NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | April 25

Bryan Zarpentine pic
Bryan Zarpentine
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

Thursday figures to be a big day in the NBA playoffs. There are three games on the schedule, and in each one, the home team trails in the series 2-0. That means the level of desperation of each team should be taken into account when making wagers at online betting sites. Rest assured, the USA Legal Betting team has done just that when making our NBA picks for Thursday.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Orlando Magic Best Bet:

Magic - 2 | -108 at FanDuel

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Cavs in the first two games of the series. But those using Ohio sportsbooks back in Cleveland should be careful before betting on the Cavs to sweep this series. It’s not always easy going on the road in the playoffs, especially after all of the heavy minutes Cleveland’s starters logged during the first two games. That could easily catch up with the Cavaliers, at least for one game.

It’s also worth mentioning that Orlando went 19-6 against the spread as a home favorite this season. That was the best record as a home favorite by any NBA team. In other words, the Magic can be trusted to take care of business at home. Obviously, the injury status of Jalen Suggs is a concern. But Orlando has been a front-court-dominant team all season. At home, the Magic will get a boost and play to their strengths, allowing them to win and cover a meager spread.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Magic -2 | -108 at FanDuel

New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers Best Bet:

76ers -4.5 | -110 at BetMGM

One could easily argue that the Knicks were outplayed for long stretches of Game 2. They also benefited from a furious comeback in the late stages of that game, something they can’t count on happening again. New York is a somewhat limited team that relies on its effort and defense to get over the line. That may not work with the Knicks playing Game 3 on the road. Despite now having a seven-game winning streak, the Knicks are 1-3 against the spread in their last four games. That’s the sign of a team that is headed for a loss.

Meanwhile, the 76ers were a reliable 21-12 against the spread as a home favorite during the regular season. That should make anyone taking advantage of legal Pennsylvania sports betting confident in backing the home team. While Joel Embiid isn’t at full strength health-wise, his 34 points in Game 2 are a sign that the Knicks can't contain him. If the 76ers can get a little more from players other than Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, they should be able to get back in this series with a comfortable win in Game 3.

BetMGM Sportsbook
76ers -4.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Best Bet:

Nuggets -1 | -110 at BetRivers

One might think that the Lakers are trending in the right direction after a two-point loss in Game 2. Coming home for Game 3, they surely should be able to steal a win and make this series interesting. But given how the Lakers let their big lead in Game 2 disintegrated makes us lean in the opposite direction. The Lakers got nothing from players other than LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and D'Angelo Russell, and that’s a problem.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, are a lot more reliable, especially since BetRivers is only asking them to cover a single point. The Lakers clearly don't have a handle on Nikola Jokic while Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are both averaging over 20 points per game over the first two games of the series. Denver has too much depth and balance to be denied, so we’ll gladly back them as a slight road favorite in Los Angeles. 

Nuggets -1 | -110 at BetRivers

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