The 2023-24 NBA regular season is over and we’re turning the page to the NBA Playoffs. Throughout the postseason, Jonathan Von Tobel will continue to provide you with his exceptional coverage of the greatest league in the world. Just click here for all of his content. However, all of my picks will be featured in this daily column, which will combine my NBA best bets and NBA player props. So, keep reading to find out how I’m playing the playoff games on Sunday, April 21st. Also, check out our NBA Playoffs Betting Hub for all of our series previews and additional postseason content.

We also put together an NBA Playoffs Betting Primer with in-depth analysis for everything you’ll see the next couple of weeks.

 

MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have on April 21

Top NBA Resources:

NBA Best Bets Today – April 21

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers – 3:30 pm ET

I have the Mavericks to win this series, so I think there’s a good chance they win Game 1 or Game 2. And we know that Kawhi Leonard will be out of action in this one, making it hard to envision a scenario in which Dallas loses. Of course, the Clippers have likely known for most of this week that they would be without their star player. That should have given Ty Lue, one of the best coaches in the league, plenty of time to come up with a plan he’s comfortable with. But I just don’t think that’s enough against this version of the Mavericks.

Leonard is capable of giving Los Angeles 25 whenever he’s out there, and missing a scorer like that against this defense will be tough to overcome. The Mavericks were the best defensive team in the league over the final 15 games of the regular season. And they have the ability to slow Paul George and James Harden down. Dallas’ rotation is littered with stoppers now, as Derrick Jones Jr., Dante Exum and Josh Green are all tough to get by.

The Clippers will also miss Leonard’s defense on Luka Doncic. He’s one of the only guys in the league with the combination of size and strength to make things difficult on the Slovenian. So, not only will Doncic hunt Ivica Zubac in pick-and-roll scenarios, but he’ll also get his share of good looks without calling for a screener. And if Los Angeles needs to roll help in his direction, Kyrie Irving will go crazy in this game.

Bet: Mavericks ML (-145 – 2 units)

Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks – 7:00 pm ET

I liked the Pacers as a value play to potentially win the series when they were north of +200, but I think things have gone too far in the other direction. Even with Giannis Antetokounmpo set to miss this game, and potentially Game 2, the Bucks are the better team. I know the Pacers got the better of the Bucks in the regular season, but these teams didn’t play one another with Pascal Siakam as part of the Indiana roster. Of course, Siakam is a tremendous player, but he did slow down the pace of the Pacers. And that was something Indiana used to get the better of a Milwaukee team that was really unorganized defensively.

If the Bucks are simply tied at 1-1 and have Antetokounmpo back for Game 3, I would love Milwaukee’s chances of advancing to the next round. And if I’m thinking it, the Bucks surely are. That said, don’t expect this team to roll over in any way. Milwaukee is also going to be fired up for an opportunity to prove it can without its star player, and the fact the team is playing at home helps. The Bucks have one of the best home-court advantages in the league, especially at this time of the year.

Milwaukee is also fully capable of winning on the back of Damian Lillard. He has had an up-and-down season with the Bucks, but he’ll still be the best player on the floor in this game. And with no Antetokounmpo to defer to, Lillard is going to come out firing here. The same can also be said for Khris Middleton, who slides back into a No. 2 role after a year as a No. 3.

I also just trust Doc Rivers to have his defense ready to get key stops after a week off. I know Rivers is a punchline around the league when it comes to his postseason coaching, but he did make this a more competent defense when he took over.

Bet: Bucks ML (-102 – 2 units)

NBA Player Props Today – April 21

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics – 1:00 pm ET

The Heat are going to come out with some interesting wrinkles in today’s game. There’s simply no chance the team doesn’t have a little extra something from Erik Spoelstra, who is arguably the best X’s-and-O’s coach in the NBA. But the reality is that Miami is going to need to run a lot of offense through Bam Adebayo here. With Jimmy Butler out, Adebayo is easily the best option the Heat have as an offensive hub. So, Adebayo should see plenty of elbow touches, allowing him to go to work and find his own midrange game. Or, the big man will survey the floor and try to spot out some of Miami’s shooters.

Adebayo also happened to average 22.7 points and 2.7 assists per game against the Celtics during the regular season. And while there might be a little drop in scoring from those three games, I think there will be a significant increase in dimes. So, let’s root for the big man to put up some big numbers in Game 1.

Bet: Adebayo Over 21.5 Points + Assists (-125 – 1.5 units)

New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder – 9:30 pm ET

In my Pelicans-Thunder series preview, I noted that Jonas Valanciunas is going to have some trouble getting to Chet Holmgren in this game. The New Orleans center is just a little too slow in the foot, and Oklahoma City is going to test him by running a ton of pick-and-pop plays for Holmgren. And while Holmgren shot only 23.5% in three meetings with the Pelicans this year, he did attempt 5.7 triples per game. That proves that Oklahoma City is going to look to get him his shots. With that in mind, I like the plus-money odds on Holmgren to hit two 3s. I know this is his first playoff game, but he’s a fearless player. Once he gets settled in, he should thrive in this environment.

Bet: Holmgren Over 1.5 Made 3s (+104)

2023-24 Record: 329-345-3 (-11.78 units)