Now that we're in the thick of the NBA playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Denver's Game 2 loss came down to shooting variance to some extent, but the Nuggets simply made a number of correctable mistakes to allow Miami's open 3's in the first place. "Let's talk about effort," Malone NBA Finals. We are talking about effort. That's a huge concern of mine." The Nuggets botched several switches that led to open 3's. They failed to close out far too often. As Malone said, this is the NBA Finals. Coaches rarely have to call out their players for effort during the NBA Finals. It's simply hard to imagine that the Nuggets come out as flat for Game 3 as they did for Game 2. The Pick: Nuggets -2.5after Game 2. "This is the
The Nuggets have allowed 108.8 points per 100 possessions at home this postseason... and 116.4 on the road. It was a similar story in the regular season, when the Nuggets allowed 110.3 points per 100 possession at home and 116.7 on the road. Miami's role players were plenty hot in Game 2, but it's worth noting that supporting players historically shoot far better at home than they do on the road. The Nuggets will have adjustments for the zone looks the Heat threw at them in Game 2, so expect this to be a game that features more scoring on both sides. The Pick: Over 214.5
Quite a bit has been made of the Heat turning Nikola Jokic into a scorer rather than a passer in Game 2, but it's worth noting that despite their loss, the Nuggets were actually better on offense in Game 2 (posting a 124.1 offensive rating, according to Cleaning the Glass) than it was in Game 1 (111.8). If Miami's plan is to make Jokic a scorer, it didn't exactly work, and if the Heat plan to continue using zone looks against Denver, a player with Jokic's enormous basketball IQ is eventually going to figure it out. Jokic has reached double-digit assists in 10 of Denver's 17 playoff games, and some of the ones in which he didn't were blowouts. If slowing the Nuggets down was as simple as making Jokic score, someone else would've done it by now. The Pick: Jokic Over 9.5 Assists
Vegas is somewhat light on Bam Adebayo's blocks total because he's defending Jokic, who's significantly bigger than he is. But Adebayo has at least one block in 12 of Miami's 20 playoff games, and his role in Miami's defense is far more complex than simply guarding a single, bulkier star. Adebayo is going to find a block somewhere in this game in either help or transition. He had two of them in Game 2, and one was even on Jokic. The Pick: Adebayo Over 0.5 Blocks
Jimmy Butler has reached 26 points in just two of Miami's last seven games, and one of those high-scoring nights came in Game 7 against the Celtics, when he attempted 28 shots. That's simply out of character for him early in a series, so his volume should hover closer to the 16.5 shots he's taken per game in the Finals. Butler has been dealing with an ankle injury since the second round and hasn't quite recaptured the form that helped him knock off the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Until he proves that he's 100%, the under is warranted. The Pick: Butler Under 25.5 Points