NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | May 9

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

Thursday figures to be an interesting night in the NBA. There are two series scheduled to play Game 2 of the Conference Semifinals. In both series, Game 1 turned out to be a blowout, so it’ll be interesting to see if the teams that lost big can respond in Game 2. As usual, there are plenty of sportsbook promos to explore both involving the NBA and involving other sports. But if it’s NBA expert picks you want, the USA Legal Betting team has three picks for Thursday’s games.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Cavaliers +13.5 | -110 at bet365

There was surely a lot of disappointment after Game 1 among those using Ohio sportsbooks. The Cavaliers were 12.5-point underdogs on the road and ended up losing by 25 points. Cleveland was completely outclassed by a Boston team that appears to be head and shoulders better than everyone else in the Eastern Conference. But there is hope for the Cavs in Game 2. They’re too good to shoot 26% from three-point range again or get a mere 15 points from their bench. Those are areas that should allow the Cavs to be more competitive in Game 2 and keep this game closer, especially with a bigger spread.

Meanwhile, it’s only natural for the Celtics to have a little complacency after a Game 1 blowout. We saw the same thing happen in Game 2 of the First Round. If there is any sign of a letdown from Boston, Cleveland’s defensive prowess and depth could give them trouble. Ultimately, the Celtics probably aren’t quite 25 points better than the Celtics. Things should even out a little bit in Game 2, making 13.5 points a little too big.

Bet365 Sportsbook Logo
Cavaliers +13.5 | -110 at bet365

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Under 212.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Everybody taking advantage of Massachusetts sports betting will be favoring the Celtics, but they should consider taking the under as well. With 215 total points in Game 1, these two teams went over the total of 211.5 points. But with that number going up slightly for Thursday’s game, the value is with taking the under.

As mentioned, Cleveland’s defense is the key to the Cavs getting back in this series. The effort and intensity on that end of the floor have to improve. Combined with a little complacency from Boston should lead to a lower point total from the Celtics. As long as the Cavaliers continue to struggle just to get to 100 points, which has been the case throughout the playoffs, this game should stay below 212.5 total points.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Under 212.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bet:

Thunder -5 | -115 at BetRivers

Oklahoma City made a statement in Game 1 with a 22-point win. Surprisingly, BetRivers hasn't bumped up the spread much. That makes it easy to lean toward the Thunder to cover the spread against in Game 2. Keep in mind Oklahoma City had the third-best record against the spread during the regular season, including a 25-13 ATS record as a home favorite. They are now 4-1 ATS in the playoffs and flexed some serious muscle in Game 1.

The Mavs had some momentum heading into Game 1 but failed to capitalize against an OKC team that had over a week to get rusty. While Dallas responded with a strong Game 2 in the last round, that won’t be so easy against the Thunder. The Mavericks lost three of their four regular-season meetings with Oklahoma City. All three of those losses came by at least six points. That makes us confident the Thunder will once again win by a comfortable margin.

Thunder -5 | -115 at BetRivers

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