NBA playoff action continues with two potential elimination games on Wednesday night. In the East, the Knicks look to stay alive versus the Heat, while the Warriors will try to do the same against the Lakers out West. My favorite plays for the night feature a player prop from the matchup in New York, and a fourth-quarter bet from Game 5 in San Francisco. Plays are listed in order of my confidence. But, make sure to also note the amount of units I’m wagering on each bet as another indicator.
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Heat At Knicks NBA Player Props
Miami returns to New York for Game 5 with a 3-1 stranglehold on the series. The Heat are a underdog in this one, with a point total set at .
Max Strus Over 11.5 Points (-115 DraftKings | 1u)
Here are Strus’ core points, rebounds, and assists props for the game against the Knicks:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: Over/Under /
Jimmy’s Time To Shine
Before jumping into why I believe Max Strus will continue to eat against the Knicks, let me write this: the night is ripe for a big Jimmy Butler game. I’m placing 1 unit on the Heat’s moneyline and .2 units on a same-game parlay with Butler to drop 30+ points.
The No. 1 Other
Throughout this postseason I’ve continued to harp on about “following the minutes.” As teams reduce their rotations to seven or eight guys, it’s crucial to understand which players have their coach’s trust when the stakes are high. Max Strus has fit the bill against New York, increasing his floor time each game throughout the series.
In Game 1, Strus saw just 23 minutes, scoring eight points on an 8% usage rate. Since then, he’s recorded 25, 30, and 37 minutes and upped that usage to 24%. He’s taken advantage of his opportunities as well, averaging 17 points with more than three 3s made on 37% shooting from long range. Outside of Miami’s primary options in Butler and Bam Adebayo, only Gabe Vincent has averaged more shot attempts than Strus over the last three.
There’s always going to be variance with a 3-point specialist like Strus. He’s shooting 72% of his shots from deep in four games against New York, but that’s entirely by design. Coach Erik Spoelstra has clearly given Strus the directive to fire at will within the flow of the offense. The Knicks are closing out well on Miami’s perimeter players, staying within 0-4 feet of anyone shooting from 3 at the highest rate of the remaining playoff teams. That still hasn’t stopped Strus from pulling 10 3s in each of the last two games.
Josh Lander is 64-43 and up 25+ units betting NBA player props over the last two months. Check out the NBA Coast 2 Coast podcast each and every weekday with co-host Nate Weitzer and give him a follow on Twitter, @jlboogy. Click on the odds below to bet now.Editor’s Note
Lakers At Warriors NBA Game Props
GSW/LAL Q4: Under 55.5 Points (-115 DraftKings | 1u)
After holding serve at home, the Lakers look to close out the Warriors up 3-1 over the reigning champs. LA are underdogs, with a point total set at .
These articles are usually reserved for NBA player props. However, it’s the playoffs and that means “win by any means necessary!” So, let’s dive into some sludgy fourth-quarter numbers from the series between the Lakers and Warriors.
Wednesday night’s affair between the Lakers and Dubs will mark each team’s 93rd game between the regular season and playoffs. The long grind of the journey to the NBA Finals seems to have finally taken its toll on these two seasoned rosters. The final quarter of Monday night’s Game 4 was the perfect example, as they combined for 44 total points on just 15 field goals made. Were it not for the LeBron-led parade to the free throw line, the former number would’ve been even lower.
Naturally, NBA games tend to slow down in the fourth quarter. Not only have players already spent a good portion of their energy through the first three quarters, things tighten up as the stakes are raised over the final minutes of the game. Both points become even more glaring during the playoffs.
For the Lakers and Warriors this series, these points hold doubly true. The average pace of the fourth quarter has been 90, which would be good for dead last over the regular season by a wide margin. As a result, the average fourth-quarter total has been 47 points. Those stats includes Game 3’s fourth quarter in which both teams played their reserves with fresh legs for its entirety. That quarter was played at a 102 pace en route to 70 combined points.
The average paces of the first three quarters in chronological order: 100, 106, and 101. Their average totals are 54, 60, and 52. Yet, DraftKings still has the third quarter total at 54.5, lower than the fourth. Barring a massive blowout that forces both coaches to empty their benches early, I’ve got the ceiling for the fourth quarter total closer to 50 points for Game 5.