NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | April 17

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

The NBA postseason has arrived. It kicks off on Wednesday, Australia time, with the Western Conference play-in games, the first of which will see the Lakers take on the Pelicans in New Orleans for the seventh seed and the undesirable prize of a First Round matchup against the Nuggets, before the Warriors head to Sacramento to take on the Kings in a win-or-go-home scenario. Take a look at our three best bets for the day below. 

New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James over 9.5 assists | $2.15 with PlayUp 

Though there are plenty of naysayers in the league, LeBron James has long been one of the most clutch players in the league. He may not always take the hero shot that so many NBA fans long for in late-game situations, but he does always make the right play, and more importantly, he plays well throughout the course of the game more often than not when it matters. Given he is 39 years of age it’s easy to understand why his effort can tend to wax and wane throughout the course of a game – though he has still had a phenomenal season – but with a spot in the playoffs on the line expect him to take the ball out of the hands of Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell a lot more than he did in the regular season. The betting sites have certainly catered for this a little, with LeBron’s assists over at 9.5, but the odds for that are at well over $2.00 and with his playoff pedigree combined with his recent form, he should be able to cruise past that. LeBron has been hitting some of his best form of a great season in recent games, picking up at least nine assists in five of his last six games, and after a huge 17 in his last game he has averaged 11.25 dimes a night in his last four. He is still one of the best players in the league even at his advanced age, and with the Lakers playing their biggest game of the season he will likely have a much higher usage, and is a great chance to pick up double figure assists. 

LeBron James over 9.5 assists @ Pelicans @ $2.15

Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings

Warriors -2.5 | $1.90 with GetSetBet 

The Warriors enter this game as favourites with NBA betting sites despite the fact that they are the lower ranked and travelling team, but it’s easy to see why. They’ve got no shortage of postseason experience, of course, with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green having led them to four titles over the past decade, and while the latter two of those in particular are well past their prime, that experience will count for plenty with their season on the line. What’s more, they are easily the more in-form team in this clash. Coming into the game they have won ten of their last 12 games, many of them easily and many of them against other postseason teams. The Kings, meanwhile, have hit a bit of a wall as the regular season has neared an end. They have lost five of their last seven games, with the solitary wins in that time coming against the Trail Blazers and the Nets, and the Warriors in their current form will pose much more of a threat than those two teams. The Kings have started to accumulate a little bit of postseason experience over the past few years and will benefit from what will be a raucous home crowd, but the Warriors have travelled well this year, and with the penalty for a loss an early end to their season, their experienced and aging stars can give them another shot at one more go at the playoffs.

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Warriors -2.5 @ Kings @ $1.90

Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings

Chris Paul over 5.5 assists | $1.92 with BlueBet

There has been plenty made of the fact that the one thing missing from Chris Paul’s resume is a championship, and while he will be up against it to change that this year, he can at least achieve the slightly less significant feat of picking up six assists in the Warriors Play-In Game. Paul has played a casual 149 playoff games in his career, averaging 8.3 assists per game in that time, though obviously given how extensive a time period those games have been spread over, that number is not all that relevant for this individual game. What is relevant is how he has been playing lately. Paul has been playing pretty solid minutes in recent games, averaging a little over 29 per night in his past six outings, and in that time he has passed the assists over set for him for this game by betting agencies on all but one occasions. On a number of those occasions he’s done it significantly, too, with three games of eight assists or more, and overall in that time he is averaging seven per game. Clearly in playoffs things tend to tighten up and scoring becomes more difficult, but expect the Warriors to lean heavily on his experience and look to run plenty of basic pick and roll action with every possession so pivotal. Having averaged 6.8 assists over the course of the year, 7.0 in his last six games and being one of the more experienced player in postseason situations in the league, he looks like a much better than even money chance to pass this over. 

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Chris Paul over 5.5 assists @ Kings @ $1.92

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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.