The NBA Playoffs continue on Thursday where we have a three-game slate on the cards. Here, we bring you our best spread bets and player props for all three games, the first of which is scheduled for a 9am (AEST) tip-off. Good luck to everyone following!
Wells Fargo Center, 9am AEST
The Wizards put up a better fight than we expected in Game 1 where they pushed the 76ers all the way until the end, but came up short by seven points. The 76ers defence wasn’t at its stingy best as they allowed the Wizards to shoot a fantastic 56% from the field and 40% from three, while shooting 49% and 31% respectively, themselves.
The Wizards would be happy with the way they matched up with the 76ers in the first game of the series, but one area they can definitely improve on is playing defence without fouling, which is something that has plagued them all year. For the 76ers, they’ll be looking to get some better looks on offence in Game 2 as they can’t rely on Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid combining for over 60 points every night.
While we can certainly appreciate the elite shooting percentages the Wizards achieved in Game 1, the fact that they still didn’t win the game is a huge concern. The 76ers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and will be making plenty of adjustments ahead of Game 2, which spells danger for Scott Brooks’ Wizards.
Madison Square Garden, 9:30am AEST
Game 1 between these teams at the Garden was fantastic viewing and went right down to the wire, with both teams hitting a number of big shots down the stretch. Eventually it was the Hawks who had their noses in front at the end of regulation, stealing Game 1 on the road.
The Hawks had to rely heavily on a Trae Young scoring explosion in the fourth quarter to get over the line. He was joined by Bogdan Bogdanovic (18 points) as the only two Hawks players to score 15+ points, which usually isn’t the recipe for a win. In contrast, the Knicks had a great spread of scorers, but their main guy in Julius Randle had a horrendous night shooting the ball (6-23 FG) and that was the difference in the end.
The Hawks deserved the win in Game 1 and will be licking their lips at the prospect of taking Game 2 and heading back to Atlanta to close out the series. However, we expect the Knicks to bounce back in a big way, led by Julius Randle who has barely ever played two bad games in a row this season. Look for him and Derrick Rose to provide enough scoring punch to ensure the Knicks level up the series at 1-1.
Vivint Smart Home Arena, 12pm AEST
The biggest upset of the playoffs so far occurred in Game 1 between these teams when the Grizzlies upstaged the Jazz on the road by three points. The best three-point shooting team in the league this season in the Jazz couldn’t buy long distance make on the night, finishing up shooting a dismal 12-47 (25%) from deep, which made it just about impossible for them to win the game.
The Grizzlies would be ecstatic with their performance on Tuesday but will know they’ll need to be even better on Friday if they’re to go up 2-0 in the series. Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant combined for 57 points in Game 1 and will need to replicate or even better that to give their team a chance. On the other hand, the Jazz will be confident that law of averages will see them at least shoot a little better from three in Game 2. On top of that, they’ll likely welcome back Donovan Mitchell to the starting line-up, which is obviously a massive boost for the Jazz on both sides of the ball.
It was great to see the Grizzlies get a win on the board as huge underdogs in Game 1, but we give them absolutely no chance of making it 2/2 with a win on Friday. With Mitchell back in the rotation and in a must-win game, we have the Jazz getting the job done very comfortably.
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