NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | May 2

By: James Salmon
01/05/2024
NBA Tips, Predictions & News
NBA Tips & Best Bets
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Just a handful of First Round series remain in the balance, and another may well be decided on Thursday morning, Australia time, when the Celtics host the Heat up 3-1 coming off back to back wins on the road. Later, perhaps the most enthralling series of this round continues when the Clippers host the Mavericks, that one delicately poised at two wins apiece after the Clips hung on in Dallas to tie the series on Monday. These are our three best bets for the day’s action. 

Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum under 27.5 points | $1.95 with BlueBet

Jayson Tatum is the best player on what is probably the best team in the NBA, but he is not exactly in the form of his life over the past few weeks. Not that it’s really mattered for the Celtics; with such a talented starting five they have got plenty of guys capable of putting the ball in the basket, but Tatum’s indifferent form does open up what looks like a pretty solid bet to start the day. His over/under with most NBA betting sites is at 27.5, just a touch over his season average, but for an extended period now he has consistently been going under that number. In fact, in his last ten games Tatum has gone over it on just one occasion, and in that game he scored right on 28 points. In this series so far he has scored 23, 28, 22 and 20 points for an average of 23.25 per game, and in the last couple in particular has not been particularly aggressive on offence, taking just 14 and 16 shots. Also in the favour of the under here is the fact that the Celtics look likely to secure a big win. They won their two games in Miami by 20 and 14 points after winning Game 1 by 20, too, so back on their floor they look likely to close out the series relatively comfortably. If that comes to fruition, there is a good chance that Tatum won’t be required for much of the last quarter, and with limited minutes combined with some pretty average form, it seems far more likely than not that he will go under his 27.5-point line in this game. 

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Jayson Tatum under 27.5 points vs Heat @ $1.95
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Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers

Russell Westbrook over 7.5 points | $1.74 with GetSetBet 

Russell Westbrook has been no stranger to criticism throughout the course of his illustrious career, and while it’s often been unjustified, it’s hard to find too much positive to say about his form in the past three games of this series. After starting it reasonably well with a 13-4-4 stat line on 5-8 shooting in the first game, the former MVP has scored just 13 points in the past three games while shooting an appalling 4-24 – a field goal percentage of a touch under 17%. Typically I would look to be riding the hot hand, or in this case the cold one, but it feels like betting agencies have over adjusted a little here. Westbrook’s line is just 7.5 with a lot of juice or 8.5 at better than even money, depending on the betting site, and that’s a number that he really should be surpassing more often than not, even if he is in poor form. Westbrook has averaged 11.1 points over the course of the season in 22.5 minutes coming predominantly off the bench, and he’s been playing right around that same number of minutes in this series. With Kawhi Leonard confirmed out once again in Game 5, Westbrook will again get his 20 or so minutes no matter how he’s playing, and as we’ve all come to learn over his 15 years in the league, he will shoot his shot in that time whether it’s falling or not. He has taken at least seven of them in each, and while he has been wildly efficient, all he needs is to hit two or three of them and snatch a couple of free throws – which he generally does – to pass this number. Westbrook’s form has been undeniably woeful of late, but this is a really low line for him, and one that he should be able to surpass. 

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Russell Westbrook over 7.5 points vs Mavericks @ $1.74
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Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers

Norm Powell over 10.5 points | $1.80 with PlayUp 

Rounding out our three best bets of the day’s NBA action is another one on a Clipper to surpass their over coming off the bench. The logic here is pretty simple; this line is too low. Powell had a really poor start to the series with just 5 and then 6 points on a combined 4-16 shooting in the first two games, but he has bounced back into form over the last couple of days. What’s more, his points average for the season sits at 13.9, and with Leonard out it stands to reason that he should be getting even more opportunity than usual at the moment. Granted it won’t always play out in that way, but on average you’d expect him to get a couple of extra shots, and with his points line already more than three below his season average he looks a good bet to hit the over. After those poor first two games of the series, Powell has bounced back with 21 points on 7-11 shooting in Game 3 and then 11 points on 4-8 shooting in Game 4 – ideally he will take more than eight shots in this game, but regardless his shot has been falling over the past couple of games – with 7 of his 12 three-point attempts dropping in – and Powell is typically very much a form player. His shot has clearly been feeling good the last couple of games, and with his line well below his season average there appears to be a much better than 50/50 chance that he scores at least 11 points in this game and hits his over. 

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Norm Powell over 10.5 points vs Mavericks @ $1.80
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James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.