NBA Playoffs Best Bets (May 3): Doncic To Power Mavericks In Closeout Game

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket while defended by James Harden #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half of game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 28, 2024 in Dallas, Texas

Friday’s NBA playoffs feature a thrilling set of Game 6 matchups, each with high stakes for the participating teams. The Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers are fighting for survival, each needing a win to extend their seasons and force a decisive Game 7. On the other side, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks are in positions to close out their respective series with victories, aiming to advance to the next round.

Here are five NBA wagers you should consider Friday:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic – 7:00 p.m. ET

In a nail-biting finish, the Cavaliers narrowly secured a 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game 5, with standout performances from their backcourt duo. Donovan Mitchell led the charge with 28 points and six rebounds, while Darius Garland contributed 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists. On the opposing side, Paolo Banchero had an exceptional game for the Magic, putting up 39 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, underscoring his crucial role for his team.

As the series progresses to the next crucial game, the stakes are high. The Magic, facing elimination, will be determined to secure a victory on their home court to extend the series and force a Game 7 back in Cleveland. The Cavaliers will aim to leverage their recent win to close out the series and advance to the next round.

Magic moneyline: -170 (DraftKings)

The playoff series between the Cavaliers and the Magic has indeed demonstrated a strong pattern of home-court advantage, with each team winning their respective games on their home floor. The Cavaliers established an early lead by winning Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, but the Magic responded by evening the series with victories in Games 3 and 4 in Orlando. The trend continued with the Cavaliers taking Game 5 back in Cleveland.

Given this pattern, Game 6 in Orlando holds significant potential for the Magic to continue the home-winning streak. With the pressure of elimination looming, the Magic will likely harness the home crowd’s energy and their determination to extend the series to a decisive Game 7. This scenario, coupled with the historical pattern of home teams winning in this series, indeed suggests that Orlando has a favourable chance to claim victory in tonight’s matchup.

Paolo Banchero over 5.5 points in the 1st quarter: -115 (bet365)

Banchero has consistently demonstrated strong first-quarter performances throughout this playoff series, exceeding 5.5 points in the first quarter in four out of the five games. His scoring outputs of eight, six, 10, and eight points in these quarters illustrate his capability and role as an immediate offensive threat for the Magic. The one game where he scored only two points appears to be an outlier given his usual high level of play early in games.

Considering Banchero’s significant playing time in the first quarter, typically between eight and 10 minutes, and the critical nature of this must-win home game, it’s highly probable that he will be aggressively looking to score right from the tip-off. Given these factors, along with his track record this series, it’s reasonable to expect Banchero to score over 5.5 points in the first quarter of Friday’s game as he attempts to set a strong pace and lead his team to extend the series.

Paolo Banchero over 5.5 points in 1st quarter


Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks – 9:30 p.m. ET

The Mavericks delivered a dominant performance to secure a 123-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5, taking a crucial lead in the series. Luka Doncic was the standout player, putting up an impressive stat line of 35 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists, effectively spearheading the Mavericks’ effort. For the Clippers, Ivica Zubac and Paul George both led their scoring with a modest 15 points each, indicative of the team’s overall struggles on the night.

The Clippers faced significant challenges in their shooting efficiency, which they will need to bounce back from as they head into a critical Game 6. With the series now shifting back to Dallas, the Mavericks will aim to leverage their home-court advantage to close out the series and advance. The Clippers will be fighting to extend their season by forcing a Game 7 back in Los Angeles.

Kyrie Irving under 5.5 points in the 1st quarter: -115 (bet365)

Irving’s scoring pattern in this series against the Los Angeles Clippers has indeed shown a tendency for lower output in the first quarters. His first-quarter scores of zero, zero, two, four, and four points in Games 2, 4, 3, 1, and 5, respectively, illustrate a pattern of starting games with subdued scoring before ramping up his contributions as the game progresses.

Given this consistent trend of scoring fewer than 5.5 points in the first quarter, anticipate that Irving will continue this pattern in the upcoming game.

James Harden over 2.5 turnovers: -160 (BetMGM)

Harden’s role as a primary ball-handler and playmaker inherently involves high usage, which historically has led to him accruing a significant number of turnovers, particularly in high-stakes situations such as elimination games. His performance dating back to his days with the Houston Rockets underscores this tendency, with Harden recording over 2.5 turnovers in 17 out of his last 19 elimination games.

Considering his current role with the Clippers, especially in a series where they face elimination, it’s quite plausible that this pattern will continue. The pressure of elimination games often leads to intensified defence from opponents, which can increase the likelihood of turnovers. Additionally, Harden’s aggressive style of play and his responsibilities in orchestrating the offence further contribute to this trend.

Given these factors, along with his recent performances in this series against the Mavericks, it’s reasonable to anticipate that Harden might exceed the 2.5 turnovers mark once again in the upcoming game.

James Harden over 2.5 turnovers


Luka Doncic over 33.5 points: -105 (DraftKings)

Doncic’s previous encounters with the Clippers in the playoffs have indeed been dramatic and high-scoring, although they ultimately ended in disappointment for him and the Mavericks. Notably, his 46-point performance in Game 7 of the 2021 playoffs demonstrated his ability to deliver big in crucial games, even though it wasn’t enough to secure a series win.

Currently, with the Mavericks leading the series 3-2 and having the chance to close it out at home, the stakes are particularly high. This scenario provides an ideal setting for Doncic to assert himself once again. Given the significance of the game, Doncic’s role as the primary offensive force for the Mavericks, and his history of performing well under playoff pressure, expect a high-scoring performance from him in an effort to finally beat the Clippers in a playoff series.