NBA Best Bets (05/10/23): Heat vs. Knicks and Lakers vs. Warriors Expert Picks & Predictions
The Conference Semifinals are entering the home stretch with two pivotal Game 5s on Wednesday night. In the Eastern Conference, the Heat hold a commanding 3-1 lead, but the Knicks are currently -4 betting favorites at home. In the Western Conference, betting odds favor the Warriors defending home court and avoiding elimination against the Lakers.
This article provides betting predictions and recommends the best bets to make for Wednesday night’s action in the NBA playoffs.
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 5 Best Bets
The Heat have covered every spread in this series so far, while the over is 2-2. With similar odds for Game 5 – Knicks -4 and over/under at 209.5 – let’s examine the best bets to make.
Best Bet #1: Heat +4
The Miami Heat getting four points against this banged up, emotionally defeated Knicks team? Yes, please!
I don’t care that it’s a close-out game at Madison Square Garden. The Heat have looked like a far superior team in this series. The only game they lost (game 2) was without Jimmy Butler, and they only lost by 6 on the road in that game.
Julius Randle even admitted after Game 4 that the Heat just want it more.
"Maybe they want it more, I dunno. That's been who we are all year. We gotta find a way to step up & make those plays if we wanna keep this season alive.
"…Look within…How bad do you want it?"
— Julius Randle on the Heat getting more offensive rebounds & loose balls pic.twitter.com/ux7FkZq1Qj
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) May 9, 2023
Miami has already won a Game 5 elimination game on the road in this year’s playoffs when they ousted the Milwaukee Bucks, who were the favorites to win the title. I was tempted to take the +145 odds on the moneyline, but I’m playing it safe and taking the Heat +4.
Best Bet #2: Jalen Brunson o2.5 threes (+110)
Brunson has taken his game to another level with the Knicks this season and shot a career-high 41.6% from three during the regular season. He has struggled from beyond the arc in the playoffs, shooting just 28.3%, but he has had some big games, including 6-of-10 from three in Game 2.
Despite his poor percentage, Brunson is averaging right at two threes per game in the playoffs thanks to his high volume – 6.7 attempts per game. With some positive regression in his efficiency, he stands a good chance of going over that average.
I am putting some faith in Brunson to have a big game with the season on the line. He is the type of player that steps up in moments like this, and with +110 odds, I like the chances that he hits some clutch threes tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors Game 5 Best Bets
The Lakers are 3-1 against the spread in this series, while the over has hit twice (by a combined total of 2.5 points). The Warriors are -6.5 favorites with an over/under at 226.5 – very similar lines to Game 2, which the Warriors won 127-100.
Best Bet #1: Lakers +7
The Lakers clearly have a matchup advantage over the Warriors. They are 6-1 in their last seven games against the defending champs this season, including three wins at the Chase Center. Their size, depth and defensive intensity are proving to be too much for Steph Curry and Co.
Could I see the Warriors play with desperation and find a way to avoid elimination? Absolutely – I expect them to win the game, though I can’t play the -275 moneyline odds. What I don’t expect is a repeat of their 27-point drubbing in Game 2.
This game will come down to the wire and be decided in the last few possessions. If the Warriors cover, it will be with some late free throws that pushes the margin just over the line. But the more likely outcome is the Lakers covering the 7-point spread.
Best Bet #2: Under 226.5
It’s no secret that the Warriors have played significantly better at home this season than they have on the road. The biggest difference was not their offense but their defense – at home, they allowed 10.8 fewer points per game and held opponents to 33.1% from three compared to 39.7% on the road.
As noted above, the over hit in the first two games of this series at the Chase Center, but only by a combined 2.5 points. The under has hit in the last two games and was 23 points below the line in Game 4. The under is also 5-2 in the last seven meetings between these teams.
Expect the defensive intensity to be ratcheted up even higher with the Warriors on the brink of elimination. That will lead to a slow-paced, lower-scoring game and a total under 226.5.