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Free NBA Betting Picks- Today's Best Bets, Expert Predictions, Odds (5/8/23)

Stephen Curry - NBA DFS Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball

Monday night of the NBA playoff slate showcases two series in critical game fours. The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers both have the opportunity to take commanding 3-1 series leads. Being that only 13 teams in NBA history have come back down 3-1, the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors need to be sharp with hopes of evening their series.

I'm on a bit of a roll in my article picks (hopefully I didn't just jinx it). On Saturday, the Knicks and Heat flawlessly hit under 209.5 when they only combined for 191 points. Los Angeles found themselves down 30-23 after the first quarter in game three. Flipping the script, they used a 36-18 second quarter and outscored the Warriors 104-67 in quarters two through four, leading to a 127-97 blowout victory. The Lakers easily covered -2.5 which gave me a nice 2-0 night. I've now hit my last four picks and got myself over .500 with an 8-7 record.

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 Monday, May 8th.

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New York Knicks (+4.5) @ Miami Heat (206 total)

Series: Heat lead 2-1

Game three was bad for New York Knicks from the start. Looking discombobulated and out of sorts, Miami was able to take advantage and built a 29-21 lead after the first quarter. The Heat took a 58-44 lead into halftime but the 14 felt more like 30 and the Knicks could never make this a game.

Jimmy Butler returned after missing game two and made his presence felt early. Looking healthy after turning his ankle in game one, Butler played all 12 minutes in the first and scored 10 points. He would finish with 28 and pick up right where he left off in the 2023 playoffs.

Miami dominated in the paint in the first quarter, hitting 9/13 field goals inside the foul line and scoring 18 points. That was a big story of this game, the Heat were more physical than the Knicks and had a 50-36 points in the paint advantage.

Knicks:

I liked the under in game three because the Knicks were coming off a game that saw them hit 16/40 three-pointers. It was only the second time all playoffs they hit 10+ three-pointers in a game. On Saturday, they fell back down when they only hit 8/40 (20%) attempts from deep. This team has had a hard time hitting threes and is dead last in the playoffs in three-point percentage.

Something that is interesting is the open shots New York is getting. According to NBA.com, the Knicks attempted 19 threes with 4-6 feet of space (another way to say open threes) and shot 2/19 (10.5%) on those attempts. They also only hit 8/17 (47.1%) two-point field goals with the same 4-6 feet of open space. Both the 19 threes and 17 twos of open shots were the most among the four teams that played Saturday. If we want to stretch it back further, the Knicks went 6/20 (30%) from three with 6+ feet of open space, the worst of all four teams.

This shows me the Knicks just flat-out missed a ton of open looks. They haven't been a good shooting team all season but I think it'd be hard to be that bad again. If the Heat are going to give the Knicks those same open shots in a game New York desperately needs to win, I can see the result going differently.

Miami didn't shoot too well from three themselves, only hitting 7/32 (22%) attempts. Miami is shooting 39.2 percent from three while hitting over 14 threes in the 2023 playoffs. Though I don't think 39.2 percent accurately depicts this Heat team, the 13/39 (33%) from three they shot in game one of this series feels more their pace. Nonetheless, I would expect them to shoot a little better in game four.

Prediction:

Despite the low scoring in game three, these two teams combined to take 181 field goals, 72 three-pointers, and 53 free throws. I wasn't expecting them to shoot well and they didn't but now I'm looking for a turnaround. The Knicks put up 105 in game one and 111 in game two, they are better than their 86-point showing on Saturday.

New York has to shoot better on catch & shoot shots which typically are those open threes they are missing. They are only shooting 31.6 percent on catch & shoot shots in the playoffs compared to the 36.7 percent they shot in the regular season. They also need to get back to attacking the basket. In the playoffs, the Knicks are scoring 28.5 points per game on drives. In the regular season, they finished second in the NBA behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for drive points per game.

Miami has scored 100+ in all three games and I think they will stick to their same game plan. We've seen this team pop with games of 130, 122, 121, and 119 in their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. If they are on, they can put up points.

There is a ton of room for improvement for the Knicks in game four.

The Pick: Over 206 (-110 PointsBet)

 

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Golden State Warriors (+3.5) @ Los Angeles Lakers (227.5 total)

Series: Lakers lead 2-1

Game three of this series looked a lot like game two just with the outcomes reversed. The Warriors lead 30-23 after the first quarter in game three. Los Angeles would then outscore them 104-67 over the next three quarters. In game two, the Lakers held a 33-26 lead after one and the Warriors outscored them 101-67 in the final three quarters.

Back-to-back blowouts in the series that was the most anticipated of all the second-round matchups are not what most people expected.

Lakers:

This Lakers team really goes as Anthony Davis goes and Davis had a big game to take a 2-1 series lead. AD scored 25 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and also had four blocks and three steals. He was everywhere and finished as a +28 in his 33 minutes of action. Davis has literally alternated between having an awesome game and a bad game all playoffs, that will be something to watch for. He seemed to be playing through pain which is nothing new but also another thing to monitor.

Warriors:

Golden State had 19 turnovers in game three. The Lakers were able to capitalize and generate 27 points off of Warriors turnovers. Turning the ball over has been a problem for the Warriors all season as they led the league in turnovers per game and are second in turnovers per game in the playoffs. Steve Kerrs' team had eight turnovers in game one and 15 in game two, so the 19 likely shouldn't happen again in this game. Los Angeles is averaging around 17 points per game off turnovers, again, showing the 27 is unlikely to repeat.

The Warriors ebb and flow on their shooting. Typically, if they shoot badly, they lose. In the first quarter of game three, they hit 5/8 from deep to have the seven-point advantage. The second quarter saw them go 3/10 from three but they also shot 3/8 from very close to the basket. This gave the Lakers a chance to pounce and a 36-18 second quarter gave them a 59-48 halftime lead. The third quarter wasn't any better for the Dubs where they hit just 2/8 from three. With the game pretty much decided going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors capped off their night by going 2/11 from deep in the final quarter.

Overall, they shot 13/44 (29%) from three in game three. It was bad but I do think this team has more fight in them. Stephen Curry has had a relatively quiet series scoring the basketball. If history shows us anything (Does game 7 against the Kings ring a bell), Steph can't be held down for too long before going off. The Lakers are a tough defensive matchup for him but I'm not going to doubt him in a pretty much must-win game.

Golden State continues to lead all teams in assists per game and just has to find a way to knock down shots. They are last among playoff teams in drive points per game and field goals attempted on drives. This also offers a chance for progression and it will be interesting to see if the Warriors try to match the Lakers' physicality in game four.

Prediction:

I'm not going to count the Warriors out yet until they give me a reason to. This team is still shooting 45.5 percent from 20-24 feet which is first among all playoff teams. They had a poor shooting game three but history would show these guys have found ways to bounce back.

I expect a close game, a Steph sighting, and a Warriors cover.

The Pick: Warriors +3.5 (-112 FanDuel)

 

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