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Free NBA Betting Picks - Today's Best Bets, Expert Predictions, Odds (4/19/23)

Hey, RotoBallers! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, but I’m excited to talk NBA playoffs. In my short time writing NBA betting content here, I managed to finish the season with a 10-6 record. I’m also happy to say that moneyline parlays went 3-2 and a $100 bettor would’ve profited $490. The NBA playoffs are fully underway, and we’ve already seen teams like the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers take care of business by winning their first two games at home. Last night, the Boston Celtics won by double digits again to take a 2-0 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks. Darius Garland poured in 32 points and six three-pointers to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-90 win over the New York Knicks to even the series. The Phoenix Suns won in the late-night matchup to even their series 1-1 with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Tonight’s slate potentially features three former MVPs, with two of them looking to take a commanding series lead. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies with Ja Morant questionable. Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful but with the Bucks down 1-0 in the series, I would be surprised if he didn't at least give it a go to start. Nikola Jokic and the first-seeded Denver Nuggets look to build on their series lead after a dominant 29-point victory in Game 1.

In this article, I’ll be providing my favorite picks against the spread and game totals for the NBA playoff games that tip off at 7:30 PM EST on Wednesday, April 19.

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NBA Betting Picks

Los Angeles Lakers (-1) @ Memphis Grizzlies (226.5 total)

Series: Lakers lead series 1-0

There are two things that need to be talked about when rehashing Game 1 of this series:

Ja’s Injury

The first is the unfortunate injury to Grizzlies superstar point guard Ja Morant. With the Grizzlies down four with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Morant flew into the lane and landed hard on his hand. In incredible pain, Morant exited the game and his status for tonight is questionable.

Reaves & Hachimura Lead Lakers In Scoring, As Expected

The second talking point is the growing legend of Lakers guard Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura’s huge game.

Reaves started and scored 23 points on 8/13 shooting from the floor, 4/4 from the line, and 3/5 from three in his playoff debut. He really shined in the last three minutes when he went on a 9-2 run by himself to extend the Lakers' lead to 120-112. The undrafted six-foot-five guard scored 14 of his 23 in the fourth quarter in a performance that caught everyone’s attention.

Hachimura scored a team-high 29 points in 29 minutes on a ridiculously hot 11/14 shooting and 5/6 from three. The Lakers traded for Rui back in late January knowing he had big scoring abilities and reaped the benefits in Game 1.

It is a bit much to ask those two to score a combined 52 points in Game 2, but I guess it’s good to also have LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James and Davis both had double-doubles, but it was a quiet night scoring the basketball. I’d look for both to bounce back in Game 2.

Memphis Roundup

For Memphis, Jaren Jackson Jr. had a big 31-point night. Jackson had a huge game, but I see him regressing rather than sustaining that level of play. Desmond Bane scored 22 on poor shooting and Dillon Brooks scored 15. Ja Morant had 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, and six turnovers in 30 minutes before exiting.

Lakers Shooting

The Lakers hit 49/92 field goals (53%) and 16/37 three-pointers (43%). It was a hot night from deep and they won’t shoot 40 percent every game, but it felt somewhat sustainable. Even though Hachimura isn’t likely to go 5/6 from three in Game 2, the Lakers have other players that can find their shot.

Dennis Schroder and Troy Brown Jr. both shot 1/3 from three, while Malik Beasley went 0/2 from deep in only 10 minutes. All three are players that can jump in and hit shots in any game.

Add in that LeBron (21) and Anthony Davis (22) didn’t even have big games scoring and they still won by 16.

It was a dominant team performance as Los Angeles had the edge in rebounding (45-34), second-chance points (22-10), fast break points (26-17), and points off turnovers (22-15).


The Lakers went on a 23-9 run to end the game after Morant checked out with 5:48 left. Even if Ja plays, he won’t be close to 100 percent and the Grizzlies are still without Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke. This Lakers team was peaking toward the end of the regular season, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue tonight.

The pick: Los Angeles Lakers ML (-112 Fanduel)


Miami Heat (+6) @ Milwaukee Bucks (219.5 total)

 Series: Heat leads series 1-0

The Miami Heat got a huge gift in Game 1 when Giannis Antetokounmpo had to exit after only 10 minutes. Miami did look incredibly impressive in the opening stanza and led 33-24 after one. With under a minute left in the half, the Heat suffered a major blow when Tyler Herro broke his hand. It's been announced that Herro is obviously done for this series and likely the rest of the playoffs should the Heat make a run.


