NBA playoffs, betting odds, picks: Why Mavericks, Hawks can cover the spread on Sunday

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OK, OK, I know I promised to stop using these introductions as a space to lament my bad beats, but what happened in Game 1 between the Nets and Bucks was just ridiculous. Behold:

  • Brook Lopez’s rebounding prop was 5.5. I picked the over. 
  • Lopez had five offensive rebounds. Four of them came in the first quarter.
  • Lopez was held without a defensive rebound only three times all season. In one of those games, he played only 10 minutes.
  • Brooklyn’s leader in offensive rebounds, DeAndre Jordan, didn’t play in this game. With James Harden out, Brooklyn’s offense didn’t shoot particularly well, creating more defensive rebounding opportunities. 

And yet, I lost that pick. The gambling gods are cruel and unforgiving. Keep that in mind when you’re making your picks for Sunday’s slate.

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Featured Game | Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks

As a general rule, I’m inclined to take the points in a playoff game in which the favorite might be missing its best player. If the 76ers had a healthy Joel Embiid, their home dominance would likely carry them through this game. But even if he plays, he’ll likely be at less than full strength, and that’s just not going to cut it against a very good Hawks team fresh off of a demolition of the Knicks. I’m taking the points here while they’re available. If Embiid is officially ruled out, this line might move closer to Atlanta. The pick: Hawks +2.5

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks

Featured Game | Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks

I have loudly advocated betting on the Clippers to win this series. I stand by that. But there have been seven Game 7’s in the past two postseasons. Six of them were decided by six or fewer points. That’s how Game 7s tend to go. They are slow, ugly and close. Do I think the Clippers win this game? Yes. But Dallas easily could, and if I’m getting 6.5 points as a buffer if they don’t? I’m not hesitating to take that cushion considering how close and low-scoring these games to be. If you wanted to take Under 210 for the same reasons, I wouldn’t be against that. The pick: Mavericks +6.5

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