How to bet on the 3 playoff games on Tuesday (May 25)
The first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs continues with a trio of 2 games on Tuesday night.
Our team of basketball betting analysts describes their favorite picks off the slate, with three on the same side of the Mavericks-Clippers gap and one second-quarter angle for the Lakers-Suns.
NBA odds and picks
Celtics at Nets Total
Raheem Palmer: It was clear from the start of Game 1 that the Brooklyn Nets weren’t themselves.
Home teams shot just 76 of 278 (37.3%) from the back of the arc in Game 1, and like the Bucks, the Nets weren’t immune – they shot 8 of 23 (23.5%) deep. This Brooklyn team – with the best offense in NBA history, scoring 118.2 points per 100 possessions – amassed just 111.8 points per 100 possessions in Game 1 of the series.
The first half was particularly painful as the offense scored just 47 points out of 0.979 points per possession, including a 16-point first quarter in which the Nets shot 6 of 23 (26.1 %) with an offensive score of just 66.7.
How likely is this to happen again?
The Celtics have always been a great defense under Brad Stevens, but this season’s version can’t defend, ranking 22nd for opponent’s field goal percentage on the rim (65.3%), 22nd for opponent’s midrange percentage (43%) and opponent’s 20th 3-point percentage (37.6%) by Glass cleaning.
We should expect the Nets’ offense to wane, but it’s clear the Celtics have left some meat on their bones as well. Jayson Tatum was just 6 of 20 shooting for 22 points in Game 1, but he can do more against a Nets defense that is only 21st in the defensive standings and allows 113.7 points per 100 possessions.
This number is short and has been over-adjusted for game 1. I will take the most of 227.
Lakers to the Suns
Matt Moore: So in a game everyone played horribly in which they absolutely went for it, the Lakers only lost the second quarter of Game 1 by a point. It was with Anthony Davis 1 of 4 in the second, with LeBron James having just two shots and Talen Horton-Tucker putting in four. The Lakers went 0 for 4 on 3 in that quarter and missed 3 of 11 free throws.
The Suns have been a great team in the second quarter for much of the year, but in the regular season when James played, the Lakers had a +2.1 point differential which would have been the fourth-best ranking. general of the season among all teams.
The Lakers shift LeBron at the end of the first to play him with the bench unit to start the second quarter, putting James against most bench players for more than five minutes. The Suns countered by asking Devin Booker to start second, but he’s playing longer in the first, so he has to get to the bench sooner.
If we expect a better game from Anthony Davis – and Lord knows the bar is pretty low there – a stronger Lakers attacking performance, and more of a stain of disappointment for the Suns, that puts the Lakers in an advantageous position with spins as only a plus-money point favorite.
Mavericks at Clippers Spread
Brandon Anderson: The Clippers have lost four straight playoff games.
Let that sink in for a second.
Yes, the Clips didn’t just lose Game 1. The Clippers also lost their last three playoff games before that – those three against the Denver Nuggets back in the bubble when the entire season broke off with just one. shot when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George melted and couldn’t win a shot.
It was before, it is now. And a loss to a scorching Mavs team to start the playoffs doesn’t mean much, but that’s another story if the Clippers lose this one and go down 0-2 towards Dallas for a pair of games.
The pressure is on LA, and it’s time to see this team finally stand up. Steve Ballmer paid a bunch of dollars and draft picks for the chance, and it would be an absolute disaster to come out in the first round this season after what happened in the bubble.
Expect a new sense of urgency and focus from the Clippers with the dream suddenly threatened. And there is also a reason for basketball: Kawhi Leonard. And that’s him on both sides.
The Clippers had absolutely no response for Luka Doncic in Game 1, but Ty Lue hinted that he would end up siccating his former defensive player of the year KLAW on Luka, and that is sure to help matters. . It could tire Leonard too, but Dallas seems to be missing a key player on the other end with questionable Maxi Kleber with that Achilles bothering him again.
He missed a lot of time in the home stretch, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sit down, and Kleber was Kawhi’s main defender in Game 1. This means Leonard attacks more easily and has more energy to take. to Luka on D, and I think that’s what rocks this game.