Without Herro, the Heat had others step up with Kevin Love (18), Caleb Martin (15), and Gabe Vincent (15) combining for 48 points on 10/15 shooting from deep. It was a good sign to see Bam Adebayo score 22 points after two quiet scoring games in the play-in. Playoff Jimmy also had 35 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds. It's the kind of absurd performance we've come to expect from Mr. Butler this time of year.

Milwaukee would try its best to win Game 1 without their fearless leader but it wasn't enough. Jrue Holiday had a playoff career-high 16 assists and Khris Middleton scored 33 points.

Over/Under Observations

The number of points scored in this game was pretty eye-opening. The closing over/under in Game 1 was 221.5. We see a 219 total for Game 2, and I don't blame oddsmakers for being skeptical that we see another 240+ point outburst.

Miami knocked down 15/25 three-pointers in Game 1 (60%). In the regular season, the Heat were a below-average team in three-pointers made per game with around 12 makes per game. They were also 27th in the NBA in three-point percentage. To say they had a hot night shooting would be an understatement.

In their two play-in games, they shot 11/34 (34%) and 10/30 (33%) from deep. The absence of Tyler Herro should only negatively impact Miami's shooting as he led the team with three three-pointers per game in the regular season. Scoring 130 points was uncharacteristic for a team that finished last in the NBA in points per game with 109.5.

Gabe Vincent shot 33.4 percent from three this season, Cody Martin came in at 35.6 percent, and Kevin Love finished at 29.7 percent.

Milwaukee shot 50 percent from the floor, which was higher than the 47.3 they shot in the regular season. The 11/45 (24%) from three was terrible and I'd expect them to make more than 11 in Game 2. Even with an increase in makes from outside, I still see this game going under.

One aspect I love is Giannis potentially playing. As we all know, the 2020-21 NBA Finals MVP is not a big threat from deep. Giannis playing and playing heavy minutes should only help the under as the Bucks substitute threes for twos with him on the floor. It wouldn't be surprising to see Milwaukee slow things down to help pace their superstar and his assortment of ailing injuries. I'm aware he is doubtful but as I said in the intro, I could see him starting the game and seeing how he feels.

The Bucks also had the fourth-best defensive rating in the NBA this season and it is expected they will tighten it up. When it came to opponent three-point percentage this season, the Bucks were the eighth-stingiest in the NBA. Even if Giannis doesn't play, the Bucks still have to find their offense and the Heat likely won't shoot the cover off the ball again.

The pick: Under 219.5 (-110 Fanduel)


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Minnesota Timberwolves (+8.5) @ Denver Nuggets (223.5 total)

Series: Nuggets lead series 1-0

The Nuggets made a statement in Game 1 with a 29-point win.

As someone who likes Minnesota's roster, I was pretty disappointed with their effort in Game 1. There are reasons I can point to (allow me to make some excuses please) on why they got their butts kicked. It could've been the adjustment in altitude, jump in skill level from the Thunder to the Nuggets, or shooting 37 percent from the floor.

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns both played poorly, combining to score 29 points on 30 shots. With Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid both out indefinitely, the Timberwolves can't afford Edwards and Towns to play badly because their depth is depleted. It is a shame because when they had McDaniels and Reid, this team looked like they had a high ceiling.

Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert each only scored eight apiece. When your top four players combine to score 45 points on 17/40 shooting, in most games you will indeed get beat in embarrassing fashion. What this does leave is a lot of room for improvement.

Denver hit 16/39 (41%) three-pointers in Game 1, which is more makes and a better percentage than they shot in the regular season. The Nuggets hitting 16 threes was a little surprising given the Timberwolves were the best three-point defense over the final 15 games of the regular season. It could've just been a nice night shooting for the Nuggets and I'll always happily bet against teams to regress back to their normal data.

One point of concern for the Wolves is Nikola Jokic only scored 13 points. Jokic, as we all know, is a super special player that can wake up today and decide he's getting 30+ points. I expect Jokic to be more aggressive in this game.

Going back and forth on what I see happening, I just don't see the Timberwolves playing that poorly again. Edwards and Towns are two players that can explode in any game and they should be better adjusted for Game 2. If Minnesota can defend the three-point line and shoot somewhat decently, they should be fine. I wouldn't advise taking them to win but 8.5 feels like a healthy amount of points to play with.

The pick: Minnesota Timberwolves +8.5 (-110 Fanduel)

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