NBA Playoffs Best Bets (May 1): Harden Firing At Will From Long Range

James Harden #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers is defended by Kyrie Irving #11, Josh Green #8 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of game three of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 26, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.

As the NBA playoffs heat up, Wednesday’s lineup features two crucial Game 5s. The Boston Celtics are on the brink of advancing, needing just one more win to move on from their current series. Meanwhile, the matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks is even at two games apiece, with both teams seeking a victory that would grant them a key lead in their tightly contested series.

Here are five NBA wagers you should consider Wednesday.

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics – 7:30 p.m. ET

The Celtics solidified their lead in the series against the Miami Heat with a convincing 102-88 victory in Game 4, pushing their advantage to 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Derrick White was the standout performer for the Celtics, delivering a spectacular game with 38 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. On the Heat’s side, Bam Adebayo led his team with 25 points and added 17 rebounds and five assists.

With the series heading back to Boston, the Celtics are in a strong position to close it out on their home court.

Bam Adebayo over 21.5 points: +100 (Caesars)

Adebayo has demonstrated exceptional scoring prowess against the Boston Celtics this season, consistently surpassing the 21.5 points mark in most of their matchups. Specifically, he scored 27, 22, 24, 21, and most recently 25 points in Game 4 of the playoffs. His increased offensive responsibilities, particularly in the absence of key players like Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier, have led to a noticeable uptick in his shot attempts.

Adebayo’s role as a primary offensive option becomes even more crucial as the Heat face an elimination scenario in the upcoming game back in Boston. Given his proven ability to deliver under pressure and his increased involvement in the Heat’s offence, Adebayo is indeed well-positioned to exceed the 21.5-points threshold in Wednesday night’s critical matchup. His performance will be key as Miami looks to extend the series and fend off elimination.

Bam Adebayo over 21.5 points

+100

Derrick White over 0.5 blocks: -194 (FanDuel)

White has shown a consistent ability to contribute defensively with his shot-blocking throughout the season against the Heat. Having played seven games against them, he has recorded 11 blocks, which averages out to approximately 1.5 blocks per game. His performance in the last game was particularly impressive, not only scoring 38 points but also recording three blocks. Given this consistent trend and his demonstrated defensive capabilities, it’s highly probable that White will record at least one block in the upcoming game.

Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers – 10 p.m. ET

In a thrilling contest, the Clippers managed to secure a 116-111 victory over the Mavericks in Game 4, levelling the series at two games each. Despite trailing by as much as 31 points, the Mavericks mounted a significant comeback in the second half, fuelled by Kyrie Irving’s 24 points and Luka Doncic’s 17 points. However, the Clippers were able to hold off the surge, thanks in part to James Harden’s critical 15-point performance in the fourth quarter.

Kyrie Irving led the Mavericks with an impressive 40 points, along with seven rebounds and five assists. Luka Doncic nearly achieved a 30-point triple-double, finishing the game with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. For the Clippers, James Harden and Paul George were crucial, each scoring 33 points. Harden also contributed six rebounds and seven assists, while George added six rebounds, eight assists, four steals, and a block. This win sets the stage for an important Game 5, as both teams look to take the lead in what has become a tightly contested series.

James Harden over 3.5 threes made: +130 (DraftKings)

Harden has been prolific from beyond the arc in the current series against the Dallas Mavericks, consistently surpassing the 3.5 three-pointers mark in all but one game. He made six, five, and four three-pointers in three of the four games. In the game he did not make it, he shot 2-for-10 from three. Throughout the series, Harden has maintained a high volume of three-point attempts, averaging 8.5 per game over the four games, totalling 34 attempts.

Given Harden’s high volume of attempts and his importance in the Clippers’ offensive setup, especially with the potential absence of Kawhi Leonard, Harden’s role in scoring and playmaking is expected to increase. This scenario, combined with his proven ability to score from deep, suggests that Harden is in a good spot to make over 3.5 three-pointers against the Mavericks.

James Harden over 3.5 threes made

+130

Luka Doncic over 18.5 rebounds + assists: -111 (FanDuel)

Doncic has shown a strong ability to contribute significantly in terms of assists and rebounds throughout this series against the Clippers. His performance has generally been consistent, surpassing a combined total of 18.5 assists and rebounds in three out of the four games, with the only exception occurring in Game 2. This minor setback was primarily due to not converting his rebounding opportunities effectively.

Analyzing his rebounding chances and potential assists throughout the series:

  • In Game 1, he had a total of 30 opportunities for assists and rebounds combined.
  • In Game 2, this increased to 35 opportunities of assists and rebounds.
  • In Game 3, he had 31 opportunities for assists and rebounds.
  • In Game 4, there were 27 opportunities for assists and rebounds.

This consistently high volume of opportunities suggests that Doncic is heavily involved in playmaking and rebounding efforts for his team. His comment in the press conference after Game 4, expressing a strong desire to contribute more and not let his team down, indicates his commitment and focus on having a significant impact in upcoming games.

Considering these factors and his track record in the series, it’s reasonable to expect that Doncic will continue to be a key player for the Mavericks and likely exceed the line of 18.5 combined assists and rebounds in the next game against the Clippers.

Kyrie Irving under 5.5 points in the 1st quarter: +100 (bet365)

Irving’s scoring pattern in this series against the Clippers indicates a trend of starting games with relatively low scoring in the first quarter. Analyzing his performances, in Games 2 and 4, he scored zero points in the first quarter. In Game 3, he scored two points and in Game 1, he scored four points.

This consistent trend of scoring below five points in the first quarter throughout the series suggests that Kyrie typically ramps up his offensive contributions later in the game, particularly in the second half. Given this pattern, it seems reasonable to expect that Kyrie will score under 5.5 points in the first quarter in the upcoming game against the Clippers given his historical first-quarter performance in this series.