Warriors to bounce back in Game 4, they will need to be more aggressive down low and less sloppy on the floor.

Bet #1: Golden State Warriors, +4 (-110)

The Warriors shot the ball well in Game 3, but were simply overwhelmed by the Celtics defense and the energy at the TD Garden Wednesday night. Golden State recorded 39 combined turnovers (16) and personal fouls (23) which demonstrates how sloppy they were with the basketball. This gave Boston a possession advantage throughout the game, ultimately allowing the Celtics to take 11 more field goal attempts and finish the night with seven more made FGs than the Warriors. Offensive efficiency is not the issue for the Warriors. Rather, they will need to ramp it up on defense in Game 4 to make the game interesting. Draymond Green fouled out of the contest after being shut down all night. Green was held to just two points, four rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers in 35 minutes on the floor before getting a sixth personal foul in Game 3.

Bet #2: Over (O/U) 215 Total Points (-110)

Though the Warriors were held to 100 points of offense on Wednesday night, they shot the ball well. Golden State was limited as a team for FGAs as a result of Boston’s defense. In Game 4, Golden State will have an answer to put up more points on the board than they did in Game 3. In turn, the Celtics will keep things interesting. Expect this Game 4 to be a high-scoring contest. Both teams have been scoring big throughout these playoffs, and that doesn't seem to be changing right now during the Finals.

NBA Player Props

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

Prop #1: Klay Thompson, Over 19.5 Points

Klay Thompson started the night shooting very well but cooled down towards the end. He went five for a whopping 13 attempts from downtown Wednesday night. He finished the night 7-of-17 from the field for 25 points. This comes after a terrible Game 2 performance where Klay went 4-of-19 from the field and only one-of-eight from beyond-the-arc. Tonight, Klay will shoot better tonight after an average Game 3 performance and bad Games 1 and 2.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown, Over 2.5 Threes

Jaylen Brown has been knocking his shots from downtown as of late. In the last two games, he’s recorded at least three threes. He’s gone 7-of-17 (41.1%) from downtown through Games 2 and 3 combined. In the second of two home games at the TD Garden, it’s likely that Brown knocks down at least three buckets from beyond-the-arc tonight in Game 4.

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