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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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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