Tuesday's NBA Playoff Analysis & Bets
The Clippers and Nuggets meet for a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference while the Celtics and Heat open the Eastern Conference finals as NBA betting action picks up again Tuesday night. How are we playing these games with our free NBA playoff picks?
Celtics -1.5/210 vs. Heat, 6:40 pm ET, ESPN
NBA futures odds are listing Boston at -130 to win this series, with Miami getting +110.
The Celtics are back in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the last four seasons, although they lost the previous two series. The Heat, meanwhile, are back in the conference finals for the first time since 2014.
Boston opened this postseason with a four-game sweep of Philadelphia, then outlasted Toronto in seven games in a conference semifinals series, winning Game 7 last Friday 92-87.
Miami opened its postseason with a four-game sweep of Indiana, then bested top-seeded Milwaukee in five games in the other Eastern Conference semifinals series, winning Game 5 last Tuesday 103-94.
So the Celtics are playing on three days rest, the Heat on six days off.
So far, this playoff season, Boston is 8-3, both SU and ATS. Also, unders are 9-2 in Celtics games during these playoffs.
Miami is 8-1 both SU and ATS this playoff season, with unders going 6-3.
The Celtics finished 4.5 games ahead of the Heat in the final regular-season standings, 48-24 to 44-29, and took the regular-season series two games to one.
On the injury front, Boston is still playing without F Gordon Hayward.
NBA playoff betting odds opened the total on this game at 212; early betting action then dropped that figure to 210.
Free NBA Playoff Pick: The Celtics were the better team during the regular season and played 2-1 both SU and ATS against Miami. Also, Boston played more recently than the Heat, and that means something to us when handicapping games like this. It seems those teams play sharper than those with longer layoffs. That's why we like the Celtics, at the short spread, to take this Game 1.
Clippers -7/207 vs. Nuggets, 9 pm ET, ESPN
This series is tied at three games apiece, following Denver's 111-98 victory in Game 6 Sunday afternoon. The Nuggets actually trailed Los Angeles by 16 points at the half and by 19 early in the third quarter, then outscored the Clippers 62-30 from there, pulling away for the outright win as dogs of 8.5 points.
On the day, Denver shot 54 percent from the field, including 61 percent in the second half, while holding Los Angeles to just 41 percent shooting.
Also, Sunday's game played under a total of 214. So the unders are now 4-0-2 in this series, with the games averaging 209 total points against an average O/U of 220.
NBA playoff betting odds opened the total on this game at 209.5; early betting action then drove that number down to 207.
With Sunday's win, the Nuggets are now 7-6 SU, 9-4 ATS in these playoffs.
With Sunday's loss, the Clippers are now 7-5 both SU and ATS in these playoffs.
Also, LA is now 5-4 SU but 4-5 ATS against Denver this season.
On the injury front, Denver G Jamal Murray tweaked a hip Sunday, and while he'll probably play Tuesday night, one wonders if his game will be affected.
Free NBA Playoff Pick: We still believe the Clippers are the better team here. Also, we doubt the Nuggets will shoot the ball as well as they did in Game 6, while LA should shoot a little better than 41 percent. Plus, we put a lot of faith in Kawhi Leonard's ability to uplift his team at the right moments. We'll give the points with the Clippers for this Game 7.