NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | May 8

By: James Salmon
NBA Tips, Predictions & News
NBA Tips & Best Bets
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

The Conference Semi-Finals are underway, and Wednesday will see the opening game of both the Cavaliers vs Celtics series, and the Mavericks vs Thunder series. Boston heads into their clash as a big favourite on their home floor after Cleveland needed seven games to close out the Magic, while the Western Conference matchup later in the day is a little closer, just 3.5 points separating the two teams according to NBA betting sites. These are our three best bets for the day’s action. 

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum under 27.5 points @  $1.88 | GetSetBet

Though the Celtics were pretty comprehensive in beating the Heat in their first round playoff series, Jayson Tatum played a much smaller role than many would have expected. And in fact, that same trend continues looking back into the regular season, too. He’s averaged 26.9 points per game this season, down quite a lot from last year, though that is largely a product of the deep and balanced nature of his team and indicative of an admirable willingness to take a step back for the good of the group. For an extended period now, however, that step has been even more significant than it has been throughout the rest of the season. Tatum has not scored more than 28 points in any of his last eleven games, and that is the only occasion during that time in which he has surpassed the points line set for him for this game by betting agencies. Often that has been due to poor shooting from the Celtics forward, though over the last couple of games he has been taking less shots, too, with a couple of his teammates stepping up in a big way. In his last game, Tatum took just nine shots for 16 points, while in the game prior he took 14 shots for 20 points. What’s more, with the line for this game set at 11.5 points, there is every chance that Boston develops a significant enough lead that they don’t need him to play many minutes in the final quarter, further limiting the chance that he scores 28 points. The Celtics are such a well balanced team that they don’t need Tatum scoring big every game, and that has been particularly evident of late. Coming up against a solid defensive team which they may put away early, the Tatum under looks like a great bet to kick off the day. 

getsetbet logo-betting-site
Jayson Tatum under 27.5 points vs Cavaliers @ $1.88

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Donovan Mitchell over 4.5 assists @ $1.74 | BlueBet 

As the Cavaliers’ series against the Magic went on, it became abundantly clear that they needed a whole lot from Donovan Mitchell to get over the line. After a couple of poor games in the middle of the series, he put the team on his back over the last couple of games, scoring 50 points in a losing effort in Game 6 before playing a starring role with 39 points to secure their Game 7 victory. He did that against a very good defensive team in the Magic, but he will come up against another in the Celtics, and one with a huge amount of experience at that. Particularly after those two performances, the Celts will no doubt be aware of both the importance of Mitchell scoring heavily for Cleveland, as well as the intent that he will most likely show to do that. Expect them to do everything that they can to limit his ability to do just that. The Celtics will much prefer Mitchell to be looking to facilitate than looking to score, which brings his relatively low assists line right into play. Granted there is a bit of juice on the over, but the 4.5 assists set by betting sites is pretty low to start with given that Mitchell averaged 6.1 over the course of the season. Him scoring as heavily as he did in those last couple of games of the Magic series will be very tough against this season Boston defence, and with the likes of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White swarming him, he will be forced to put the ball in his teammates hands plenty and should be able to rack up at least five dimes as a result. 

bluebet Betting Site
Donovan Mitchell over 4.5 assists @ Celtics @ $1.74

Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under 28.5 points @ $1.80 | PlayUp 

It brings me no great pleasure to root for the under for yet another member of the game’s elite, but such is the reality of the NBA playoffs. Gilgeous-Alexander was the most consistent scorer in the league in 2023-24, sneaking his way over 30 points with incredible regularity en route to a 30.1-point season average. His game is one which for the most part should translate pretty well to the playoffs, though the one area in which a drop off could have been predicted was his free throw numbers, with the refs tending to allow significantly more physical defence in the postseason. His line in this game is slightly down on his season average, but he passed it just one time in four games against the Pelicans, a series in which he averaged 27.25 points. Harking back further, he also failed to hit this mark in his last three regular games, though granted he did play limited minutes in each of them. Still, that he managed just 24 points in each of his last two games against the Pelicans – no mean feat but a fair way below his season average – are indicative of, firstly, the attention that they paid to him (something the Mavericks will also do), and secondly the invariable difficulty that comes with replicating regular season numbers in the playoffs. Gilgeous-Alexander rarely has a bad game and will probably not be falling significantly short of this number, but the signs from the Thunder’s opening round series is that his line should be closer to 25 or 26. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under 28.5 points @ $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.