The second round of the NBA playoffs continues this weekend — with each series going into the arena of the lower-seeded team now. Give this a read to get our three best NBA playoff bets of the weekend, all for free too!
Moneyline: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
We begin in the East where the number-one seed Heat have a 2-0 advantage over the Sixers. So far, Philly has been largely uncompetitive. It lost Game 1 by 14 points, then a 16-point defeat in Game 2. Despite that, the best NBA betting sites are in agreement: Friday’s Game 3 between Miami and Philadelphia is a moneyline toss-up:
Oddsmakers are seemingly banking that Joel Embiid suits up in Game 3 — that’s the only logical explanation for why the game is a pick ‘em. Embiid missed the first two series games, and consequently, the Heat took advantage by utterly dominating the paint. In Game 2, Miami earned 21 second-chance and outrebounded Philadelphia 44-34. The 76ers haven’t officially said Embiid would be back for Game 3, saying only it’ll be “wait and see” for the big man’s status.
Call us crazy, but that doesn’t sound all that optimistic to us. Perhaps Philly is “playing possum” by that lukewarm statement, but Embiid’s entire career has been defined by untimely injuries. This is nothing new, and as game-changing of talent, as Embiid is, he just can’t be counted out to last a full season and playoff run. Even if he does return, we’d expect a slight decline in production as he recovers from a facial fracture and concussion sustained in the first round.
We fully expect Miami to win on Friday and, honestly, maybe sweep on Sunday. Unlike Philly, they play as a collective — not individual parts. If it’s not Jimmy Butler beating you, then it’s Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, and if it's not him, then it’s the revitalized Victor Oladipo. We’d be surprised if the Sixers even keep the game close come Friday.
Moneyline: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
Another Friday Game 3, another ‘pick ‘em game. Phoenix leads the series 2-0, but a return home could be the change of scenery Dallas desperately needs to make this a series. We actually agree with that sentiment, hence why we’re betting the Mavericks to win on the moneyline.
Look, there’s no disputing it: Luka Doncic is the runaway best player on the court between both teams. The man is averaging 40 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in two games this series (though that also comes with six turnovers a game). The Suns, for all its defensive greatness, can’t stop him — but they can stop the supporting cast around Doncic.
Dallas needs anyone not named Doncic to make a play, and we mean anyone. But you see, that’s the thing. Typically speaking, nothing spurs production from “role” players more than being at home.
Drop off should be expected from the Suns too. Amazingly, this team shot 64.5 percent from the floor in Game 3, including 84.2 percent in the fourth quarter — that’s production levels that are almost guaranteed to regress big-time. All this leads us to bet on Dallas to win Game 3 on its home floor.
Against The Spread: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
|Milwaukee spread (-3)||-110||-110|
|Boston spread (+3)||-110||-110|
At last, we have a playoff game that the best online sportsbooks are NOT setting at pick ‘em. However, this spread remains uber close — the Bucks are meager three-point betting favorites over the Celtics. These two teams split the opening two games of the series back in Boston.
We’re dazzled by the way the Celtics are playing Giannis Antetokounmpo defensively. Yes, the Greek Freak is averaging 26 points a game, but no bucket has come easy. Boston is throwing an array of bodies his way, which is why Antetokounmpo is shooting a meager 38.5 percent from the field and committing 5.5 turnovers per game this series. Antetokounmpo isn’t the type of player that will be completely stopped, but this is as good of a “containment” as you can get.
Even a return home might not be enough to get Antetokounmpo going offensively. This number-one-rated C’s defense is that good. We thought its shutdown job against Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in round one couldn’t be topped, but here we are, they’ve somehow made Antetokounmpo struggle more than any other team in recent memory. With Khris Middleton injured (and out this whole series), there’s no real backup plan for the Bucks if its star player continues to struggle on the offensive end, which we believe is the likely scenario.
So as you can guess by now, we’re backing Boston in Game 3. If you’re feeling risky, its plus-money line is worth a look. But at the very least, they should be able to cover the spread on the road.
How To Bet On NBA Playoffs?
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