I have to trust the Clippers to come out and get a win they absolutely need to get. I’ll play them at -7.
Austin Wang: A new coach. A new supporting cast. Still, a similar disappointing result when Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers opened the playoffs with a dud.
After closing as a 6-point losers, the Dallas Mavericks went about business at Staples Center in Game 1, taking the 113-103 victory. Luka Doncic was brilliant, signing a triple-double with 31 points, 10 points and 10 rebounds. And the Mavericks got big support and big hits from role players Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith.
Now down 0-1, the Clippers will desperately need a win to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole. This is where the zig-zag betting system known for the playoffs comes into play.
The rule of thumb is this: in a playoff series, bet on a team to cover the spread after losing in the same series. The idea behind this is that the losing team will be one game closer to elimination and come out the next game more motivated and play with more intensity. Also, maybe the recency bias will force bettors to favor the previous winner in their prize, as the oblivious public may want to ride the hot team.
Favorites of four or more points in the first round, games 2-5 on a loss went 86-57-2 (60.1%) ATS in the history of the Sports Data Query Language Database, dating from the 2002-03 season. This is active on the Clippers in Game 2.
It’s a great place to bounce the Clippers. They got there twice in the opening round last season against the Mavericks.
The Clippers are still the most complete team and rank better in many indicators than the Mavericks, both on offense and defense. The Clippers shot a league-best 41.38% behind the arc in the regular season, but converted just 11 of 40 (27%) on Saturday. My recommendation is to put the points with the Clippers at -7 (no more than the key number of seven) because I think they are rebounding hard on Tuesday.
Joe Dellera: The Clippers struggled to get into a rhythm in Game 1, especially from 3 points, and I think that should normalize in this game.
The Clippers got good looks and attempts from 3 points, taking 43% of their shots from deep in Game 1, but were only able to convert on 27.5% of those opportunities. On the flip side, while the Mavericks took 3s at a similar rate, doing 50% of them (in minutes of waste-free time and excluding projected uprisings). This is a glaring gap for both teams based on their regular season numbers. While both enjoy shooting the 3 ball, the Clippers had the best beyond-arc shooting percentage (41.8%) while the Mavericks were 17th (36.9%) by Glass cleaning.
The problem for the Clippers is that Luka started to shred them on the offensive side of the ball by consistently making the right pass, in the pick and roll. Maybe coach Ty Lue will make the adjustment ahead of tonight’s game and throw Kawhi Leonard at Luka despite it being the toughest defensive mission. It would really require Kawhi to fight for the screens and not change, as the last game Luka set Zubac on fire when the Clippers tried to turn him on rather than playing drop cover. Considering Ty Lue made an adjustment midway through Game 1 to avoid that mismatch, it’s not out of the question to see him make another change tonight.
At the time of this writing, the Clippers were receiving 48% of the spread bets but 75% of the money according to our public betting data. This makes them perfect for one of our Pro Systems – NBA Playoffs: More Money On Favorites. When there is more money on the favorites than on the postseason tickets, the favorites are 132-88-3 ATS (60%) and cover by a margin of 2.26 points. This, coupled with Lue’s ability to adapt – and the expectation that the Clippers produce a better shooting performance – makes me support the home team tonight.
Mavericks at Clippers Prop
Kenny Ducey: I’m normally not one for obscure props, but this one certainly caught my eye. The 3 point market can often be fun and profitable with the way the low lines are set, and this one is exceptionally low for me.
Finney-Smith has never attempted less than four 3s in a playoff game in the two series he’s been in, and he’s just finished a season in which he’s tried five on average, and hit close. 40%!
Plus, he had a 4v5 performance deep in Game 1 against the Clippers.
Now, I would like that if Finney-Smith was a 20 minute sighted bench player. The fact that he saw 37 minutes in the first game really makes me love it. He’ll be on the ground most of the game and should once again pick up at least four of five 3s.
With the way he’s turned all year, at least two should drop.