NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | May 15

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

The NBA playoffs are starting to reach a fevered pitch. On Wednesday, the Cavaliers are facing elimination on the road against the Celtics. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Thunder and Mavericks are locked in a 2-2 tie ahead of a critical Game 5. The USA Legal Betting team wants to make sure you’re prepared for a pivotal night, which is why we have three expert picks for Wednesday’s games. Don’t forget that this is the ideal time to explore sportsbook promos to find bonuses and boosts that you can use if you want to follow our picks for Wednesday.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Cavaliers +15.5 | -110 at bet365

There figures to be a little bit of optimism among those using Ohio sportsbooks after the Cavs made a valiant effort in Game 4. Despite the seven-point loss, the Cavs are now 2-1 against the spread in this series as double-digit underdogs. The line for Game 5 is even bigger than it was for Game 1, most likely because of the injury to Donovan Mitchell. But with Cleveland facing elimination, Mitchell will do his best to play after the Cavaliers gave a great effort without him in Game 4. That makes us confident the Cavs can beat the spread.

While the Celtics are clearly the better team in this series, the Cavs have given them a run for their money ever since that Game 1 blowout. It’s also fair to worry about a little complacency now that they’re up 3-1. With 15.5 points to cover, any sign of Boston taking it easy could keep the Celtics from covering. We think the Celtics will finish off the season, but the Cavs won’t go down without a fight.

Bet365 Sportsbook Logo
Cavaliers +15.5 | -110 at bet365

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bet:

Thunder -3.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Even in a 2-2 series, we’re convinced Oklahoma City is the better team. Keep in mind the Thunder went 36-9 straight up at home during the regular season and now 3-1 during the playoffs. In such a critical game, we expect the Thunder to hold serve and win Game 5. Since BetMGM is only requiring Oklahoma City to cover 3.5 points, we’re not too worried about the Thunder failing to cover.

To be fair, the Mavericks still have the best player on the floor with Luka Doncic. But Oklahoma City has a better overall collection of talent. The Dallas supporting cast has been inconsistent throughout the series. Meanwhile, the Thunder has a great point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and has a superior frontcourt. That helps build our confidence in OKC.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Thunder -3.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bet:

Under 213 | -110 at BetRivers

These two teams have stayed under the point total three times in the first four games of this series. All three of those games were below 213 total points, so we’re not too concerned with the slight dip in the over/under for Game 5. Both teams have tried to clamp down defensively over the last two games, which is a trend we think will continue in Game 5.

In a game that could end up deciding the series, both teams will be laser-focused on the defensive end and could be a little more conservative offensively. Equally important, not even the winning team has surpassed 105 points in back-to-back games. At least one team has failed to reach that mark in three of the four games. In what should be a close game, we’ll lean toward the under in Game 5.

Under 213 | -110 at BetRivers

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