NBA Playoffs Best Bets (May 10): Hobbled Brunson Carrying Knicks Offensively

Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks shoots a three point basket during the game against the Indiana Pacers during Round 2 Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2024 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New Yor

As the NBA Playoffs continue into the second round, the intensity escalates with the first set of Game 3s, marking a critical point in time for the teams involved. The New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves each hold a 2-0 series lead over the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets, respectively. These leads provide both the Knicks and Timberwolves with a substantial advantage as they head into Game 3.

Here are five NBA wagers you should consider Friday:

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers – 7 p.m. ET

As the series shifts to Indiana for Game 3, the Pacers find themselves in a critical position after falling 0-2 to the Knicks. The Knicks’ recent victory in Game 2, with a score of 130-121, was significantly boosted by Jalen Brunson’s heroic return in the second half, when he scored 24 points following a temporary exit due to a foot injury. Brunson’s performance continues to be a crucial factor for the Knicks, underscoring his importance as a clutch player for the team.

On the Pacers’ side, Tyrese Haliburton showed a strong rebound from a quieter Game 1, delivering an impressive 34 points, six rebounds, nine assists, and three steals in Game 2. Despite Haliburton’s outstanding performance, the Pacers were hampered by Pascal Siakam’s struggles, particularly his inefficiency from the field and inability to score from three-point range or the free-throw line.

As the series moves to Indiana, the Pacers face the urgent challenge of turning the tide in front of their home crowd. Winning Game 3 is crucial for the Pacers to avoid the daunting 0-3 deficit, a situation from which no NBA team has ever recovered from in a playoff series.

Jalen Brunson over 35.5 points: -120 (BetMGM)

Brunson’s recent scoring streak has been impressive, and his performance even after returning from an injury in Game 2 of the series against the Pacers demonstrates his crucial role in the Knicks’ offence. Scoring 29 points after missing significant playing time due to the injury suggests that, had he played the entire game, he might indeed have surpassed the 35.5-points mark, continuing his streak of high-scoring games.

Given his form and the stakes of Game 3, along with the urgency to put a strong lead in the series, it’s reasonable to expect Brunson, if healthy, to continue his aggressive scoring approach. His ability to drive to the basket, coupled with his proficiency in shooting from mid-range and beyond the arc, positions him well to exceed 35.5 points.

Jalen Brunson over 35.5 points


Pascal Siakam under 29.5 points + rebounds: -120 (bet365)

Siakam’s recent performance indicates a noticeable dip in his scoring and rebounding productivity, particularly highlighted by his struggles from the free-throw line, where he has only made 44% of his attempts since Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks. This slump significantly impacts his ability to accumulate higher point totals, especially in close game scenarios where free throws can be crucial.

Additionally, his overall contribution across points and rebounds seems to be affected, as evidenced by his inability to clear the combined line of 29.5 in recent playoff games. This trend is concerning for the Pacers, especially as they face critical upcoming games where his performance could be pivotal. Given these factors and the ongoing issues in his shooting form, it is reasonable to expect Siakam to continue to struggle in hitting the 29.5 combined total of points and rebounds in the next game.

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 9:30 p.m. ET

The Nuggets face a crossroads in their playoff run after dropping the first two games of the series to the Timberwolves, both on their home court. The Timberwolves’ commanding 106-80 victory in Game 2, led by Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns — who each scored 27 points — shows Minnesota’s capability to dominate even without key player Rudy Gobert.

Nikola Jokic’s performance, while statistically rounded with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists, wasn’t enough to counter the Wolves’ offensive onslaught. Additionally, Jamal Murray’s struggles, scoring only eight points, highlights a significant concern for the Nuggets’ backcourt production.

As the series shifts to Minnesota for Game 3, the Timberwolves have the momentum and home-court advantage, which could be pivotal. The Nuggets, now in a really tough position, must find a way to regroup and reclaim some control of the series. Winning Game 3 is crucial for Denver not only to avoid a potential sweep but also to regain the confidence and momentum needed to bring the series back to Denver for Game 5.

Jamal Murray under 20.5 points: -110 (BetMGM)

Murray’s struggles against the Timberwolves have been notably caused by the defensive efforts of Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jaden McDaniels, and Edwards. Here’s a breakdown of his shooting performance when matched up against these defenders:

  • Against McDaniels, Murray is 0-for-4 in two games, and he has committed three turnovers.
  • When guarded by Alexander-Walker, he has managed 3-of-7 shooting and turned the ball over once.
  • Against Edwards, Murray has made only one out of five shots.

These statistics underline the effectiveness of Minnesota’s defensive strategy in neutralizing Murray, who has not surpassed 20.5 points in any of the five matchups against the Timberwolves this season, including both regular-season and playoff games. Given these challenges and the consistency with which Minnesota’s defenders have contained him, it’s reasonable to expect Murray to continue struggling to score. Therefore, he is projected to score under 20.5 points in Game 3.

Karl-Anthony Towns over 1.5 threes: -160 (bet365)

Towns’ performance since his return from injury has indeed been impressive, especially from beyond the arc. His increasing minutes and integration into the full flow of the game have allowed him to showcase his shooting capabilities, particularly evident in his consistent three-point shooting.

In the current series against the Nuggets, Towns has successfully hit over 1.5 threes in both games, indicating his comfort and effectiveness in taking and making long-range shots. This trend is not only a testament to his individual skills but also to the Timberwolves’ offensive strategy, which seems to capitalize on his ability to stretch the floor. Considering his recent performance and the pattern of hitting more than 1.5 three-pointers in his last four games, it’s reasonable to project that Towns will continue this trend into Game 3.

Karl-Anthony Towns over 1.5 threes


Minnesota Timberwolves over 104.5 points: -114 (Betano)

The Timberwolves have consistently demonstrated their offensive prowess throughout this playoff season, as well as in their regular-season matchups against the Nuggets. Scoring over 104.5 points in every playoff game so far highlights their offensive consistency and ability to execute effectively. Additionally, their performance against the Nuggets in the regular season reinforces this trend, with scores of 107, 111, 112, and 110 points in those matchups. These statistics reflect a strong offensive setup that has effectively navigated the Nuggets’ defensive strategies.

Given this historical data and the Timberwolves’ continued strong offensive output, it’s reasonable to expect that they will surpass the 104.5-points threshold in Game 3.