NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | April 25

By: James Salmon
23/04/2024
NBA Tips, Predictions & News
NBA Tips & Best Bets
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

After a few three-game playoff days, just two games will take place in the NBA on Thursday, with the second games of the 8 vs 1 series in both the Eastern and Western Conference kicking off at 9am AEST. The first of those games will see the Celtics attempt to repeat their dominant performance from Game 1 against the Heat, while the second will see the Thunder host the Pelicans after a thrilling series opener a couple of days ago. These are our three best bets for the day’s action. 

Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics

Celtics -13.5 | $1.87 with BlueBet

It’s almost an expectation that the Heat will somehow transform from a mediocre team into an excellent one in the playoffs, but a large reason for that is Jimmy Butler’s ability to step up in the postseason, and courtesy of an MCL injury he sustained in their Play-In game against the 76ers, he probably won’t play again this season. The 13.5-point line set by NBA betting sites is a hefty one, but the reality is that the Celtics are just a hell of a lot better than the Heat, particularly with Butler absent. There is an argument to be made that every member of their starting five is better than every player the Heat have to choose from with the exception of Bam Adebayo, and if you add Tyler Herro to the mix there is no other player on Miami even close to the worst member of the Celtics’ elite starting five. That was plain to see in Game 1, with the home team absolutely tearing the Heat apart and ultimately winning 114-94 – a scoreline which really flattered the Heat. The Celtics were up 60-45 at half-time and extended that lead significantly to 91-59 by the end of the third quarter, and it was only courtesy of a 12-point turnaround in the last quarter, with starters on the bench and the game well and truly over, that the Heat were able to get the margin back to 20 points. The Celtics don’t have to dominate to nearly the same extent to surpass this line, and should be able to take a 2-0 series lead with another big victory. 

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Celtics -13.5 vs Heat @ $1.87
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Miami Heat @ Boston Celtis

Duncan Robinson 12+ points | $5.25 with PlayUp 

Duncan Robinson hasn’t had the ideal lead-in to the playoffs, with two stretches of four plus missed games over the past month and some very indifferent form in the middle of that. Since his return he hasn’t been given many minutes, playing just 12 in the Play-In against the Bulls and then 15 in Game 1 against the Celtics, and those two games yielded just 8 and then 5 points respectively. But the Heat desperately need to find a way to be more productive on offence, and he could well be the answer. They managed only 94 points in Game 1 including only 59 in the first three quarters, and struggled to find a way to get the ball in the basket. Robinson is one of the most lethal three-point shooters in the game when he is on, and has this year significantly developed the rest of his game too, proving an ability to drive close outs and finish at the rim a whole lot more than he ever has in the past. The result has been a season in which he has averaged 12.9 points per game in 28 minutes, significantly up from the 6.4 points in 16.5 minutes he averaged last year, and yet he is still at over $5 to score 12 or more points with some betting agencies for this game. There is clearly good reason for those odds given his recent lack of playing time, but he is the kind of player who has big scoring games followed by droughts. 12 points is only four three-pointers, a number which he can clock up very quickly, and at long odds this looks like a good way to add a little bit of value to the day’s NBA action.  

playup-review
Duncan Robinson 12+ points vs Heat @ $5.25
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New Orleans Pelicans @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Under 210.5 total match points | $1.92 with GetSetBet

It’s no secret that defence tightens up in the postseason, and that has been very evident across the first few days of the playoffs – and no more so than in the opening game between the Pelicans and the Thunder. A 34-point first quarter set the scene for a really low scoring game, the Thunder ultimately winning 94-92 in a game which yielded only 186 points – substantially below the line set by betting sites for this game. Of course, one game is just that and there are variables which can significantly alter a score in one game that may not occur in the next – three-point shooting being a prime example. Certainly in that series-opener neither team shot well from long range, the Pelicans shooting only 28.2% and the Thunder just a little better at 31.3%. But that alone doesn’t account for a near 25-point difference between the score in that game and the over/under points total for this one. Both of these teams have solid defences and the Pelicans in particular have been a reasonably low scoring in recent times, so with the added intensity that invariably comes in the postseason, this should be a series in which scoring triple figures is far from a guarantee in any game for both teams. This looks set to be yet another low scoring game, and the under looks like a good bet for it.  

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Pelicans @ Thunder under 210.5 total match points @ $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.